Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Large house, Ulverston, Cumbria

I don't usually pick terraced houses for 'Wreck..'. Particularly ones with small (ish) gardens. But this is such a handsome house - and I hate to see an abandoned home.
Five-bedroomed Georgian-style beauty across four floors, plus cellars. Bags of space to spread a family around and lots of renovation potential.
Obviously after the old lady left-behinds have been cleared. Most rooms are currently packed with junk and bric-a-brac, but also fabulous period details such as original plasterwork and wooden shuttered windows on the ground floor:

I'm going to digress momentarily. How does a home end up on the market like this? Didn't a family once fill those five bedrooms? Couldn't they have sorted their mum's stuff and made sure she was warm (cheap heaters in the rooms) and looked after?
Anyway, back to Sycamore Avenue. At the back is a shared yard leading to the house's own garden - overgrown but a reasonable, enclosed space.

It's in a very pretty location in the Dragley Beck area, on the edge of the Cumbrian market town of Ulverston. The house is on the market through Poole Townsend, at £210k. More details here.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Mansion, Coniston, Cumbria

I've ignored reason and bought a lottery ticket because of this house. It's way over budget for the sort of properties I usually pick for 'wreck..' but too gorgeous to pass over. Anyway, I had my fingers crossed when I bought the ticket so that'll work.
It's not exactly a wreck - more faded and neglected, although a few more years of poor damp management is likely to do some damage.
Holywath House, in Coniston, is an 11-bedroom (yes, I did say 11) country house on an estate of over seven acres - served by its own hydro electricity system.
Part of the house dates from the sixteenth century and it's been owned by the Barratt and Hext family for 180 years.
The death of 92-year-old Major Hext, in 2010, led to a "Cash in the Attic" bonanza with his seven children putting around 600 weird and wonderful items up for auction.
Holywath has stunning original features - my particular favourite is the garden room, with these beautiful windows:


Lots of rooms have original panelling and fireplaces, including the stunning, 27ft by 19ft billiards room - imagine this as party room!


The Major served in France and Burma during the second world war but his retirement was rather more peaceful; he was a railway buff and built and for 50 years operated a miniature steam railway around the grounds of the house, much of which is still in place:


I found this video of a trip through the woods on Major Hext's railway, shot a couple of years before his death. The sound is especially wonderful:


Holywath House is on the market at £895k through agents Michael Hodgson. More details and pictures here.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Railway carriages for sale

There's a bloke who lives near me who renovates steam engines. The traction ones you can sit on, not the Thomas the tank-engine-sized things. He has a garden full of them.
Anyway, walking past that garden again made me think about vintage railway carriages and how easy it might be to buy a carriage 'wreck' to renovate and live in? Maybe on that cheap plot of land you've had your eye on?
They're not easy to find, and what's available changes from week to week so you need to check the sites  below regularly, but here are some examples.
C.A.R Services, a Shropshire business specialising in selling redundant train stock, currently has a gorgeous batch of carriages for sale. Including this restored, three car group of carriages (DMU Class 115), pictured top and below:


C.A.R also has this 1961 Mk 1 RBR (below). RBR means a restaurant buffet carriage which, in this case, means it also has a galley kitchen and pantry as well as the dining area - so a great space to work with.


Click to open the plans, below, to see what I mean.


Carriages average 66-feet-long, by just over nine-feet-wide.  C.A.R have useful information on their site, including this PDF guide to carriage types.
Carriage Exchange is an enthusiasts' site with a regularly updated list of sites selling train stock.
WNXX is also a train fan's with news, pictures, forums etc. It includes a private sales section for members to advertise their own stock. Right now, that includes this unrestored MK 2 carriage ("most of the copper has been robbed from the vehicle"):


The seller is looking for "offers in excess of scrap price" (about £2-£4k). Poor little Clarabel...
(PS: Fab inspirational photos of carriage restoration on RailHoliday's facebook page- click on 'Photos').

Friday, 2 November 2012

Auction oddballs - Bath, Luton and Hastings

Given the press coverage of the £750 house that sold for £14k, I thought I'd spin things around today and give you a flavour of what's happening with auction prices at the moment.
Auction properties are picking up a lot of interest. We're more willing to have a punt and hope for a bargain at auction, and that's reflected in the businesses and websites dedicated to property auctions.
However, don't assume auctions mean bargains - straightforward houses are generally selling for close to or within 20 percent of the guide price. And weirder properties, like the ones I've picked here, can sell for three to four times the guide price - as long as they're in the right location.
The pic at the top is a one room former telephone repeater station sold off by Luton Borough Council. I think 'dinky' sums it up, however it's in decent area of Luton and came with half-an-acre of land. The initial guide price started at £10k, that was later revised to £15-£20k and it finally sold for £62k.
Luton Council also sold this former store (below), with a surprisingly pleasant garden area, at auction. Again, good location and  it sold for £75k - three times the original guide price of £20k-£30k.


