Martello towers are small circular fortresses that stud the English coastline. With 4-meter walls, a single tiny point of entry and 15-man garrisons, they never saw action: no-one has successfully mounted an invasion of Britain in centuries. Now in disrepair, their small size and remote seaside locations make them ideal homes for people who want to live in totally awesome fortresses. Here's Jonathan Glancey in The Guardian:
Jackson first came across the tower in June 2000, when it was rotting away at the edge of a farm. And so began a 10-year affair with 750,000 Suffolk bricks. "I wasn't wholly naive," says Jackson, whose American wife and young daughter are now settling in. "I spent a year in negotiation with the farmer. He put in mains water and electricity, but I did have to face up to the fact that the tower was a Scheduled Monument, that it was on the Buildings at Risk register, and that it's part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that's also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Given all this, perhaps I should have cut my losses and walked away."
The cost of renovation is steep, but once completed, you can rest easy knowing your home is impervious to Napoleon's cannons. Pro-tip: make friends with the local ruinkeepers before messing with important historical monuments!
Napoleon-proof your home: convert a Martello tower [Guardian via Inhabitat]