Barn Conversion, East Sussex
“We’d had the barn for a long time and only ever used it for storage. Lots of people had mentioned to me that it would make a nice conversion and that if I didn’t do it, then whoever eventually bought my house would. So, I thought I would do it myself, to make sure it was lovely.
“My daughter-in-law first found Vernacular Homes online and they seemed to have a lot of experience with barns, so my son got in touch and they sent someone round to look at the site. When someone from Vernacular Homes came to visit, I was so impressed both with his interest in the project and his knowledge of barn conversions. My son then got in touch with Trevor to discuss the business side of the project and again, he too was really impressed. I was told by friends that I should really get some more quotes but there wasn’t anyone comparable in my mind; they were just so nice and it felt ‘right’.
“I had strong ideas about some of the things I wanted; for example, I wanted a beautiful staircase that looked out onto the garden. But they came up with some lovely ideas too, such as installing a balcony on the first floor so I could see down to the first floor. Also, their suggestion to insulate on the outside of the house was such a good idea. I really wanted to be able to see the beams and this allowed me to do that. They asked me if I’d like to keep some beams in the bathroom which were originally due to be removed; I’m so glad they did as I kept them and it’s honestly the most beautiful bathroom I’ve ever seen.
“There was a marvellous ‘can do’ feeling about the build; no question of ‘We can’t do that because of such-and-such’. Everything that I was keen to do or have was considered. On the rare occasion that a request wasn’t possible, the reason why was explained to me and I understood. Also, the builders came up with good ideas of their own, for example: the conversion of space in the ceiling into two, very necessary, cupboards.
“The driveway was the closest I came to upset; when the council initially refused to allow me a private driveway, I nearly lost it! It was so important to me as I know what issues a shared driveway can cause and I just didn’t want any potential problems with neighbours in the future. I got in touch with Trevor and he told me to leave it with him. Within a day, he’d spoken to the council and sorted it all out by suggesting adding a vehicle turning point. I was so grateful. He has so much experience and good relationships with the planners, he just knew exactly how to speak with them and solve the problem.
“I can honestly say there wasn’t anybody who worked for them who wasn’t excellent. I think their painter was the best I’ve seen. And the whole team always talked me through everything and were lovely to speak to – I actually enjoyed having them here!“
“In the three years I’ve lived here (since 2020) nothing has gone wrong. My favourite thing about the barn is when I sit in the main open area downstairs and look out; I have huge French windows on one side and smaller windows on the other side to see the field and my garden – it’s just fabulous.”
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