We are a pretty normal family. I am a retired doctor now with three decades of experience in building homes as a non-professional. My wife, Gillian, had a career in economic development and is now a textile artist. We have three daughters, none of whom had been born when we embarked on our property renovation journey and were toddlers or very young children during most of the projects. They are now either in (or hopefully soon going into) gainful employment and we hope they will no longer be plundering our bank account for university support.
I was working full-time during our projects and Gillian was either pregnant or a full-time mum with our daughters; it is perfectly possible to succeed with a project and work full time simultaneously. Working as a team I would do a morning brief and evening debrief while Gillian dealt with questions when I was working in hospital. We project-managed most of the builds ourselves with intermittent advice from relevant experts, builders and other tradespeople.
The names of the various buildings will become clear as you read the book. Today we (Gillian and I) are now firmly ensconced in our farmhouse. We outgrew the mill, an early project, and sold it a few years ago. The barn, which started life as a large entertaining room, is now a separate rental property, as is the byre; both are paying for themselves well.
It has been a great journey and I hope I can pass on some of our experiences and make the beauty of many older buildings accessible to more people.
I wish you well in your travels!
Outside of the cow byre, a wonderful playground. Don’t tell Health and Safety!
20 years later, they still cost as much!