Seven barn conversions for seven buyers who want the North Norfolk lifestyle
Being an agricultural county, we are still seeing plenty of barns coming up for sale but this development is really special because the buildings are on the Holkham estate. Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit Chalk Hill Farm Barns, Warham, near Wells-next-the Sea, for sale from guide prices ranging from £475,000-£1.25 million with Jackson-Stops.
The challenge with barn conversions is you need to have a good imagination. Essentially, they are a like a new home but in an old building - in this case, some fabulous late 18th century-early 19th century brick and flint barns with pantiled roofs. People love them because the space is undefined - but of course, they only really come to life when they do have furniture and possessions, otherwise, they are large empty spaces and you need to focus on the original features and the finish.
I have to say, with these particular barns, and there are seven - and I was walked around all seven on a very cold and windy day, (one of the very few bad weather days we've had for months,) I still felt inspired.
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For a start, you are on prime north Norfolk turf, at Warham, on the doorstep of Wells-next-the-Sea, and secondly, they are the product of a partnership between Holkham, which over recent years has embarked on a programme of diversification, selling off some of its barns both for residential and commercial use, and Bryan Williams, a very well respected barn developer with 20 years experience. I have written about many of his barns before and know he goes the extra mile in his conversions.
For example, some of the features you can see in these barns are a very clever funelling of light. He has taken what would originally have been slit barn windows, just enough for ventilation and although they make lovely original features, they don't really bring in enough light for residential living. So, Bryan has, in some instances, widened the opening and then curved the walls either side inside which really channels the light into a room. Where you do have a slit window, he has created beautifully bespoke, bevelled shutters that cover over them. This can be seen particularly in the four bedroom Stable Yard which has a large kitchen/breakfast room with an in-built pantry, another additional feature you will see in some of the conversions, taking something home owners love about big period houses, and adding it in.
Other features I like about this developer is the fact he tries to use up space - instead of leaving difficult corners and areas, he creates storage out of them and even the outside meter has a beautifully hand-made wooden cupboard door over! He also understands the love of anything original - so has incorporated some absolutely beautiful big oak doors into many of the conversions which originated from the estate. However, as you might expect, these conversions come with lots of contemporary features too and everything is absolutely high spec - so you have bespoke painted wooden, fitted kitchens in gorgeous shades of teal and blue and bathrooms with limestone tiled floors and painted windows as well as CAT 6 cabling along with uplighters and downlighters...all to ensure everything is in place for a high end, modern lifestyle.
The seven barns come with imaginative names reflecting their agricultural heritage and range from Knights Yard (1150 sqft), Galloway (1123 sqft) and Wagon House (1380 sqft) all with two bedrooms, The Calf Shed (1865 sqft) with three bedrooms, Horse Yard (2631 sqft) with five bedrooms, Stable Yard (2783 sqft) with four bedrooms and Hay Barn (2864 sqft with a 476 sqft annexe) with five bedrooms altogether. Outside, there is parking for all the conversions and currently the driveways are being finished so will look really smart for the launch.
There is real versatility here - conversions which are large enough for permanent living but of course they do make ideal second homes for those rich enough to afford it and are ideally located. However, these have all the little detail and features to make them proper homes for people to live in all the year around, suited to those downsizing, perhaps, or those wanting to live that coastal life without the worry of maintaining a large house with lots of gardens.
An open weekend is being held on Saturday, August 4 at 10am to 2pm by appointment only. Please contact Jackson-Stops in the Burnham Market office on 01328 801333.