Friday, 13 March 2020

Two rural churches and a cottage to renovate

My previous post is feeling rather flippant today. Not least because, rather than find an isolated cottage away from people generally, I'm worrying more about the need to stay away from people I love - my elderly mum with chronic illnesses; my brother with cancer.
Suddenly, how we choose to live together over the coming days is more important than finding somewhere to live apart.
Here are three properties with potential to inspire - or distract - us all from these darkening times.
My first choice is the very pretty St Edmunds church, above and below, in the East Yorkshire coastal village of Fraisthorpe.

There are no internal photos - which would normally put me off featuring a property - but the prettiness and the deadline (final offers by March 20th) mean I wanted to show you it.
The property, one of the Church of England's current disposals, comes with permissions already in place to turn the Grade II listed church into a two-bedroom house.
And the guide price of offers over £100k is attractive for a detached property in this location (though you'll want to check there no plans to build on that field in front of you).

On the market through Dee Atkinson & Harrison, details and more pictures here and here.

Another church next - this time in the North Yorkshire National Park village of Chopgate.

Again, it comes with planning permission in place to turn it into a two-bedroom home, however this time there are restrictions - holiday accommodation only, you can't do it up to live there (is it just me who finds it bizarre that the body charged with protecting the national park stops people actually living there but is happy for any number of people to visit?).

Also, if someone could tell me why there's a canoe in the chapel, I'd be grateful?
Hopefully it's not a flood warning...
Regardless of the limitations, it is a very pretty chapel in a very lovely part of northern Yorkshire.
On the market through Roseberry Newhouse with a guide price of £80k. (Sketchy) details and more pictures here and here.

And finally, I love this little cottage in the Cairngorms. Lovely shape, nice big garden space, and it already has planning permission to replace that dodgy side extension.

Clearly work to be done.
And I can see why the agent didn't take pictures of the view from the from the front:

But none-the-less a really sweet, three-bedroom house with potential, and in a lovely bit of our world.
On the market through Masson Cairns at £149,950. Details and more pictures here and here.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Wrecks for eco-warriors and virus escapers

I'm currently living and working in York. That handsome medieval city that was home to the UK's first Coronovirus victim, flooded streets - and that plague of African locusts is probably just around the equatorial corner. 
There's a pretty biblical feel to the news nowadays.
All of which has led me to thinking about living a more isolated life, and I started looking for wrecks that were closer to nature and further from people. Here are three suggestions.
Sent to me by reader Tim, Changue Farm bungalow is pretty much land rather than a wreck. Well, clearly a wreck, but not an interesting enough building to renovate.

A two-bedroom Dumfries bungalow with holes in the walls. It comes with planning permission to replace it with a  three-bedroom detached house (or whatever you're able to renegotiate with planning).
But, the big but, it also comes with five acres of land, stunning sea and land views - and your own bit of the foreshore.

It's four miles from the nearest village - Port William, and 13 from the nearest town - Wigtown.
The bungalow's neighbour - the main farmhouse with 15 acres of land and its own slice of the foreshore is currently under offer, and you'll want to keep an eye on that, but there'd be more than enough land and privacy between you and your larger neighbour to create your eco-escape.
And, even if you're replacing the bungalow with a new build, at offers over £135k it's a bargain parcel of land, open views and seafront.
On the market through Savills. Details and more pictures here and here.
In a similar vein, this pretty bizarrely-shaped house-that-Jack-built in Kenmare, Ireland, is probably something you'd want to start over on rather than renovate.

However, it too comes with a big parcel of land (over seven acres!) and only one near-neighbour.
There is planning permission in place to renovate and extend it, and the cottage hasn't been lived in since 2003, so a fair bit of work to do.
But the land and space is what matters here. Water comes from the mountain stream and your land is in hiker's paradise Black Valley. Gorgeous.

And the very best bit? All of that land and house for 99,000 Euro  - just £84.5k.
Those crazy-low Irish prices again.
On the market through Sherry Fitzgerald, details and more pictures here.
And finally, pricier than my other two picks but that's because you get a whopping 51 acres of land with your run-down farmhouse.

The three-bedroom house is surrounded by its land; has its own private water supply, and a seven-acre chunk of woodland bordering a stream.
It's a quarter of a mile to its nearest neighbours and six from the nearest town (Newcastle Emlyn) and, while the house and its outbuildings (there are lots of them...) are in various stages of disrepair, there's also more than enough room to live and work in a multitude of eco-considerate ways.

Pantmelyn Farm is on the market through Dai Lewis at £450k. Details and lots more pictures here.