How about living in a cemetery? Below is the rather more imposing St James Cemetery Lodge, in leafy Bath.

At least this one is a proper house - two reception, kitchen, two beds and bath, plus a nice garden wrapped around two sides. It's beautiful building and the guide price of £60-£80k was a bargain for Bath. The guide price, or location, clearly attracted interest because it actually sold for £164k.
And what isn't selling well? Poor locations, real wrecks and big commercial buildings. Like this one - the old Observer Building, in Hastings (below).

The ex-print works is an enormous, eight storey building of over 41,000 sq ft and has stayed empty since 1989, while multiple owners have lodged various planning applications but never carried through to build. It was up for auction with a guide price of £200-£400k but failed to sell.  Details here and some rather scary Urbex pix here - but you can see the sea from its upper floors!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Mansion and coach house, Berwickshire

I'm feeling in a celebratory mood right now, on account of 'Wreck...' having passed the half-a-million site visits milestone last night (yippee!). Anyway, I thought I'd celebrate by sharing a rather grander than usual 'wreck' with you.
Peelwalls House is an absolutely stunning Grade B-listed mansion house in almost five acres of land a mile from Ayton, in the Scottish Borders.
The mansion house itself currently has 20 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, having spent its latter years as a nursing home.
Despite the rash of stud walls, the house has hung onto original details such as a cupola-lit staircase, fireplaces, plasterwork and gorgeous windows such as the ones below.


The property includes the mansion, a Grade C-listed walled garden, 4.9acres and the stone coach house pictured below.
The mansion house and garden is on the market at offers over £395k; the coach house is also for sale separately at offers over £95k. Or both buildings, the land and the walled garden at offers over £480K.
There's a closing date for offers of midday on October 17th. More details on the whole property here and on the coach house here. PDF here. Strutt & Parker are the agents.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Former country pubs for sale

I've already written about buying ex-public property and former churches but lately I've noticed a new kid on the property block - redundant pubs.
Well, not exactly new because we've been turning our pubs into houses and offices for donkey's years, but with 12 pubs a week closing there are rather more of them popping up on agent and auction lists.
Former pubs are a good option - cheap for the size, already serviced and (usually) with living accommodation you could use while you renovate. Here are some interesting ones I spotted this week.
The Sun Inn (above) sits on a good-sized plot in Arlecdon in rural Cumbria, not far from Cockermouth and the coast, with lovely open views. Downstairs is the pub area, complete with kitchen and cellar, and upstairs is three-bedroomed owners' accommodation. It's on the market through Penrith, Farmers' and Kidd, at offers around £110k - more details here.
Graham Penny has the Grade II Listed Holly Bush Inn up for auction on October 18th (below) with a guide price of £150k plus.

The 17th century former pub and restaurant includes owner accommodation on both floors and good-sized carpark and garden area. It's in the Leicestershire village of Breedon on the Hill, opposite the village green, around two miles from Melbourne. More property details here.
At the opposite end of the renovation scale, how about this former village pub in Dundrennan, Galloway (below).

The Crown and Anchor (as was) needs a full renovation job but it offers plenty of space to work with. Downstairs is the bar, the snug, kitchen and lounge; upstairs are six bedrooms and a bathroom. Outside is a parking area and large garden. Dundrennan itself is a pretty village with a fabulous ruined Abbey, around six miles from the harbour town of Kirkcudbright.
The property is on the market through DGSPC, at offers over £75k. More details and pdf here.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Cottages, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Prompted by a lovely email from Margaret (looking for her dream derelict bothy), I thought I'd have a look at some of the more, shall we say, structurally-challenged properties for sale on Skye.
I've featured properties by the Isle of Skye estate agency in the past but usually in a better condition than Simpson Croft House, pictured above.
The house, in Arinackaig close to the village of Strathcarron, is in a fabulous rural location with stunning views over the surrounding hills (pic below). Realistically however the house needs demolition and this is more of a plot sale than a property sale. It's on the market at offers over £60k. More details here.

The agent also has this property at Hungladder, previously featured on 'Wreck', and the cottage below, at Portnalong, with views to the Cuillin mountains, at offers £70k. More details here.


The detached cottage below, in Heaste, is also in a lovely location, close to the coast and about five miles from the town of Broadford, with views of the Sleat Peninsula and the hills of Knoydart.

