Brian Page on the remarkable story of how a derelict eyesore became a beautiful country village home.
Picture the scene… You’ve arrived at the site of your potential new home. The first thing you see is a somewhat weary, well, in truth a totally exhausted, frontage.
Step through the creaking doors and look up to the sky – which you can see pressing down from huge holes in the roof.
Oh, and watch your step. The concrete floor is covered in a carpet of slick oil and dirt – and there are some great big pits waiting for the unwary to fall into.
At this point most sensible people would have taken to their heels – got back into their motor car and headed for the (nearby Howardian) hills.
David Sweeney, however, is made of sterner stuff… “I could see the potential,” he says. “It took a bit of imagination but, well, life is about having a bit of vision isn’t it?”
That potential, David’s vision, has been realised. The one-time semiderelict eyesore has become a stunning country village home, a wonderful, individual property with hidden nooks and character-filled crannies mixing with big spacious, light and airy rooms and contemporary kitchen and bathroom layouts.
And it is wrapped up in delightful gardens with plenty of sunny seating areas and lovely views of those aforementioned Howardian Hills.
“I’m quite pleased with how it has turned out,” David says, “although it wasn’t always an easy project.”
To be fair, David probably had a better insight than most into the building’s potential.
He had run a national shop and office fitting company for many years and was a partner in a bespoke joinery company, both of which will have given him an insight into interiors.
Even so, it was a brave move.
The original building had, as the name suggests, been a blacksmith’s shop for many years before being sold in 1944 when it became a commercial repair centre for agricultural vehicles and equipment.
David and his wife bought the shell a decade ago and spent a year building the vision.
Virtually all of the old building disappeared – except for the frontage and the gable ends – and a new home appeared under a new roof and with an extension to the rear, built with matching Hartoft stone trucked up from the old quarry.
There is now a trio of front-facing rooms, starting with the handsomely fitted kitchen, with a fine range of pine wall and base units giving it a comfortable cosy feel.
This flows through into a warm and welcoming dining room and then into a super snug or sitting room – a splendid spot with French doors opening onto a sunny courtyard area.
Then comes a spacious, stylish and wonderfully bright and light formal drawing room, with windows to two elevations and warmed by a log-burning stove in an Inglenook-style fireplace and tiled surround.
From the drawing room we move into the hallway, another spacious area boasting a solid oak staircase up to a wide landing.
The bedrooms are unusual and interestingly styled. No box rooms here, in any sense of the word; they are very much individual with lots of swoops and curves and while they have a cottagey feel there is certainly no lack of room, head or otherwise. The master bedroom is almost 18ft by 12ft and has a smart en-suite bathroom.
There are two more double bedrooms and a house bathroom.
There are nice views to be had from the upper floor – of the church and graveyard to the front and the far sweep of the Howardian Hills to the rear.
“Bulmer is a lovely village,” David says. “It’s very community minded, everyone mucks in. And who wouldn’t want to look at that every time you step out of your front door.”
By “that” he means the quite splendid St Martin’s Church, parts of which are believed to date back to the 1100s. And yes, it is the first thing you see when you look up from the driveway of the house.
So, then, a beautiful house in a beautiful spot. Thank goodness that, those ten years ago, David had the vision to see what most of could not…
The Old Blacksmith’s Shop, Bulmer
Reception rooms: 3 Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 2
Gardens: The house is wrapped up in a series of sunny sitting spots, lawned and gravelled areas, with raised flower beds and trees and shrubs
Wow factor: All round character-filled home in a superb country village location
Contact: our Move Anscombs Premier Phone: 01904 621532.