Guy who built epic "Star Trek Apartment" may lose it in divorce

Oh, this makes me so sad. Tony Alleyne, the trekkie, club DJ, and "house-modder" who redesigned his British flat to be a faithful replica of the Starship Enterprise? Looks like he may lose it in divorce proceedings. His ex owns the flat, and wants to sell it as "a conventional dwelling," according to tabloid reports.

I did a story about him for NPR way back in 2006 (MP3 Link). I remember him as one of the most cheerfully obsessed Star Trek fans I've ever met (and buddy, I've met a lot of Star Trek fans in my time).

British tabloid The Sun broke the bummer news a couple of days ago, and quoted Alleyne: "To say I'm gutted is an understatement. It is my life's work. I admit there were tears."

Alleyne estimates that redoing the project in a new apartment would cost more than USD $150K.

More from MSNBC, which also covered the tale of Alleyne's epic Trek home when it first made the internet rounds five years ago:

When msnbc TV reported on the apartment back in 2006, Alleyne was about to file for bankruptcy over the money spent on renovations, and said he had hoped to start a business transforming homes for other "Star Trek" fans. Msnbc TV did another segment on Alleyne in 2007 when he was apparently also hoping to sell the tricked-out home, which includes a mock transporter.

"Most people thought I was barmy," Alleyne said at the time. "I mean, you could go spend the time down the pub or in a nightclub or whatever ... I decided to live in a spaceship." He says on his website, which bills him as a "24th century interior designer," that he became hooked on science fiction at age 11.


  1. Things seem dire now, but by the end of the episode, I’m sure the resourceful hero will triumph and save his apartment of the clutches of near-certain destruction.

  2. It’s a wonder this guy could find a woman to marry him in the first place. If I happen to accidentally switch the  cable TV channel to an old “Star Trek” rerun, my wife gives me an earful. I say transport the whole apartment to a non-combative planet in the middle of another universe

    1. That’s kind of a shame, jer. My fiancée wouldn’t want to live in Alleyne’s apartment—neither would I—but she loves watching all the geek stuff that I do, and we’ve had “Star Trek” marathons in our time. Even so, I very much doubt she’d blast my eardrums if I happened to switch to a TV show she doesn’t like, accidentally or otherwise.

      Geeky? Sure. But we’re happy we found each other. I hope Tony Alleyne gets as lucky.

    2. In my case, it’s the other way around. I find Star Trek hokey, but my long term girlfriend loves it. I also know a lot of women who love Star Trek as well, so it’s not just a guy thing.

    3. That’s weird.  I’m the one who gets the earful at my house about turning on StarTrek.  But that only happens if it’s not the beginning of the episode. 

      And if I were a rich bastardess, I’d totally buy that flat and transport the contents to our US base.  I seriously wouldn’t care what my mate thinks of it.  If we were that pound foolish, he’d have his own wing to play in.

    4. Man, I don’t even want to begin picking apart all of your lame, sexist, ridiculous stereotypes.

      But let’s start with the fact that I have a vagina AND I love Star Trek AND I own some Star Trek memorabilia!  And I display it proudly!

      But, sure, sure, all women are anti-geek harpies.

    5. Honestly, I think I know more female trekkies than male trekkies. I mean, Star Trek is pretty tame as far as nerddom goes and TNG especially has a lot of content that’s really about relationships, family, communication, etc.

      1. Dude, both my parents watch Star Trek, my brother and I both watch it, my husband watches it, my in-laws watch it (they always play 1701 in the lottery). ST:TNG was current while I was growing up, and watching it was basically a whole-family thing. I wouldn’t really call any of us Trekkies; we don’t engage in any fannish pursuits other than just watching the shows and movies. No conventions, no collections, no costumes, nobody speaks Klingon, nobody has the technical diagrams of the Enterprise memorized, etc.

        But in my world, Star Trek is a totally normal thing to enjoy watching. It confuses me when people treat it as some kind of fringe nerdery.

    1. The linked story says that they’ve been divorced since 1994 AND that she’s been paying the mortgage on the flat since they split.

      If that’s true (and it’s from The Sun, so that may be a gigantic IF there), then no tachyon pulse is needed.  The fact that she let him stay there this long without selling is pretty impressive by itself.  Maybe the story will help her find a buyer who wants to keep his decorating job.

      1. Sorry – the story says they’ve been separated since 1994, the legal divorce proceedings are new.

        Still – if she’s been paying the mortgage and they’ve been separated for 18 years, it’s hard to see her as being unreasonable in that scenario.

