Hellen Stephenson took just five months to revamp her rural Carron Valley farmhouse and cottage
Having been attracted by 24-acre Riverside Farm’s rural location, just west of Denny and about 10 miles from Stirling , Hellen could see the potential in the farmhouse and adjacent tin-roofed cow byre, which was transformed into today’s three-bedroom cottage. As soon as she had agreed to buy the property, Hellen began working on plans for the farmhouse with architect Adam Toleman of the Falkirk-based Arka Architects, and applied for planning permission for the alterations.
Hellen planned to live on site in a caravan during the work. “Living in a caravan over winter is never good, so I was trying to move things along as fast as possible,” she explains. Hellen also started sourcing materials and trade contacts at the outset.
Hellen and her team hit the ground running in July 2004, at which point the farmhouse was stripped back to its bare stone walls. The original walls in the single-storey section were in such poor condition that this part of the farmhouse had to be rebuilt.
From the beginning, Hellen wanted the house to have a better connection with its setting. “I wanted to keep the outside, from the front certainly, looking like a traditional Scottish farmhouse, while at the rear I wanted to bring the outside in by creating this glass corner onto the living room,” she explains. The single-storey section was extended to form the expansive dining-kitchen and this living room, with vaulted and beamed ceilings in both.
Natural materials have been used inside from the timber to the flagstone floors in the dining-kitchen and hallway. The internal doors and staircase were handmade in sycamore, and the same finish was used on the floors.
The painted timber kitchen was handmade to Hellen’s specification and the Aga creates a warm heart in the space.
Originally, the farmhouse had three bedrooms but Hellen altered the arrangement upstairs by turning the smaller of the bedrooms into a large bathroom while knocking out the existing bathroom to make a generous master bedroom. Both spaces have beamed, vaulted ceilings, and in the bathroom leftover beams were used to frame the large shower enclosure.
Hellen wanted a large rain shower and body jets, so a MEGAflo system was installed to ensure there was no loss of water pressure.
When work started on the house on 1 July 2004, Hellen told the joiner she wanted to move in on 1 December. “He said, ‘I don’t think we’ll need that long,’ as he thought I was talking about 1 December 2005!” she recalls. “I was meaning 2004.” Five months later in other words, during which time Hellen managed the project while living in the caravan.
Asked what has surprised her most about living here, Hellen credits the peacefulness of the house. “One of my friends dubbed the sofa in the living room as a therapy sofa, as you lie here and your stress seeps away,” she says.
“That’s what’s exceeded every expectation I had for the house: how comfortable it is to live here.” k
Offers in the region of £495,000; contact CKD Galbraith (01786 434 600, www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk)
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West