When we bought the property in late 2007, it hadn’t been lived in for approximately 10 years. The first 18 months were spent renovating the Manor house. During this time we uncovered a date stone (1640) and a coat of arms. From July 2009 we turned our attention to renovating the barns, which hadn’t been used for about 30 years. With no roof and only a few standing walls it has been a steep learning curve, with many highs and a few lows over the last couple of years! There have been times when we thought it would never finish – think of most episodes of Grand Designs and you’ll get the idea!
Our vision was to renovate the barns to provide luxury accommodation, whilst retaining the historical integrity of the building. Working closely with architects, conservation officers, stonemasons, Cornish wallers, roofers and landscape gardeners (GripSure), I think we’re there. The buildings are Grade II listed so we’ve worked very closely with the Council’s conservation officer to make sure we got it right.
With a view to ensuring it’s as ecologically friendly as possible, the building is insulated and soundproofed far beyond building regulations requirements. We also source water from our own bore hole.
Wood for the wood burners is sourced from the grounds. Unfortunately the trees were also neglected over the period the house was left empty so we’ve had to cut down a few. One tree though did get the better of me and when it fell, landed on my leg, breaking it in three places. Suffice it to say I now leave tree felling to the professionals!
Of course we’re not finished yet. We’ve recently added a petanque court and there are plans for a games room, scheduled for completion in the next 12 to 18 months. In our wilder dreams we can envisage a swimming pool and tennis court but maybe we’ll have a rest for a bit!