A year down on the farm spent grow­ing their own dream home

Con­vert­ing this farm build­ing was a chal­lenge for one cou­ple. Heather Dixon re­ports. Pic­tures by Dave Bur­ton.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

IG­NO­RANCE was def­i­nitely bliss when Jane and Kevin Whel­don bought a se­ries of farm out­build­ings to turn into a fam­ily home. The cou­ple were not fased by the fact that the former gra­nary and sta­ble block was no more than a cold, empty shell with no run­ning water, con­crete gul­lies in the floor and an­i­mal stalls still in place.

“We had ren­o­vated prop­erty be­fore and also self-built so although it was a huge chal­lenge we were really ex­cited about the whole thing,” says Jane.

“What we prob­a­bly hadn’t ac­counted for was the enor­mity of the project. The size and pro­por­tions of the build­ing were ten times big­ger than we had re­alised and we had to com­pletely change our think­ing to work with the scale of the prop­erty.”

There was al­ready plan­ning per­mis­sion to con­vert the build­ing at Snain­ton, near Scar­bor­ough, into a house but Jane and Kevin ap­plied for al­ter­ations, which were passed only days be­fore the sale was due to be com­pleted. Then, with their teenage chil­dren John and Anna, they moved into a nearby rented farm­house where they stayed for a year while the build­ing work was com­pleted to the point where they could move in.

“We loved the rus­tic el­e­ment of the prop­erty and didn’t want it to be a mod­ern house with neat and tidy lines and con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture,” says Jane who over­saw the project.

“We were keen to fea­ture the old beams and to re­use the 8ft high sta­ble doors which we stripped and sanded. We also reused the sta­ble par­ti­tions and made full use of the height of the build­ing by keep­ing the ceil­ings as open as pos­si­ble.”

The prop­erty came with five acres of land so Jane and Kevin de­cided from the out­set to cre­ate a garden that could be­come es­tab­lished while the sta­bles was be­ing con­verted.

“We hadn’t ap­pre­ci­ated how much we had taken on,” says Jane, a milliner who runs a branch of Get Ahead Hats.

“We took ev­ery­thing back to a shell and re­built it. It had to be func­tional, not a palace.”

This in­cluded tak­ing off the old roof and re­build­ing it with the orig­i­nal tiles, rais­ing the floor level in­side and feed­ing water and elec­tric­ity sup­plies up the long drive.

They stripped and sanded the orig­i­nal sta­ble doors so they could re-use them to cre­ate room par­ti­tions, and sanded the oak beams.

They also turned two garage doors at the end of the sta­ble block into win­dows for the kitchen area. Then, three quar­ters of the way through the con­ver­sion, they started to run out of funds and broke off to turn an old gra­nary in the grounds into two hol­i­day cot­tages so they could gen­er­ate an in­come for the fi­nal stretch.

“Once we started let­ting the cot­tages we were able to turn our at­ten­tion back to the main house and com­plete the work in­side,” says Jane.

At this point the wooden floor boards of the orig­i­nal top floor were sanded and treated for wood­worm be­fore par­ti­tion walls were built for the bed­rooms. All the fix­tures and fit­tings, light­ing and car­pets, were com­pleted be­fore Jane and Kevin moved in.

“We did a lot of prepa­ra­tion and labour­ing work our­selves but as the project man­ager you have to have a strong char­ac­ter to make sure you achieve what you want,” says Jane.

“It was tur­moil for a year un­til we could move in and start cre­at­ing a proper home for our­selves. Ev­ery­thing seemed huge at first. The pro­por­tions of the rooms, the heights of the ceil­ings and the sheer scale of the build­ing were quite over­whelm­ing, but we lived in it for a while be­fore mak­ing any ma­jor dec­o­rat­ing de­ci­sions. You have to get to know a place and un­der­stand how the light works to get the best out of it.”

Jane and Kevin had the kitchen made by a lo­cal crafts­man, while their son John, a black­smith, cre­ated ac­ces­sories for the house. Dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion their daugh­ter Anna helped with the land­scap­ing and look­ing af­ter their flock of Rye­land sheep.

Once the work was com­pleted John’s girl­friend Vanessa did all the paint­ing and dec­o­rat­ing.

“We were very keen to keep the light, space and views as well as the lovely char­ac­ter of the build­ing,” says Jane. “We reused as much as we could and bought re­claimed ma­te­ri­als when we wanted to cre­ate ex­tra features.

“The oak beam over the kitchen fire­place was car­ried home in the back of the Volvo and the fire­place built around it.”

Most of the fur­ni­ture is a mix of an­tiques, fam­ily pieces they have had for years and new items bought specif­i­cally for their new home.

“I don’t like ev­ery­thing to match,” says Jane. “We like fur­ni­ture to have a bit of mean­ing and his­tory, and the build­ing lent it­self to a re­laxed, coun­try look.

“We both work from home so it’s a prac­ti­cal house, but the main in­flu­ence be­hind its de­sign is the view. We can see for miles across the coun­try­side and we wanted to bring the light, open as­pects into our home.” Use­ful Con­tacts: Hol­i­day lets: www. thestable­cot­tage.com and www. gra­nary-cot­tage.com

James God­bold, black­smith, tel: 01947 660516 wroughtiron­smith.com

Lee Davies, builder, tel: 01723 864836

Al­bert Thun­der­cliffe, kitchen / joiner, tel: 07803189405

Chris An­der­son, plumb­ing, tel: 01723 371115.

RUS­TIC CHARMS: The con­verted gra­nary and sta­bles are 100 years old and still in­clude steps up to the old hayloft. Jane and Kevin’s son James, a black­smith, made the dec­o­ra­tive iron­work and lo­cal crafts­man Al­bert Thun­der­cliffe of Grindale made the kitchen units. The cou­ple were keen to fea­ture the old beams and orig­i­nal sta­ble doors of the farm build­ings.

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