Floating London lighthouse for sale for £600k after transformation into celebrity photoshoot studio and private home

·2-min read
Bond star Olga Kurylenko is among the famous names to be  photographed on board the vessel (ES Composite)
Bond star Olga Kurylenko is among the famous names to be photographed on board the vessel (ES Composite)

A 40-metre-long former lighthouse vessel and celebrity photo studio up for sale in Royal Victoria Dock for £595,000 through Riverhomes.

Quantum of Solace star Olga Kurylenko is among the famous names to be photographed on board the vessel owned by photographer Michele Turriani.

Built in 1938, the extraordinary vessel was used as a floating lighthouse until 2004 when Turriani bought the decommissioned Trinity House light ship and bit-by-bit renovated it into a six-bedroom home where he lived and worked for over eleven years.

The master bedroom opens onto the deck and has a 45ft light-tower soaring up above it. Despite the industrial aesthetic of many of the rooms Turriani has felt at home living on the vessel: “It’s a cosy, very atmospheric place full of charm,” he says.

Larger than the average London home, Light Vessel 93 was listed for £700,000 in September last year but the asking price has since been reduced by £105,000.

Photographer Michele Turriani painstakingly renovated the vessel’s interiors to retain elements of the ship’s history while creating a comfortable home and studio space (Riverhomes)
Photographer Michele Turriani painstakingly renovated the vessel’s interiors to retain elements of the ship’s history while creating a comfortable home and studio space (Riverhomes)

The vintage interiors of the vessel are used as backdrops for shoots varying from the raw riveted steel of the former machine room to the wooden-clad warmth of the mess room.

The Arctic Monkeys, Mumford and Sons, Billie Piper and Jessie J have all stepped on board ‘Light Vessel 93’ and the ship has been used for two Vogue cover shoots.

Before switching to showbusiness, the ship, once described as a “beast” by Turriani, used to brave the elements as a navigational aid in the North Sea and has a chunky 22-millimetre steel hull putting it in the same class as an ice-breaker, or a type-42 destroyer.

Prospective buyers who are yet to find their sea legs will be reassured that whatever the weather “500 tonnes doesn’t really move” according to Turriani. He added: “the vessel has been a large part of my life, she has a huge presence and has a lot of character but now its time to move on to new challenges.”

Olga Kurylenko was snapped against the backdrop of the engine room walls to promote her new movie with Tom Cruise while the red of the exterior decks were favoured for a Vogue India cover shoot (Riverhomes)
Olga Kurylenko was snapped against the backdrop of the engine room walls to promote her new movie with Tom Cruise while the red of the exterior decks were favoured for a Vogue India cover shoot (Riverhomes)

Many houseboats and floating homes are sold to cash buyers as securing a mortgage on a boat is far more difficult than on a house or flat, although specialist boat finance companies can assist.

The lure of a water-borne life can be strong when comparing the price of a house boat with the average London flat but the lack of lenders and complicated mooring fees can be a bridge too far for some buyers.

Annual mooring fees for a ship of this size are around £12,500 per year or £800,000 for a 50-year lease, easily rivalling the price of the boat itself.

Nicholas Austin from Riverhomes who are marketing the vessel says Light Vessel 93 is an “icon in the landscape of Royal Victoria Dock and will appeal to a specific buyer.”

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