Shovelling wet concrete on one of the hottest days of the year is something Marie McIntosh will never forget about her property renovation project.
And it is exactly this sort of memory and many more like it that Marie, 52, and husband Iain, 61, will take away with them, having project managed their barn conversion from design through to completion.
Marie said: “When we bought the property it was derelict and needed redesigning. We wanted to keep an eye on the work, so we moved into a caravan on site for six months.”
Of course, the work didn’t just stop at project managing for the couple, who already had plenty of experience transforming similar properties in the past.
Marie said: “Iain is a civil engineer by trade so he had the knowledge to take on the work. We’d already transformed a number of homes in the past, so the work didn’t phase us. Shovelling concrete on one of the hottest days of the year was definitely an experience for me however!”
But 14 years later, the finished home is something Marie and Iain can be proud of. With their friends describing its warmth as ‘a home that hugs you on arrival.’
With its Grade II listed status, Marie and Iain have worked tirelessly with local planning officers to ensure restoration work on the two-storey home was sympathetic, retaining as many original features as possible.
Marie said: “It’s almost like a Tardis. People don’t realise how big it is until they step inside. It’s very deceptive.”
The barn’s stone feature entrance lobby leads into a twisting split-level hallway which opens out into the drawing room with its cathedral ceiling. The drawing room has magnificent views over the south-facing gardens and countryside beyond it. The room features a stone inglenook fireplace and opens into the dining room.
Marie said: “We are keen skiers and we drew our inspiration for the drawing room from a holiday cabin we once stayed in. It’s just fabulous at Christmas with the smell of the logs burning. We’ve always had everyone here at Christmas. It’s going to be a real wrench to leave the house really, but we have to move on.”
The property has a potential five bedrooms, though with their children having flown the nest, Marie and Iain have been using some of the rooms for other purposes.
The master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with a stunning double bath.
“We have kept as many of the original features as we can. The old forge pot is now a water feature in the garden, and alongside it is the old blacksmith’s anvil.
“Inside, we’ve kept all the traditional elements, but it also has a modern, more contemporary theme running through it. I like to think that it blends the expected with the unexpected well,” Marie added.
The property’s characterful beamed ceilings and 2ft thick stone walls are a reminder of its past, while more modern elements shine through such as the sleek black granite worktops in the kitchen and NEFF touch sensor hob and double oven. There is also a spiral cast-iron staircase which leads from the drawing room to the gallery upstairs.
Marie said: “The drawing room is probably Iain’s favourite because of its beautiful views, while I love the kitchen, it’s so homely with the AGA. It’s definitely the heart of the home for us.”
And the barn really does offer the best of both worlds, having the countryside on the doorstep, while being only a few minutes away from Shotley Bridge with its shops. There are also good schools close by, while the Metrocentre is about a 30-minute drive away.
Marie, who has two children, Dee-anne and Phillip, said: “Friends have asked us why we are moving, but it’s because we want to move closer to our children and grandchildren who are in Essex. We certainly wouldn’t turn down the prospect of another renovation project though, although down south it may be harder to find one, especially one like this.”
The Forge, High Waskerley Farm, Shotley Bridge, Consett, County Durham is for sale at £575,000 through Your Move Chris Stonock, tel: 0191 386 2070.