■ The Radio 2 DJ stayed in a tiny bedroom in his sister’s Belsize Park flat before he went on to buy with his brother
DJ GARY DAVIES, 60, was a 1980s legend with his hit daytime Radio One show and regular appearances presenting Top Of The Pops. He currently presents Sounds Of The ’80s on Radio 2.
What was your first property?
It was a flat in Belsize Park in London in 1983, when I was 25. I’d started at Radio One on a three-month contract at the end of 1982, and I moved from Manchester to live in my sister’s spare room in her flat in Hampstead. The room was the size of a cupboard. Then Radio One extended my contract and I bought a flat with my brother.
What attracted you to the flat?
Belsize Park had a lot of nice period houses and I liked the flat — I bought it from the singer in the pop group Marshall Hain. It was a two-bedroom garden flat in a huge, white, stucco-fronted period house. I turned the living room into the main bedroom as it opened into the garden, then generally did the place up and turned it into a cool bachelor pad. There was a health club opposite where I played squash. One day I went in and it was full of people wearing maroon — it had been bought by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who was a cult leader. They bought the health club as their London headquarters.
How was living with your brother?
It turned out really well. It was much better than living with my sister. He was a law student at the time and was finishing his MA. My sister was always on at me about keeping my room tidy — it was so small you had to walk in sideways. My brother was more relaxed.
How 1980s was it?
I built my own bed. I made a pedestal in the middle of the room and sunk a mattress into it. It had a white shag pile carpet and I ran the carpet up the sides of the plinth so it went around the sides of the bed. It was proper ’80s.
Where did you go next?
I bought a house with my brother, again in Belsize Park. This one was a renovation project. It had been turned into five bedsits and we turned it back into one house. It was a huge job but we got it done in six months because we used builders from Manchester who moved in and renovated it around the clock. We had to gut the place. When I sold it the market wasn’t that strong. I didn’t get as much as I might have done, but I definitely got more than I paid for it.
Do you have a lot of pop memorabilia?
I used to. I got a lot of gold discs from bands I’d break on the radio. I put them up all over the walls and in the bathroom. I don’t have them anymore. I’ve given them all away to charity. I love the past and I had an amazing time, but I like to look forwards instead of being surrounded by reminders.
Is your home smart?
I love technology. I do the lights, TV, sound and my blinds from my iPad. It plays up all the time and there’s a manual operation for everything — but I still need a remote to do the blinds.
Do you have many sentimental items?
I’ve got photos of friends and family and have a few albums of photos and press clippings from the ’80s. And I still have my Radio One jacket. It’s all in a box in a cupboard.
What would be your dream home?
A villa on a cliff in Ibiza. I go there six times over the summer. I do a few house gigs out there and I go to see friends.
■ Sounds Of The 80s is on Radio 2 on Friday nights, playing between 10pm and midnight, 88 to 91FM, bbc.co.uk/radio2
All about… Belsize Park
EVEN before Gary Davies moved in, Belsize Park was renowned as being one of London’s swankier residential neighbourhoods — within easy reach of the fashionable areas of Primrose Hill and Hampstead Village. Other famous residents of Belsize Park have included Tom Hiddleston, Noel Gallagher and news-reading supremo Zeinab Badawi. The majority of sales in Belsize Park in the last year were flats, selling for an average price of £878,420. Terraced properties sold for an average of £2,288,785, with semi-detached properties fetching £4,559,833. Overall sold prices in Belsize Park over the last year were four per cent down on the previous year, but seven per cent up on the 2015 level of £1,190,595. rightmove.co.uk