It is more than 30 years ago that I used to stare out of the bathroom window of my childhood home while brushing my teeth and thinking “I’m going to live in that barn one day”. In those days it was only 20 years old, had been designed as a small residential dwelling (disguised as a barn), but had been abandoned following irresolvable wrangles with the planning authorities. There were, for some years, a couple of donkeys living in the field and small outbuilding, and even a small herd of pigs to irritate the neighbours at one point! As time went on the weeds and brambles took over and it began to look as though the barn would remain hidden away much like Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
On returning from an exciting couple of years in Australia with a new fiancé I once again began dreaming of the potential home the barn could become. It was not to be. Planning regulations stipulated that properties not falling within a village boundary would not be granted residential permission. However, as luck would have it my father’s career changed direction at this time and he found himself looking for some office premises close to home. He was able to persuade the then owner of the barn to part with it while taking a chance that the authorities would be supportive of local business. It was a well judged risk. He was granted permission to use part of the barn as an office and spent a few happy years there.
Fast forward to 2014 and the perfect combination of my father’s retirement, my parents’ downsizing and move from the family home, my endless wheedling them for the opportunity to buy a base in the UK, and ‘tadddahhh’ the barn was ours!
The last year and a half have been spent conveyancing, making planning applications and finding an architect to work with. So now, it begins!