Monday, 10 February 2020

The joy of the before and after, and Wreck's 5 rules

This will be a longer post than usual. And a bit of a different post. You might want to grab a coffee or a glass of something and chill with me for a while.
So, Alison emailed and asked: "I just wondered in what respect you consider the old Manor House at Helperby (above) to be a wreck?"
She suggested I say why I think a property deserves to be called a "wreck" if it's just a bit tired, or "the hideous estate agent's term 'now in need of modernisation'". Which, as Alison pointed out, can mean a bunch of potentially expensive things in relation to a historic house such as Helberby.
Anyway, I thought I'd try and tackle those questions because Alison isn't the only one of Wreck's five million or so visitors in 10 years to wonder why I've picked a particular property.
So, here goes.

My first rule of 'Wreck Club' is it should be detached with a decent bit of space around it.
Occasionally, I do break that rule. Such as when I wanted to show you four terraced houses ripe for renovation, or that picture-book pretty end-of-terrace Cumbrian cottage (sold now).

And sometimes - like today - I'll want to tell you about two houses, kissing distance apart but up for sale together. Frondeg and Frongeri (below) are neighbouring two-bedroomed detached cottages.

Frondeg looks like it mostly needs updating and titivating, Frongeri needs lots of work. 
The houses have a lovely bit of garden land around them, plus off-street parking, and they're close enough to link the two buildings and create one impressive home.
They're in the Carmarthenshire village of Cwm Cou, about 5 minutes drive from the market town of Newcastle Emlyn and around 15 from the coast.
And the pair are on the market together for £199,950. Details and lots more pictures here and here.

My second rule of Wreck Club is it shouldn't be a total wreck.  
In the early days, I did sometimes post about properties that were little more than land with a ruined tower, but that's pretty rare for me now. I need to be able to imagine the property renovated, rebuilt and lovely again. I need to be able to see its character and the home it could be.
Like those two derelict Scottish mansions from 2016.

Both those mansions, including the gorgeous Asknish House at Lochgair, above, seem to have sold (if you know otherwise, please tell me?).
But for those of you made of tougher renovation fibre than me, here's B-listed (and still available) Sourin Mill on the Scottish island of Rousay

Stunning views (I do love a property with a view) and all the mill gubbins still in situ. 
A BIG building and a HUGE job waiting for someone who knows what they're doing. And it's on the market at offers over £55k. Details and lots more pictures here and here.
And incidentally, if £55k is bit on the steep side for you wreck-wise, agents D&H also have this renovation "challenge" on Sanday, with sea views, and a deadline for offers (over £25k) of this Friday. 

Could be a pretty amazing Valentine's gift for someone... ; )  Details here.

Quite often, what I'm drawn towards is what I call my "old lady gone" houses. The ones that lost their way alongside their aging owner: kitchens and bathrooms (and often electrics and fixtures) unchanged since their 1950s heyday; spare rooms disappearing under piles of stuff; rooms stuck in time. These ones tend to be closer to that "tired" rather than wrecked tag (not that any us know what we're really buying when we take on an older house).
But these are the houses that I'm drawn to because of the story I feel that I see in the bricks and mortar. The house that was a home and the owner that was perhaps abandoned along with it: 

So, my third rule of Wreck Club, is does this house appeal to me emotionally? 
Basically, I'm a ridiculous romantic running a property blog in my spare time because I really hate to see a once-loved home left to rot.
Like this riverside home in Kidderminster, sent to me last week by long-time reader Ben: "A couple of red flags, but beautiful". 

One red flag being the lack of vehicle access, another that two of its rooms are derelict and "open to the elements". We're talking cranes, and/or permission to build your own access for the very many trades vans you'll need. 

But... it's detached, it comes with four acres of land and woodland, and that amazing river frontage. Tick, tick, tick.
On the market with Herbert Banks at offers over £150k. Details and more pictures here and here.

And here's my fourth rule of Wreck Club - is this a property worth renovating because it has something more to offer than its resale value? 
Even though many of the people who have bought my featured properties over the years have renovated and re-sold or used them as a holiday rental, what they have all done is bought a wreck - in whatever stage of wreckiness it was - and put their heart and soul into bringing it back to life
You're the reason I've kept writing Wreck for a decade. All of you who see the same soul in the properties I pick, and are able to spend your time, money and creativity in bringing it to life again. 

Back in 2014, I wrote about the Old Forge in Great Barton, in Suffolk. Then, it looked like this:

Sandy saw that post, bought the Forge (which was actually an old engine house, not a forge), and now it looks like this:

The story of that particular "do-up" is here (and the rest of the pictures are quite, quite stunning).
Sandy emailed me at the weekend to thank me for featuring the Old Forge/Engine House and starting her "biggest joy" working with a long-time friend to restore it, "finding the loveliest local builders" and enjoying four years of post-build fun there with friends and family.

