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Multi-million pound home becomes talk of the town
3:02am Tuesday 29th January 2008 in News
More at home in Beverly Hills than Bishop Auckland, a multi-million pound mansion is fast becoming one of the region's newest landmarks. Marjorie McIntyre reports
DOMINATING a site on the edge of a town, Tindale Towers - the four-storey home of Mike and Jules Keen - has become a talking point.
The art deco-style mansion standing cheek by jowl with an industrial estate in Bishop Auckland, but also with an elevated view of Weardale, is the fulfilment of a dream by the couple who own and run a nearby flourishing furniture company, Keen Replicas.
The construction of the capacious home is also down to the foresight of Wear Valley District Council, which stuck its neck out above the planning parapet and gave permission for the luxury property.
"We have no doubt we would never have got permission to build it anywhere else,'' said Mr Keen.
For some time, the couple lived in a modest bungalow which stood on the site of their new palatial pad, but after buying a plot of neighbouring land, the Keens began building their dream home.
With the help of John Lavender, director of PlanArch Design, in Bishop Auckland, and Arran Construction boss David Lee, and their teams of skilled workers, it has taken two years to build.
There's not a passer by who does not wonder what lies behind the dominating facade. Although a private couple, the Keens allowed The Northern Echo to take a tour.
After entering through massive electric gates, you are greeted with the unexpected sight of mature palm trees gracing a terraced garden.
The keynotes of the dream home are marble floors, circular wall-scapes and oceans of space.
Leading from the oval hall is a modern kitchen and dining area. On the same floor is a drawing room, and quiet sun lounge where one touch of a switch sees the curtains roll back to reveal one of several balconies and a view of the gardens.
Also on this floor is a cloakroom, laundry room and an entrance into the six-car garage.
From the hall, a circular staircase with a domed glass roof light takes you up to the two storeys of bedroom accommodation and down to the basement.
There is also a lift from the hall up to the fourth floor of the house where the Keens have a luxurious bedroom and bathroom suite.
As with everything in Tindale Towers, the suite has modern fittings - from a 92in projector screen to a bathroom where you can achieve a sun tan while you shower.
Down a floor are four more suites of bedrooms and bathrooms, all with the same luxurious fittings and complete with water beds.
In the basement of Tindale Towers there is a games room, bar, dance floor and television lounge.
To complete the leisure theme there is an indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, with dressing rooms and a steam room.
With everything you could want on hand, Mrs Keen said: "We used to enjoy going away, but now we have this beautiful home, it is like being on holiday all the time.''
And as far as its name is concerned Mr Keen explained: "The bungalow was called Tindale Lodge, our business was first based at Tindale Mill, so it was a natural progression to call this Tindale Towers."
The project is also to become the focus of a book by local freelance journalist Chris Foote-Wood, who has followed the progress of the Towers from its inception to completion.
The book, called Tindale Towers - New Art Deco Mansion, will be launched at the house today.