This DIY obsessed pensioner spent 30 years transforming his ninth floor, two bedroom flat, into the famous French Palace of Versailles. The actual Palace of Versailles was built on the outskirts of Paris for Louis XV and opened in 1682.
Even though he has spent hundreds of hours working his magic on wardrobes, chairs and off cuts of wood rescued from skips to recreate his Southampton home, it hasn’t cost him a lot of money. He shares the palace/flat with his wife Annette.
Adrian Reeman, 67, said that he has never visited the real Versailles Palace and it’s just easier for him to stay at home now. It’s been a labout of love transforming his apartment into a mini palace.
He has created a marble effect toilet, altered the walls, ceilings, cupboards and fire places in every room.
“I love to keep improving it. I’m very happy with what I’ve done, but I still feel like there’s a bit to do,” explained Reeman.
“Other people are amazed when they come in and are quite often taken aback. They say it looks fantastic.
“But to me it’s just become normal.
“I’ve got my own palace – just on a much smaller scale.
“I’m currently working to make the toilet look like it’s made of marble. It’s only a small lavatory, and you can barely turn around in it, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make it look grand.”
Even though it is a modest flat, Reeman has allowed it to dream big.
Adrian began his project when he and his wife moved first in 1986 and even though he didn’t have any training or never visited the original Palace, that didn’t hold him back.
Reeman and his wife are renting the flat and if they were to return it they would have to undo his 30 year project – which he says is impossible.
He said: “I really didn’t mean to start creating anything like this.
“Around here not a lot of people bother with their homes, and I never used to either.
“I just thought it would keep me busy if I started to make it look nicer, and the project grew from there.
“I’m not really a sociable person, so it was nice for me to keep working on the flat.
“I’m really quite proud of what I’ve managed.
“I’ve never been to the real Versailles. My wife and I don’t travel too much, and it’s much easier to stay at home.”
Every inch of space has been invested with a regal spirit.
“It just seemed a challenge to decorate the flat in that style. And I thought it would make the place look a bit more grand,” he said.
The only problem is that a clause in Adrian’s tenancy agreement means that if he ever wanted to leave he would be required to return the flat to its original state; something he reckons would be an impossibility.
“If you return the flat you have to give it back in its original condition.
“There’s no chance I’ll ever be able to put it back.
“But who would want that? It had a horrible copper pebble wallpaper
“We were offered the chance to buy the flat but it didn’t seem worth the money and the extra expenses we would have to pay.
“We are tied down, but I’d like to stay here as long as possible. I really like it, and I see no reason to move.”