        1. I feel like he’s being a jerk by making it seem like she’s some of horrible, evil ex-wife … when instead, she’s been paying the mortgage on a place for 18 years, while he lives there.  It’s her place!

          And I bet he can’t afford the mortgage.

          1. I think he could of afforded the mortgage but many didn’t pay it?  That kind of custom job looks like it costed him tens of thousands in materials alone.

          2. Either way, it’s her apartment, not his.  He could always buy it if he wanted to, but she has every right to sell it … since it is hers.

          3. But his labour in building the mods counts for nothing!  A typical Marxist parable of Capital vs. Labour.

          4. @boingboing-58f0c31fbecfaeccb4c08eb37ea9e4f7:disqus I applaud you for your crafty example illustrating  why those are usually awfully simplistic, on par wit bible school stories. 

  3. Is anyone really surprised by this? I remember the original piece about it, and frankly I’m surprised he was married in the first place.

  4. The inhumanity that comes out of people in the midst of a divorce.  It’s really sad and almost impossible to believe that someone that theoretically loved him at one point would want to put him through losing that place.

    1. How is it mean or inhumane to take what is yours? She’s been paying the mortgage this entire time. It’s her apartment. She was nice and let him live there for almost 2 decades since they split, it seems, but in the end, it’s her place. Something tells me he can’t afford the mortgage (he probably has no money left!). That’s not her problem.

      She probably doesn’t want the burden of having to pay the mortgage on something she doesn’t even live in and hasn’t for 18 years.

      He’s the one being kind of an asshole, making it seem like she’s doing something wrong (OH! Harpy ex-wives! They always take everything in a divorce!) when she’s really not.

      1. So, it’s fine to look down on people who pre-judge the wife but it’s ok to pre-judge the husband even though we might not know the full story?


        1. He’s whining and going to the media which is why I think he’s being a bit of an asshole, though I understand it’s probably upsetting for him. I don’t know him, so I can’t say for sure, but seriously … she’s not doing a damn thing wrong.

          That said, he did a fantastic job. But maybe next time he should do it on something that he actually owns. He was a little stupid doing that kind of work on something he doesn’t even own. What did he expect?

        2. What, they are separated for 2 decades and he didn’t have enough time to think his marriage could fall apart? At some time since 1994 he should have considered that he… like, didn’t own the place and maybe postpone his mods and try to buy the thing from her?

  5. Does anyone know of one of those home renovation TV shows in the UK?  I bet one of them would love to help this guy out.  Good human interest story etc.

  6. If the wife gets the apartment, she could probably sell it for a crap-ton of money to some trekkie with a lot of money.  She’d just need to make sure that the realtor wears a 7-of-9 suit when making the sale.

    1. As has been mentioned, this guy has been trying to sell this place for a very long time already.  Maybe his asking price is too high, or maybe the location is somehow wrong, or maybe there’s some other factor that just hasn’t come up in the story yet, despite how nice the pictures look.  (Noisy neighbors?  Faulty appliances?)  Maybe it’s even distinctly possible that it would sell for more as a “conventional dwelling”.

      Anyway, I guess I’ll be the first to mention the footage from the “Trekkies 2” documentary here.

      1. IIRC there was no bedroom and possibly no full toilet facility and he said he slept on the floor of the place. I’m tempted to dig out my DVD of Trekkies II to be certain.

    1. Haven’t you tried the fecal transporter? It really saves on water and toilet paper costs.

      1. You’ve solved an aspect of Star Trek that always had me puzzled.   Direct transport from the colon to deep space, I love it.

        1. Actually, I think that it would go to the Arboretum. But didn’t Julian used to transport pus out of abscesses occasionally?

  7. Lady’s insane if she thinks she could sell it for more as a “conventional dwelling.” But I guess we already knew that if she’s leaving a catch like that…

    1. Why? What’s in that apartment that’s worth anything to the most devoted fan? Who would have the petty cash to buy it

      Most people are not Star Trek fans. Hell, I’m a Star Trek fan and I wouldn’t want to live there.

      Unless y can transform it into a business – which is rather unlikely – the Star Trek decor detracts from the value, as a buyer would have to pay to have it removed.

      Sucks to be that man, certainly,

      1. I would totally live there.

        Although… it would be strange to not be able to actually use a replicator in these surroundings. But maybe the apartment has Starfleet field rations? :)

          1. Precisely.  That prospective buyer live far, far away and are unwilling to move tends to bring down the price of immovable property. 

