'Star Trek' Apartment Going For $2 MillionBy Caillan
May 31, 2003 - 6:38 AM
The next best thing to living in a Starfleet starship is now up for sale on the Internet.
British Star Trek fan Tony Alleyne, who spent three-and-a-half years transforming his Leicestershire studio apartment into a replica of the Enterprise-D, has now listed the flat on eBay. The asking price? $2 million US dollars.
"I decided to list the apartment on eBay basically to see what reaction I would get," Alleyne told TrekToday over email. "YES! I know the asking price was ridiculous but, as they say, 'it's always best to aim high'. Having said that, I have received a lot of emails, mainly from the USA, asking about the apartment."
Alleyne based the design of the apartment on the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation, his favourite series because of its "scenic design, characters, storylines and the moral issues Gene Roddenberry addressed without worrying about the consequences".
The actual design and construction of the apartment's Trek interior, begun in 1999 and completed earlier this year, was the culmination of a lifetime as science fiction fan. "From the time I saw my first sci-fi film, The First Men In The Moon, at around 12 years old, I have been a complete fan of everything science fiction. The motivation to convert my whole apartment came following a series of events. As a result of a run of bad luck starting with my wife leaving me, I found myself unable to work and unable to focus on anything."
He found solace in one of the most unlikely places: a Star Trek reference book. "The only thing that held my attention at that time was a Star Trek technical manual loaned to me by a friend. I didn't realise it at the time what effect the Star Trek manual was going to have on my life."
In 1996, armed with the technical manual, Alleyne busied himself by constructing a transporter control console, eventually finishing it two years later. But while the console was the perfect size for a Galaxy class starship, it proved to be a little too big for a humble 20th century flat.
"Because my studio apartment is quite small I decided to get rid of my transporter control console to anyone who wanted it (free of charge)," Alleyne explained. "It was first offered to the science museum in South Kensington, but after a year of emailing and faxing their curator, Doug Millard, they eventually decided they didn't want it as it was 'too big' to include in their annual sci-fi convention. I have my own reasons why they didn't want it.
"I then offered it to the Space Centre in Leicester. They were very enthusiastic initially but then after a while I never heard anything more.
"So, as I couldn't give it away I decided to do the next best thing: build my apartment around it."
Alleyne, who has studied the work of veteran Trek scenic artist Mike Okuda, didn't use blueprints but "did a watch a lot of Star Trek". "I am an avid fan of Star Trek but then I am also a fan of their scenic and graphic designs," he said.
Just by looking at the pictures on the Internet, living in the apartment day in day out seems like it could be a very surreal experience. "I find the apartment very easy to live in," Alleyne said, "but then I have always dreamt about living in a spaceship!"
While areas such as living quarters, corridors and the mess hall are featured in almost every Trek episode, locations like the bathroom proved more problematic for Alleyne, since they are never usually featured in the television series. "Because the kitchen and bathroom areas in Star Trek: The Next Generation are almost never seen I have based my kitchen area roughly on a that aboard a sea-ship." Alleyne used "chamfered doors, clinical worktops and fixed diffused lighting panels".
"I have included an Infinity Mirror in the bathroom together with footlights for the shower. The Star Trek influence in the bathroom is the wall panelling (TNG) and the LCARS display around two walls at knee height so you have something to read when you're sat on the pot. Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar) was concerned that her name wasn't on the Official List of Starfleet Personnel Killed, Wounded or Missing in Action."
And what was Denise Crosby doing looking for her name on Alleyne's bathroom wall? She and director Roger Nygard recently visited the apartment to film a segment for Trekkies 2, the sequel to the 1997 documentary. "I really enjoyed myself with the crew from Paramount. Denise Crosby was lovely and so friendly. It was a bit surreal having someone I have watched on TNG countless times in my apartment standing on my transporter pad saying 'Beam me up, Captain'.
"The director, Roger Nygard, was thoroughly professional and never missed a trick whilst filming. He was, as was the rest of the crew, seven in all, very friendly and a joy to work with."
Alleyne said he had never actually seen the original Trekkies until visited by the production crew. While the documentary has generated controversy among the Star Trek community because of its depiction of fans, Alleyne said he "enjoyed it very much".
"There was a good point made by the lady juror that really sums up, to me, about anyone who is a fan of anything. She mentioned that football fans, baseball fans any other sport fan can don their teams colours everyday of the year without being looked on as a reject from society or something odd.
"Ask yourself this, if you were walking alone at night which would you prefer to have coming towards you, a gang of football fans angry and charged up on alcohol because their team has lost, or a gang of Star Trek fans on their way home from a convention?
"I have always subscribed to the saying, 'Do what makes you happy as long as it doesn't offend anyone'. In the Trekkies movie we saw individuals who were doing just that."
Look out for Tony Alleyne and his apartment to be featured in Other People's Houses on Channel 4 in the UK this summer, as well as the upcoming documentary, Trekkies 2.