Grand Designs Revisited

The story so far...

Romantic visionary VP has found the house of her dreams - a large, isolated stone-built cottage with over 2 acres of land. It's affordable (just) assuming the auction doesn't go that far above the guide price. However, it's a 'project' (i.e. lots of work) and NAH isn't fully aware of how badly VP would like to live there. Can she persuade NAH the cottage is his dream too?

Now read on...

We've been to see the house! Just on the outside and in the pouring rain. To my eyes it's even lovelier in the flesh than it is looking at the catalogue or on-line. There's so much potential and it's just about liveable in. All sorts of possibilities are going round my head re the land. Most of it is southerly facing and in a long rectangle - lots of garden rooms, possibly a small holding, all the apple trees I could shake a stick at. I make encouraging noises to NAH like 'you could have that workshop you've always wanted dear' and 'remember when we were in Cromford and you said you'd like to convert that barn?', but so far he's being Mr Practical, as usual. 'How will we finance it?', 'we can't sell our house just like that, not in the current climate' are his replies. And bah, he's right - I'm used to us not having a mortgage and it's taking a rather special place to make me contemplate having one again.

So I'm going to use a little psychology in the next round. I reckon if I show him a 'project' that's loads more work than the house we've just looked at, it'll make the one I like seem a viable prospect. So I'm going to show him this:

It makes me laugh every time I look at it.


  1. You will just have to keep on working on him VP and maybe a visit to Broad Town could do the trick. 40 years - talk about a long term project ! I would love to know the story behind that neglected not quite yet a house.

  2. Seriously... reverse psychology is a smart move. We're with Anna though... really wonder what's up with that other property you found. Completely intriguing to us.

  3. great move VP! The really scary thing is, I quite like the look of that half-built 40s house too... maybe my hubby might take the bait... NOT!!

    Ah wish I had room for a smallholding and a big garden. In the proper countryside, too. the psychology isn't just working on your hubby, you know, have pity on us out here in semi-suburbia...!

  4. Do you think that means someone has been living in a half built house for 40 years? Or just (!) that they had more money than sense and abandoned it?

    Good luck with the project ... there's a lesson in here for all of us


  5. TIp for you if you haven't already.
    No VAT on building a house from scratch, whereas there is on restoration. This means you need to do all your calculations taking into account a 20% discount if you just knocked it down and started again. xxx
    PS i have the best Polish builder now he came super highly recommended from Joe Swift. I bet he would do it for you - he has built a house in Wales before

  6. Let your place out - that should finance any mortgage you need to raise on the new place?

    Once new place is habitable, hopefully housing market is normalising, and sell old place thus paying off mortgage too?


    Hope you get your dreams, just takes a degree of insanity and risk and lots of hard graft and callouses!

    Go for ir M!


  7. Agree with Zoe - rent your house out to finance the work. Go for it - you will only regret it if you dont and if its meant to be its meant to be.

  8. Hi VP, this is great and also so exciting. When will you show us a photo of the dream property? I am conjuring those garden rooms in my head, a dream I have always held and not doable on a steep slope. Obviously hubby doesn't read your blog! Mine either. We can write any of our devious plans online and never be caught, like whispering a secret to a special friend. I like Zoe's idea of the rental too. Sorted! We are with you in spirit and will await the next installment on the edge of our lazyboys!

  9. Buy the one with no roof and you will be my neighbour! Wooton is supposedly the most partiotic town in Britain!

  10. Oh those dreaded practicalities! I have confidence that dreams will prevail...they have to sometimes! It sounds like you have a plan in mind...just keep on it, but gently...You have to work the soil, plant the seeds and occasionally add some more compost! Then water when necessary...


  11. Yes, yes, do it, VP!!! If the roof doesn't leak, the plumbing works, and you have some means of warmth, it will be so worth it. We've certainly found that to be true, even though our roof does leak (around the skylight and chimney, when the rain blows in from a certain direction), the plumbing can be hideously temperamental, and we keep cranking down the heat and piling on more clothes to try to hold down costs. But we love our cottage home and believe every single sacrifice was worth it! We'll be waiting for future installments with bated breath.

  12. I think Zoe has a great idea! Become a landlord and let the renters of the house you own pay your mortgage on the new place :) There's just that little matter of finding good renters....

  13. Anna - I'd love to know the story too. It's most intriguing!

    Guyz - haha! I almost said reverse psycjology but you got there first!

    CG - so do I. But what gets me is the description makes it sound like what's there is a vaiable building, when I'm sure it's really a building plot we're looking at

    Joanna - if we were in Greece, it might just be a possibility as I seem to recall there's a lot of half-built places there to take advantage of planning law or something. However we're not :( There's something peculiar going on with the site that's for sure

    Emmat - I'd forgotten about that! I suspect starting from scratch is even more of a stretch for NAH though. I'll keep your Polish Builder in mind, just in case...

    Zoe - I've been thinking along those lines myself.

    PG - too right, let's see what happens eh?

    Frances - I'm leaving it as a final reveal when I know the outcome for this story. And you're right, NAH doesn't read this. I like your idea about friends whispering! :D

    SOL - aha! I'd got you earmarked for the Swindon side of things!

    Gail - you are so right. Especially where NAH is concerned. It's been like that ever since I've known him.

    OFB - I think there is a roof leak, but fairly minor. There's heating too - but working heating may be another matter. Though I do like the look of the wood burning stove - that makes me warm just thinking about it!

    Amy - you're reading NAH's mind aren't you?!

  14. Oh my god VP !!!
    I have missed this whole episode of what you are scheming .. no DREAMING about girl !!!
    You know how I love British shows .. gardening, renovating .. DR. WHO !!
    And now this may be a real time real life episode(s) of "Escaping to the Country" ? .. title may not be right .. brain fried yet again.
    I think this would be fantastic !
    I know you can convince the boys ? hubby and all ? LOL
    Wow .. I am glued to THIS channel now girl : )

  15. Ooh, you are clever, VP! Just so NAH doesn't decide the half-built house is his idea of a dream project:)

  16. Joy - yes it's a real Escape to the Country! There's been a couple of episodes filmed around here too.

    Rose - actually that's quite likely, the barn in Cromford was derelict!

  17. Oh dear, I'm going through similar It does, however, have 4 other buildings ;)

  18. Primrozie - welcome! Looks like I need to come to you for some hints and tips then ;)

  19. Sorry I didn't check back for comments VP! Well, in my part of the world it's getting harder and harder to get financing. We would absolutely need to have a plan for earning an income on our farm. It's possible, we just never did it before so we're approaching it as a business plan to see if we could live off of it with part time jobs besides.

  20. Hi Primrozie - thanks for checking back! As you say financing gets harder. I'll do an update post about this soon.


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