homemaker featured property - 7 September 2013

This week's featured property is ideal for someone looking for somewhere steeped in history

 

Roger and Elizabeth Miket’s period home is certainly no run of the mill abode.

Having spent years renovating their two detached Grade II Listed buildings – the Mill , formerly a corn mill, and the Miller’s House – Roger and Elizabeth have breathed new life into a piece of history.

The couple are passionate about their home. Roger, an archaeologist described it as being “one of the most complete archaeological sites” he has ever worked on. And his love for it was the key to success, inspiring him to retain as many original features as he could.

When Roger and his wife first caught sight of the Miller’s House in Wooler, Northumberland, in the 1970s it was, he recalled “in a derelict state” .

Situated on the edge of the Northumberland National Park, the house and mill are on a secluded site at the foot of the Cheviots.

Roger and Elizabeth have made significant alterations to both buildings over the years.

Moving in, undeterred they began to make it their home, discovering its many secrets, and unearthing a little piece of the past everywhere they went.

Roger said: “I bought the house in 1976, then the mill 10 years later. The roof was collapsing and it needed new frames and new joists. It became a real labour of love with me doing the groundwork and Elizabeth mixing cement, repointing and adding the final touches.”

Roger admits he has devoted much of his life to preserving the mill’s legacy. “But,” says Roger, “I believe you only ever have custodianship of a property like this, you curate them and dress them out for your brief management of them, then you hand them on to others who paint their own lives within the walls.”

The three-bedroom Miller’s House with its stable door entrance, has been upgraded and extended throughout over the years. There is a breakfasting kitchen with cast-iron kitchen range and quarry-tiled floor, living/dining room with exposed trusses and pointed stone walls, three bedrooms, one with a large stone fireplace and cast iron solid fuel stove, a bathroom and even a sauna.

Roger said: “The property is idyllic, it offers such flexible living accommodation with around three and a half acres of land. I added the sauna a couple of years ago after a visit to Finland.

“I suppose my favourite room is the sitting room as it has great views over the Cheviots and it’s very bright and airy. We also get a lot of wildlife in the garden too, from roe deer to woodpeckers, owls and stoats.”

And Roger’s wide range of wall hangings are among the unusual attractions of the house today.

“I’d been stripping wallpaper and as I soaked it in a bucket, I realised that there were nine layers all together, I decided to make a wall hanging out of this and it will be sold with the house,’ said Roger. “The sale will also include paintings of the mill over the years.”

Roger’s eagerness to share his home with others keeps it alive and a little bit mysterious. He has even written a book about how the mill’s predecessor was razed by the Scots in 1313 during the Border Wars with England. The book forms a guide for visitors who stay in The Mill, which is used as a self-catering holiday let.

Yearle Mill is a three-storey, seven-bedroom building with corn-drying kiln. The Miller’s House, meanwhile, is a characterful two-storey detached home.

The rural site includes a range of outbuildings, a former cart shed, pony shed, pig pens, together with a paddock and large pond.

Roger, 64, has also recaptured some of the enchantment by restoring original features within the mill such as the water wheel, apple-toothed gearing which is a feature of the open-plan dining room and two milling stones which are a unique feature in one of the bedrooms. Additional features include timber sash-and-case Yorkshire windows.

The allure that Roger felt when he first saw the Mill and its gardens is still there and brings to life the imagination of all who visit the property.

Roger, who met his wife while working for Tyne & Wear Museums, said: “It certainly works its magic on people. It gives you the feeling of stepping back in time. The properties have huge potential and would ideally suit anyone who wants to leave the rat race behind and escape to the countryside. It would also suit anyone who is looking to retire and wants a little income too.

“Renovating the buildings has been an adventure for us and when we look at certain rooms we often say to each other, ‘can you remember when we did that?’ The house is filled with memories and we are happy to be passing them on.”

But far from slowing down, Roger and Elizabeth are now planning another project. Roger said: “Our friends have a barn which we are going to convert into a home. It’s not too far from here, so we’re happy to be staying in the area.”

The properties are for sale through Rook Matthews Sayer, tel: 01665 510044, and Sanderson Young, tel: 01665 600170. The price is £325,000 for the Miller’s House and £350,000 for The Mill.

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