Before-and-after photos show how a man turned a crumbling ‘dungeon’ into a stunning $590,000 apartment

The kitchen/living room after renovation. 17 Paragon

Jamie Barrow is known in the United Kingdom for his snowboarding abilities. In 2016, he broke his own previously set record to become Britain’s fastest snowboarder for a second time. He holds a Guinness World Record for the fastest speed on a snowboard towed by a vehicle.

But now he’s being recognised for his renovation skills, too. During the summer months, Barrow spends his spare time renovating homes. In July 2016, he became interested in a property in Bath, United Kingdom, a city known for its historic architecture made of unique Bath stone.

The two-floor apartment clearly needed a ton of work, but Barrow was up for the job. In 2019, he finally started the renovation process, and the finished property went up for sale just two weeks ago for £475,000, or about $US590,000.

Take a look at the before-and-after photos of Barrow’s Bath apartment.

Jamie Barrow found a basement and sub-basement apartment for sale in Bath, England, in 2016.

Barrow’s apartment, pictured middle with orange scaffolding. 17 Paragon

The Georgian-style building was originally designed by Thomas Warr Attwood, a British architect, in 1768. Though Barrow’s apartment is two floors, the building was originally just one home.

“These buildings used to be big townhouses, and the whole building would be a private residence. Since then, these have all been turned into apartments,” Barrow told Insider.

He discovered the apartment while renovating another home in Bath.

The crumbling property was in such terrible condition that it was dangerous.

The kitchen before renovation. Jamie Barrow

“Basically it was just left to rot away because they didn’t do anything with it,” Barrow said. “No one would spend the money needed to bring it up.”

He added that it was in such bad condition that it was deemed a fire risk.

But he wanted to return the home to its “former glory,” including keeping details like original fireplaces, seen below.

The kitchen/living room after renovation. 17 Paragon

“I approached the people who owned the building and asked if they’d be interested in selling it to me so I could restore it,” he said.

He said that after much persuading, the owners agreed to let him purchase and renovate the property.

But it wasn’t easy: The building is listed as Grade 1, which in the United Kingdom means that it has historical significance that must be preserved.

Downstairs before renovation. Jamie Barrow

“It restricts you on what you can do to a property. Grade 1 is basically the highest you can get. They’re saying that everything, outside and inside, has historical significance, and really limits what you can do. You can’t build walls, you can’t take walls out, even if something is falling down, you have to repair it rather than replace it,” he said.

“This is why people try to stay away from Grade 1-listed buildings, because of the amount of work you have to go into,” he said.

Downstairs after renovation. Jamie Barrow

But Barrow and his friend, who is an architect, were able to work together to put together a plan that they believed would be accepted by the listed building offices.

Barrow described the downstairs before renovation as a “dungeon.”

The staircase before renovation. Jamie Barrow

“It wasn’t actually a dungeon, but it was a very scary place to come down to. When you came down before, the doors were falling off, there was no light, it was like something out of a scary film like ‘Saw,'” he said.

“People would never imagine what you could turn this property into,” he said.

The staircase after renovation. 17 Paragon

“I was able to prove them wrong,” he said.

Barrow used case studies and looked at the renovation of similar buildings nearby to figure out how to renovate the home properly.

A window before renovation. Jamie Barrow

“Every single detail, to even cross sections of the door, what the wood is made of and the shape of each little panel on the door” had to be accounted for, according to Barrow.

“Little did I know how much work and time would go into it,” he said.

The kitchen after renovation. 17 Paragon

Though the actual renovation process only took about five months, Barrow said that a lot of time was spent negotiating and discussing details with the other leaseholders in the building.

Barrow was finally able to start renovating in July 2019. Since the apartment was originally a basement, he had to put in electric, water, and gas.

The downstairs before renovation. Jamie Barrow

“Our assumption is that it had never been lived in since it was a terraced house back in the day, when they didn’t have any of those services,” he said.

“These areas were probably where the servants quarters were,” Barrow said.

Downstairs bathroom after renovation. 17 Paragon

“We assumed that these areas are where the kitchen and wash areas were, and where they stored coal and food,” Barrow said.

Barrow sourced unique Bath stone to replace the floors in the apartment.

Cutting Bath stone. Jamie Barrow

“At some point in its past they ripped up the Bath stone floor and put in a floor that did not go with the rest of the property,” he said. “On the upper level there was original Bath stone flooring, so we assumed that at some point, on the lower level, there was Bath stone floor.”

But getting new stone wasn’t as simple as going out to buy it.

“They don’t do that, so in order for us to get Bath stone we went to the mine itself, where they believe the original Bath stone was probably taken from for this building,” he said.

The finished Bath stone floor, pictured in the bedroom, is one of the things Barrow is “most proud of.”

The bedroom after renovation. 17 Paragon

After finding the stone, Barrow took it to a local stonemason who made it into the flooring.

Also in the main bedroom, they found plastered-up fireplaces.

The bedroom before renovation. Jamie Barrow

Barrow decided to open them up during the renovation.

“We assumed that this is where they cooked everything for the big household,” Barrow said.

A bedroom after renovation. Jamie Barrow

Now the fireplaces are filled with furniture.

Before the renovation, the backyard was overgrown.

The backyard before renovation. Jamie Barrow

“It was so overgrown that you could barely walk through,” Barrow said.

The home, complete with spacious backyard, was finally finished in January 2020.

The backyard after renovation. 17 Paragon

It went on the market two weeks ago.

The apartment is for sale for about £475,000, or about $US590,000.

The living room after renovation. 17 Paragon

Barrow said he’s already had a few interested parties and believes the home will sell soon.

Take a look at the listing here.