      2. Yes, you’re right, taken on average it would be a stupid investment to make like a whole apartment complex of these things.  That said, if you have one apartment to sell, you only need to find one fan willing to pay anything extra for the furnishings.  That can’t be that hard.

        1. Warning, anecdotal data ahead.

          I *am* a fan of Star Trek, by any reasonable measure.   I dropped, over the years, hundreds of Euros, possible more, into this hobby by buying (and selling, but at a loss) VHS cassettes, DVDs, novels, comics, autobiographies, art books.  I watched every movie save one at the cinema.  I have a Franklin Mint 3-D chess set standing behind me.

          And yes, even if I had the money, needed a new apartment in the city where an apartment like this was located, I wouldn’t buy it, because  I wouldn’t want to live there.

          And even if I wanted, I couldn’t, because my wife wouldn’t want to live like that.   (Now, the Tendo Dojo I could probably sell to her, if the price was right.)

          It’s one thing to have a hobby your partner can easily ignore (at least most of the time), to have one that forces him or her to live with it 24/7 quite another. 

          I think you seriously overestimate the number of prospective buyer. 

          Also, this is gloomy Voyagerish.   Voyager was the first Star Trek series I ever dropped.   The darkness  got on my nerves. 24th century and they can’t afford light bulbs?

  8. I suspect it wasn’t his Star Trek obsession itself that led to the divorce, but rather, his irresistible urge to yell “Red Alert!” at 3 a.m. which sent the place alive iconic red flashing lights and incessant klaxons. At least, that would be my irresistible urge.

  9. >> If I happen to accidentally switch the  cable TV channel to an old “Star Trek” rerun, my wife gives me an earful.

    Your wife sounds delightful.

    Does the earful begin with the words:  “Harcourt Fenton Mudd!!” ?

  10. If I had a lot of money and a big house, I might build one room like that for fun. But even though I love the look of all the TNG stuff, I don’t think I could stand to live in it all the time.  What I’d really like to do is build a TARDIS entrance on my house… :)

  11. Maybe this guy should look into the business of set design, or maybe doing this sort of thing for rich people, because he is clearly talented.

  12. Seems like a prime candidate for a bit of pozible funding… surely a couple of gazillion trekkies would want to help a brother out?

    1. you know, articles on BoingBoing are just like TV shows in that if you don’t like them you are allowed to not read them.

  13. While I applaud his fandom, and am saddened at the loss that the destruction of his work would surely be if there was any chance his appartment wouldn’t be worth more as-is than it will be after re-conversion…

    I can’t quite wrap my head around wanting to live on the enterprise. It never really seemed like a comfortable living environment to me. Of course, I’d live in the Tardis in an instant, so who am I to judge?

    1. The normal living quarters on the Emterprise D look reasonable comfortable to me, if a little bi too much like Hotel rooms or Americam homes, for my taste.

      But it has a Holodeck AND travels to different worlds.

        1. Well, they would be right. 

          Though I suspect that I, as a German, do not get a joke here.

          Is “good access to amenities”  an euphemism for “23-4 hour Kwik-E-Mart with check-cashing at the ground floor”? Like “close to the breach” means “500 metres to the beach, if you are okay with line of sight through four other hotels” ?

  14. Errh, he -is- “barmy”. Not because he did this rather then “spend time at the pub” or because the apartment isn’t extremely cool but because (as the original says ) “back in 2006, Alleyne was about to file for bankruptcy over the money spent on renovations”.  This is not a business plan, people aren’t going to hire you to rebuild their space if youhave driven yourself bankrupt redesigning your own. He doesn’t have a science fiction problem, he has a math problem.

    1. I totally agree, if it is really true they are separated from 1994, and she is paying the mortgage on the place and he almost filled for bankuruptcy than he clearly is not living in reality. There is no such thing as free lunch, and a post scarcity society like Star Trek is just a show, in the real world if you don’t have the money to do something or a way to make it profitable you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

  15. I don’t understand, was she awarded the house or has she always owned it? It’s a confusing read, since laws are a bit different here in the United States. If she’s always owned the flat, then he never should have made those changes. If she won it in a divorce, then he must not have had enough cash money to pay her off, hell, he dumped it into his obsessive interior design scheme. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. Someone who makes those kids of changes to a home sets down a heavy anchor and never imagines that nothing is ever going to change or hopes it insures nothing ever does.

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