They hail from Pennsylvania, and their films are indebted to the art of Central Europe. But the Brothers Quay actually live midway between those places, in South London.

Emigrés in the city since the late 1970s, twins Stephen and Timothy have made the majority of their sensual, enigmatic films, which range across stop motion and live action, in a secluded studio in the Borough district. Around the corner, they own an apartment, to which the British newspaper Metro recently paid a visit.

Brothers Quay apartment.

The open plan apartment, spread out over two floors, is housed in a converted 19th-century box factory — an appropriate origin story, given the Quays’ habit of repurposing industrial materials in their films. The place has been thoroughly refurbished by the brothers. Fans of theirs will notice recurring motifs from their work — pine cones, deer antlers — dotted around.

“We don’t hold extravagant opinions on interiors,” Timothy told Metro. “However, it has to be said that in the making of puppet films and décor for theatre, opera, or the ballet, one is very conscious of how space is to be perceived and how the eyes and ears are led imaginatively into that space. That is what a décor evokes for the imagination.”

Brothers Quay apartment.

The brothers found the 1,168-square-foot property in 1999, sometime after moving into their studio. “It had steel girders and raw, unadorned concrete walls and was therefore very unpromising,” Stephen said. “But the saving grace was the plethora of original wooden beams which could not hide the potential character of the place.”

The neighborhood has thoroughly gentrified since then, not least thanks to its proximity to the City, London’s financial district. Meanwhile, the Quays are moving out of both their studio and their apartment, and they’re looking to sell the latter.

“It looks like we will end up in a barn in Basingstoke or Kent,” said Timothy, referring to two areas near London. “[This apartment] would clearly have to suit someone or a couple who might just have an inkling for preservation and who might just muse and say that this was a space that didn’t arrive accidentally. And they might just know who the authors were.”

The apartment is on the market for £1.15 million ($1.48 million). The Quays aren’t short of high-profile admirers, including Terry Gilliam, Guillermo del Toro, and Christopher Nolan (who financed their latest short film The Doll’s Breath). Perhaps one of them will snap the property up.

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Photos from Williams Lynch.

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