And here's my fifth and final rule of Wreck Club. There are no rules - every property I pick only needs to find that one new owner with the vision to erase the word "wreck".
: )

Monday, 27 January 2020

Country manor do-up of cheese dish hoarder

Last week I went towards the rich side with my property picks. This week, I've gone so far into lottery-winnings territory that we may never be able to look at little Welsh do-up again.
But bear with me.
Yes, Helperby Manor is the wrong side of £1m (is there a right side?) but it's also up for best and final offers by the end of this month so, let's luxuriate a little in imagining quite what we'd do with a run-down 10-bedroom country mansion sitting in nine acres of parkland.

After the death of owner Chris Martins in 2018, the houses' contents (including the largest ever collection of cheese dishes) were put up for auction. 
Now the house itself is on the market, with a guide price of £1,250,000. 
According to the Yorkshire Post, it was worth around £800k in 2018, but that was probably on the conservative side for nine acres within seven miles of the A1M.
The house itself is lovely. Four reception rooms, kitchen, other rooms, and the "service wing" on the ground floor; five bedrooms, two bathrooms and two loos on the first floor, and a further five bedrooms on the second floor.


Outside is a coach house with garages and stables and chauffer's lodgings above.
There are also other outbuildings and greenhouses, and the land includes parkland, paddocks and an orchard.

Helperby Manor is on the market through Blenkin and Co., with final offers by January 31st. Details and more pictures here.

Helperby Manor in 2018

Monday, 20 January 2020

Three big country houses with second buildings

Apologies, a bit of a gap again from me but I thought I'd make up for it by showing a bunch of increasingly large country houses - all with impressive "extra" buildings.
This North Yorkshire farmhouse first. Which has possibly some of the dullest photography I've seen but is handsome regardless.
Hollins Grove Farm house is Grade II listed, has four bedrooms, comes with masses of period details, outbuildings, pretty views and threequarters of an acre of garden land. Here's that rather useful-looking outbuilding/holiday let...

It's in the North Yorkshire village-cum-town of Easingwold, about 13 miles from York and close to the A19.
That location means we're looking at a rather hefty mark-up compared to similar properties in  Ireland, at offers over £495k.
Realistically, that plus the cost of renovations, means you're going to need around £threequarters-of-a-million stashed under the mattress to do Hollins Grove justice. But, as Gabrielle would say...

On the market through Williamsons. Details and more pictures here and on Zoopla here.
Also Grade II listed and also in North Yorkshire is Castle Hill farmhouse. Castle Hill, in Burton in Lonsdale, is also half the price at £250k and has double the bedrooms (eight, more-or-less).

Gorgeous period details. Oh my - those windows...

And sticking with the outbuildings theme, this has to be the most gorgeous one ever.
Now THAT is a wo/man shed!

The views down Burton in Lonsdale High Street are pretty cool too.

On the downside, Castle Hill is a semi, not detached, and access for vehicles is down a shared drive and over your neighbour's land.
The 0.2 acres-ish of garden land you get comes with a proviso that you put up and maintain a stock-proof fence - but then this isn't the sort of house you take on if you don't know your Phillips from your flat-head.
Castle Hill was sent to me by reader Dawn, who has already bought her wreck but "can't help looking", and is on the market through WBW Surveyors. Details (lots more) here And finally, and should you still be thinking about splashing £450k on a country manor, try splashing your cash on a mansion in Wales.

Plas Geler is in the village of Pentrecwrt, Carmarthenshire and overlooks the Teify Valley. Its outbuildings are actually wrecks but Plas Geler's add-on building is a gorgeous three-bedroom coach house.

The main house has six bedrooms and a bunch of other rooms (have I mentioned the wine cellar yet?) The whole lot is surrounded by three acres of (overgrown) land, with a gated private drive, woodland, and a "small cave".

Basically, it's gorgeous. And there's a lot of it. But if I did happen to have that £three-quarters-of-a-million stuffed under my mattress, I know which house I'd buy... Plas Geler is on the market through Dai Lewis. Details, more pictures and plans here.
And.... while we're in the area of Llandysul, reader Angus emailed to let me know that the Llandysul wreck I featured last year, here, is back/still on the market.
All that appears to have happened to the Henllan house, wrote Angus, "is that it's been attacked." : (
It's on the market with Dai Lewis at offers around £135k. Details here.