See how So­phie and Bob Wait­ing re­vamped their barn con­ver­sion

Real Homes - - Contents -

ASK any­one who has con­verted their home and they’ll tell you it’s a big un­der­tak­ing. But for So­phie and Bob, it was the chance to cre­ate a dream home that would fit their fam­ily’s ex­act needs. ‘Bob is from a farm­ing fam­ily, and he wanted to give our three chil­dren the same coun­try­side up­bring­ing,’ So­phie says. ‘We sold our fam­ily home in a nearby vil­lage and spent the best part of six months look­ing for the per­fect ru­ral prop­erty.’

The cou­ple of­ten passed this large dwelling nes­tled in the Lan­cashire coun­try­side on their dog walks, and af­ter some en­quiries, they dis­cov­ered the house was up for sale. ‘I dis­missed the pro­ject ini­tially as I feared it would be too much work for us to take on our­selves, but the set­ting and views won us over,’ re­veals So­phie. ‘The barn came across as a sad old build­ing that wanted to feel happy again. When the sale went through smoothly, it felt like it was meant to be.’

Over time, the house’s orig­i­nal lay­out had been al­tered and tweaked by pre­vi­ous own­ers, in­clud­ing an 18th-cen­tury cot­tage ad­di­tion and a row of ugly garages from the 1980s. Luck­ily, the cou­ple have a his­tory of ren­o­vat­ing houses. ‘We’ve had a lot of prac­tise and we’ve had to be­come very DIY savvy,’ So­phie says. ‘There’s noth­ing we won’t turn our hands to.’

The cou­ple re­in­stated the orig­i­nal cot­tage first so they had some­where to live while they worked on the barn. ‘We ripped out all the fix­tures and fit­tings and I filled our pig­gery with sal­vaged finds,’ re­veals So­phie. ‘I wanted to re­use as much as I could, so I clung onto any­thing that may have a fu­ture use.’

For the first two years, the cou­ple con­cen­trated their ef­forts on mak­ing the barn warm and wa­ter­tight, as well as in­stalling the kitchen and bath­room. Lo­cal con­trac­tors re­placed the crum­bling roof, re­moved the garages and added the mez­za­nine level. ‘Af­ter a year in the cot­tage, we were burst­ing at the seams and needed to move out,’ So­phie ex­plains. ‘As soon as the kitchen and bath­room were in, we moved into the barn in time for Christ­mas.’

So­phie cre­ated de­tailed CGI sketches of her vi­sion, and the re­sult­ing de­sign map was handy in help­ing her hunt down bud­get-friendly vin­tage ma­te­ri­als. ‘My nick­name in the fam­ily is “The Sorcerer” be­cause I can magic up ma­te­ri­als from any­where,’ she laughs. ‘We had such a big home to fin­ish we had to make our money stretch. When I saw a floor­ing com­pany was go­ing bust, I bought all they had, and I sourced the ap­pli­ances and units for about £1,000 on Ebay.’

The barn took two long years of solid work to com­plete. ‘We were push­ing our­selves to get it fin­ished,’ So­phie says. Part way through, she gave up work­ing full-time and put her en­er­gies into her fam­ily and home. ‘Ev­ery­where I looked there was a job to do,’ she re­calls. ‘I left my busi­ness to con­cen­trate on giv­ing my chil­dren a lovely home they’d be proud of.’

Us­ing clever de­sign ideas and smart plan­ning, the cou­ple have high­lighted the barn’s unique fea­tures. ‘This place had a lovely feel­ing to it and we wanted to keep that sense of per­son­al­ity,’ says So­phie. ‘This barn was a once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity; we’ll never move again.’

‘My nick­name is “The Sorcerer” be­cause I can magic up ma­te­ri­als from any­where. We had such a big home to fin­ish, we had to make our money stretch’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.