So we have finally finished building! Having arrived here in September 2014 and thinking we needed to do nothing we embarked on two years of work to the land and the buildings.
First we worked on our 14 acres of land, digging out all the ditches and removed a vast number of trees from them, so that the land which is prone to flooding can drain effectively. We pruned and treated a lot of trees including the two orchards.
We started work after Christmas 2014 on the Granary our small cottage which is now an Air B and B, we re vamped this completely so we could move in whilst the work was done on the main house. Then in April 2015 we took out all the oil tanks and boilers, transformed the old oil, wood and coal store and put in a bio mass heating system which serves all four buildings, digging trenches everywhere and cabling in new water, electricity and wi-fi. This meant there were no services to the main house so it was good that we were out of it.
From June till three days before Christmas, the farmhouse was virtually pulled apart, whilst it was re-plumbed and new electrics put it, all connected to the biomass, the main staircase removed and replaced with a beautiful iron staircase, every wall replastered and a new kitchen and bathrooms etc.In fact we did virtually everything we could within the terms of the listing, helped by our great architect James Grayley and the very helpful conservation office who saw that aspects of what we were living with verged on dangerous! Old doorways that were blocked up were re-opened, veluxes replaced with conservation roof lights, terraces and new vistas created, making a wonderfully comfortable and intimate set of spaces.
The in January 2016 we started on the ‘shed’ or studio which involved virtually starting again but keeping the old trusses and the grain hopper. Our building team were formidable, reliable and cheerful throughout, everything had a low cost , low tech solution. My off set lithe press arrived by crane on a wet day in March, we had to create a road for the lorry to come in and deliver it, How do you make a road, its simple, get a load a hard core delivered and compress it. Anyway we are delighted with the results. We have project managed all these works on a daily basis, so if you are wondering what we have been doing for two years, this is a short version of the story.
Somewhere in-between we have built a fabulous greenhouse with a set of reclaimed Crittall windows, done a vast amount of gardening and replanting of the flower beds, mended the bird hide, planted more trees and thousands of bulbs and learnt a vast amount. The learning curve has been steep, I am still useless at identifying birds and trees but improved at many other things. Like if you have a glut of courgettes you learn to make courgette cake…… no one wants that much chutney.