Friday, 23 December 2011

Christchurch, Welshpool, Powys

Karl emailed me to tell me about the absolutely stunning church (above) that he and his family have spent the last eight years renovating.
The story of that Herculean task is told here, in Karl and Natalie's excellent blog.
He emailed: "Came across your blog quite by accident, it's very good and makes interesting reading. Your site would have been great - we could have found a more manageable project." (At this point I would insert one of those blushing emoticons except I don't know how...!)
Anyway, I'm hoping they'll let me pick their brains to put together an advice feature for WOW readers similarly tempted by one of the many redundant churches for sale.
In the meantime, here's a quote from their blog - well worth reading as you digest your Xmas pud and dream renovation dreams:
"We are often asked if we are experienced builders or architects. We are not but we are keen learners and hard workers and it’s amazing what you can achieve just by getting on with it. Every little thing we do achieve here helps this building's cause. We work with integrity, and try our best to do the right thing by this building, as we are only custodians."
Merry Christmas Karl, Natalie, Owen, Fred and Victor - may 2012 bring you more finished rooms!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Former hospital, Bonar Bridge, Sutherland

So I was having lunch in Harvey Nicks Leeds with my grown-up daughter and a friend from way, way back and we were talking about the cost of buying a house and how almost impossible it is nowadays for our younger children to buy their first home, and Sian (daughter) started talking about how families should buy bigger properties together and share them. Sort of communal living but with investment.
Olivia (friend) mentioned wills and what if one couple in the group split up, and we went back to concentrating on the six perfect starters we were sharing.
Anyway, a few days later I saw this property and fell in love with it. I thought of being to live there with our six children/step-children and having enough space and privacy for everyone to live their own lives and raise their own families, but get to know each other better as we grew older.
So, I emailed them all and told them to buy lottery tickets this weekend. Of course that failed.
I felt bad about not putting this beautiful building on WOW, so here it is. If you buy it, please don't tell me. Particularly if you turn it into yet another half-empty Scottish hotel or all-for-profit care home.
Migdale is a former hospital, built originally as a poorhouse in the 1860s and designed by Andrew Maitland. The Grade B listed property includes the big building you can see (plus a modern extension at the back) and the single-storey in the front of the picture. All sitting in around 1.85 acres of garden and land on the hillside above Bonar Bridge, with views across to the Kyle of Sutherland.
It will need turning back from a hospital into whatever you've got in mind and there's no planning permission in place as yet. It's on the market at offers over £350k through Bell Ingram.
More details on their site here.
Discover Bonar Bridge.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Have you bought a 'wreck'?

Renovating a wreck? Up to your elbows in mortar mix? Hair permanently dust-coloured? Do drop me an email and tell me how your project's going.
As well as putting wrecks for sale on WOW I'd like to be able to feature the inspiring people who take on turning a wreck into a home and share the lessons that you've learned with wreck 'newbies'.
I'm not talking Grand Designs-style "here's the challenge... here's a bit of conflict... here's a finished house", but sharing the day-to-day grind of spending every free minute dressed as Builder Bob's orphan cousin and doing your plumbing apprenticeship.via YouTube.
Sound like you? Tell me about it.
Sue x

PS: BBC Two's Restoration Home has been in touch recently and is keen to talk to owners working on restoring historic 'wrecks' - drop me an email if you that's you and you might be interested in being on the telly.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Buying property in Germany

Lawrence, one of Wreck of the Week's fans ("Happened across your site tonight and think it is great!") emailed to tell me about his search for a 'wreck' in Europe.
He believes he's stumbled upon a treasure trove of fabulous properties in Germany - cottages to castles - up for auction at incredibly low prices:
"I think Germany is the cheapest place in Europe for property and getting cheaper...I saw a Cotswold type cottage sell for 350 euros a couple of years back and Palaces, Castles and Manor Houses generally go for around 50,000"
He sent a link to the German auction site he uses (in English) and the picture above is his personal favourite, up for auction with a reserve price of 29,000 euro, in the catalogue, here (in German).
The process of buying property in Germany is not too different from buying in the UK, although fees and costs can be higher. There are useful guides here, here and here.
Thanks for the tip, Lawrence!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Closed churches for sale, England

Just a reminder (for anyone who hasn't read my page on buying public property) that the Church of England publishes its own list of closed churches available for sale.
Well worth a look. Among the current gems on offer on the Closed Churches List is:
St Mary the Virgin, on Foulness Island, Essex. Grade II listed on MOD-controlled island.
Sutton All Saints, Chelmsford. A lovely early 12th century, Grade II* listed church.
Bacup St Saviour, Manchester. Stunning old church in own grounds and one of three Manchester churches on the market through the same agents.
And Long Load Christ Church, Somerset - possibly the prettiest church on the list and pictured above.

Thinking of going further North? Here's my more recent post about buying Church of Scotland property.