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Man slammed after ‘lovely’ Art Deco home in seaside town is torn down for ‘ugly Lego’ £2m newbuild – as before and after pictures show dramatic transformation


A homeowner has been slammed after a ‘lovely’ Art Deco villa was transformed into a an ‘ugly Lego house’.

The £2million seaside home in Hove, East Sussex underwent a huge renovation with builders ripping out original features and tearing up flower beds.

It was gutted and converted into a modern newbuild home, with a drive was laid and a garage was built.

The four-bedroom property was slammed when before and after pictures were shared to an urban planning account on X, formerly known as Twitter, with critics calling it ‘utterly hideous’ and ‘criminal’.

While residents living close to the house, which was built in 1936, said they were ‘shocked and upset’ after the work was completed and accused the developer of ‘cultural vandalism’.

One told MailOnline: ‘It has been changed into a thoroughly uninspiring noughties building. It lacks character and is just a bit ugly really.’

The home in Hove, East Sussex was built in an Art Deco style before its modern refurb

The home in Hove, East Sussex was built in an Art Deco style before its modern refurb

The dramatic transformation saw the Art Deco facade ripped out for a modern newbuild design with large windows, a new driveway and garage

The dramatic transformation saw the Art Deco facade ripped out for a modern newbuild design with large windows, a new driveway and garage

The art deco villa in Hove, East Sussex before its dramatic transformation
The four-bedroom home in Hove, East Sussex after its newbuild refurb

Dramatic before (left) and after (right) pictures show the transformation from 1930s traditional home to imposing  newbuild 

The work took more than a year to complete and the property now boasts a playroom, an airy loft conversion, a portrait window, large skylights and a giant chandelier. 

After the renovation the imposing house went on the market and was snapped up for £2.1m in 2021 by Luke Davis, 45, a leisure and restaurant developer.

Mr Davis owns Rockwater in Hove – a restaurant and bar complex on the seafront – as well Rockwater in Branksome, Dorset.

The entrepreneur businessman is also planning to open a similar development in upmarket Sandbanks.

Mr Davis is no stranger to building rows as he previously fell foul of planners over his failure to install disabled access at his restaurant in Hove,

Now his property has been branded an ‘ugly Lego home’ and accused of encouraging ‘cultural vandalism’ in Hove.

One resident slammed his new home and said the area was being ruined by similar developments.

He said: ‘It used to have a pleasant mature gardens but now it’s all driveway and garage. If you really want a characterless, off-the-peg house then build a new one elsewhere – don’t tear up another home.

‘All the character of Hove is being torn out and destroyed by people with more money than taste.

‘All the houses of character around here are being converted into the upmarket Lego homes. It’s a bit disappointing. It’s cultural vandalism really.’

One neighbour, who declined to be named, said: ‘The original house must have dated from the 1930s and was quite genteel. It was a nice house, not very exciting but quite pleasant to look at.

‘But everyone moving to this area seems to want a new-build, all mod-cons home.

‘There’s not much left of the original character of the property – it’s pretty much all gone. All the little architectural touches that pointed to its age have been ripped out.

‘It has been changed into a thoroughly uninspiring noughties building. It lacks character and is just a bit ugly really.’

Critics on X, formerly Twitter, slammed the transformation as 'hideous' and a 'depressing'

Critics on X, formerly Twitter, slammed the transformation as ‘hideous’ and a ‘depressing’

Refurb work on the home (pictured) took more than a year to complete and the property  boasts an airy loft conversion, a portrait window, large skylights and a giant chandelier

Refurb work on the home (pictured) took more than a year to complete and the property  boasts an airy loft conversion, a portrait window, large skylights and a giant chandelier

The property was initially bought by Andrew Pollard who asked architects to design the house.

Several neighbours objected to the plans but the scheme was revised and blueprints passed in 2018.

One neighbour complained: ‘The house doesn’t look much like the plans that were passed. There is now a huge portrait window on the top floor in which they have hung a giant, ostentatious chandelier – that wasn’t what we were expecting.

‘I think there’s a lack of backbone among planners, especially when it comes to certain areas of Hove.

‘My wife and I were shocked and pretty upset. The plans looked pretty dismal and lacking in imagination but the reality is so much worse.

‘It seems like anything goes here as far as planning is concerned to be honest – lots of projects you wouldn’t expect to get approval are green lighted with a minimum of fuss.’

The renovation of the house caused anger on X with users describing the conversion as a ‘crime.’

Robert Schopen tweeted: ‘They’ve removed every original, distinctive feature and replaced it with soulless Lego design. 

‘So few good Deco houses left they’ve massively devalued it.’

Another tweeted: ‘Interwar housing has been ruined, it has never had the attention given to it like Victorian housing has. They have amazing windows, fireplaces etc yet very few have been left intact.’

Another said: ‘Do these people not have eyes? Why do they want this?’

Yet another said: ‘I see this a lot. Spending all that money just to take away its architectural charm. And all you’re left with is generic, grey, bland s**t.’

Owner Luke Davis has been approached by MailOnline for comment. 



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