Don't be fooled by the picture however; behind that hedge is another island property that's been left to rot and the interior pix give an idea of the renovation challenge. It's on the market through Skye Property Centre at offers around £60k. More details and pix here.

The same agent has a couple of similar properties currently under offer, like the one above in a stunning location at Staffin. On the market at offers over £70k. The interior pictures (below) make you think the estate agents on Skye must be made of tougher stuff!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Church property for sale in Scotland

Having already written about buying a closed church in England, I thought I'd tackle Scotland.
The Church of Scotland also publishes an online list of property for sale. This nice bit is it isn't just former churches, it's also former staff houses and offices.
My current favourite is this former manse, pictured above, in the village of Muirkirk, in Ayrshire. The detached villa has three bedrooms, three reception and a big garden and is on the market at offers over £150k. The pdf is here. On a similar scale is a gorgeous detached Manse at Leslie, in Fife, at a pricier offers over £240k.
Church-wise, I loved Mouswald Church, in Dumfries, pictured below. Manageable size, fab location and even the graveyard doesn't stop it being cute as a button. On the market at offers c£40k. Pdf here.


Finally, East Lodge, in Alloa (below). Needs total renovation inside (and some serious graffiti removal) but a lovely building and you have a theatre on your doorstep! On the market at offers over £65k.

Incidentally, buying a property in Scotland is markedly different to the rest of the UK. Particularly the concept of 'offers over' in relation to prices, which makes it more like bidding for something at an auction but without being able to see anyone else'syour competitors' bids. There's plenty of info out there, but here's one useful link to get you started.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Church for sale, Birkenhead, Wirral

Pretty, two-storey red-brick church with great potential.
Built around 1890, the Victorian Gothic church isn't listed and doesn't come with planning consents already in place - hence the low guide of price of c£100k.
Not being listed gives you more design freedom, but be aware that redundant churches carry their own restrictions and challenges as WOW contributors Natalie and Karl found.
St Winifred's church is in a residential area of Birkenhead, around 3.5 miles from the M53 and around 6 miles from Liverpool.
It's a good size, just under 8,000sqft (740sqm) and the two storey, two entrance layout makes it extra flexible: both levels are basically two big halls with a handful of smaller rooms. The upper level includes the church nave, aisle, vestry and sanctuary and the lower level the church hall, kitchen, 'tea room' and toilets. It's on the market through Denton Clark/Fisher German, more details here and pdf here.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Two chapels, a water tower and waterworks for sale (but, ssh!, the factory's a secret)

Two emails prompted me to dig around commercial property lists today for buried treasures.
One was from Karl and Natalie, they of the mammoth church restoration project previously featured on WOW, and the other from a work colleague who is about to put the family's house on the market in order to buy a factory.
Karl wrote of the church above: "An interesting property near me, it catches my eye every time I drive past. If I had the money I would add it to my collection!"
The Bethel Chapel, on Welshpool Road, Newtown, is up for sale at a recently reduced price of £200k. There's limited information here (scroll down the page).
My friend Jackie, her artist husband and their two teenage sons are hoping to sell up and move into this former factory:

The second floor is a three-bedroom, open-plan flat; the ground floor is 1700sqft of workshop area, plus 600sqft of basement for a nifty under £80k. I'd tell you where it is but she'd never speak to me again if one of you lot stepped in and bought it!
So instead, how about this majestic 1920s former waterworks in Lancaster with .76acre at offers c£250k? Or this dinky water tower in countryside near Harrogate, up for auction with a guide price of £7-£10k, or this sweet former Baptist church (pdf) in Crowle village, near Scunthorpe, reduced to £50k? Happy now?


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Desperately seeking Cornwall

So what is it about Cornwall? Something going on down there that I don't know about?
I've had two WOW fans email me, both looking for a Cornish 'wreck' to stamp their mark on.
Glen, a carpenter builder, and his family are desperate to leave their east London home and move to Cornwall (or Devon) where they dream of renovating a house and starting a business.
He told me he'd looked at over 30 properties: "My mum and dad's dream is to have a small campsite somewhere rural which needs work. But they are becoming very depressed as we have been looking for over a year now with two houses falling through last minute."
Sonet emailed me from South Africa. She and her husband are reluctantly selling up and leaving the beautiful house they renovated in SA (pictured above) to move in with relatives in Cornwall while they look for their own Cornish 'wreck'.
They have very little money but they've already renovated one 'wreck' themselves and, as Sonet said: "We just love creating something out of nothing."
So - anyone out there selling a 'wreck' in or close to Cornwall? Drop me an email and I'll pass it on.