■ Eighties legend Limahl found fame as the frontman with Kajagoogoo, notching up hits like Too Shy, before enjoying solo success with single The NeverEnding Story. Now, aged 61, he’s making a comeback with single Still In Love.
What was the first property you bought?
A three-bedroom flat in Primrose Hill — it was in 1984 when I was 24. Too Shy was released in January 1983, it was number one almost all over the world and number five in America, so some of the royalties had come in. I’d been renting all over London before that.
What attracted you to it?
I became a vegetarian when I was 19 and one of the only vegetarian restaurants was Manna in Primrose Hill. I went there all the time. I left the restaurant one night and looked in an estate agent’s window, saw the flat, and went to view it the next day. It was the top two floors of a newly converted, large Victorian house. I liked the idea of being at the top of the building. I lived there for 30 years. Primrose Hill is gorgeous.
Did you look at any other properties?
No. In a way it was an impulse buy but it turned out to be a good one.
Did you make changes to the place?
It had just been converted and I was the first person to live there so it didn’t need any work. I turned one of the bedrooms into a recording studio. The lady in the flat underneath spent a lot of time in Paris so she’d tell me when she was back and I’d work using headphones when she was in. I got an interior decorator to suggest things. I didn’t know anything about décor as I was 24 and came from a council estate in Wigan and there weren’t any makeover shows back then! He had a French accent and sounded like he knew what he was talking about, so I went along with it. There was fabric on one wall, a marble shelf, a marble coffee table and a big blue sofa along two walls.
Have you ever done a big renovation?
I live in a three-bed Victorian house in Hertfordshire. I moved to be closer to my family and because I’d lived in flats all my life and I wanted a garden. I did a big refurbishment on the house. It took eight months. At one point there was no electric, gas, water or windows. We had to put in new windows, knocked walls down, moved the toilet, a ceiling had to be replaced. On New Year’s Eve, I was out in the rain helping to fix one of the drains. It was a lot of work but very exciting. The main problem we had was with a tiler. He needed to finish the bathroom before we could go ahead with other building work but he kept cancelling so we had to find someone else.
How would you describe your taste in interiors?
I replaced one of the banisters, which looked like it was installed in the 1970s, with a big glass bannister. It’s a bold statement but it contrasts nicely with the 100 year-old fireplaces. I like contemporary design but I also like antiques and old glassware.
What items have you taken with you?
I’ve got lots of family photographs on display. In my old flat there was an entrance corridor and when I first moved in, I put all my gold and silver discs on the walls. After a while, I thought it made the place look like an office so I moved them to the studio. In my current home, the only thing I have on display is a vinyl copy of NeverEnding Story on the mantelpiece. It has massive nostalgia value.
What would be your dream home?
I’d like several — one by the seaside, one in the Alps, one in the country, one in town. But I’m sure everyone would love that!
PRIMROSE HILL FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS…
Primrose Hill is more than just a leafy North West London sanctuary for ageing Britpop stars. True, this London Borough of Camden enclave has long attracted the rich and famous, especially being an infamous haunt for models, rock stars and actors in the 1990s, many of whom you may see in one of the many well-preserved, authentic pubs.
It remains a beautiful place to be in London, even if the astronomical property prices are a little out of reach. Primrose Hill itself is a Grade II-listed park, which first opened to the public in 1842, and is one of the best viewpoints for seeing almost the entire capital.
Primrose Hill properties, many of which are painted funky colours, are on most people’s dream list, ranging from stylish apartments and Victorian townhouses to ginormous detached homes for when that fifth studio album goes platinum.
The average price for a property in Primrose Hill is £1,551,316 over the last year (rightmove.co uk).
■ Still In Love is out now, limahl.com