Beautiful barn conversion near Shotley Bridge is spacious and secluded; Located on a secluded development a mile from Shotley Bridge, High Waskerly Farm is one of six properties created from a former farm and buildings.
Second time around proved lucky for property professional Doug Ellison who ended up living in his dream home -- after passing up the opportunity of developing the site where the barn conversion is located.
Doug, who shares the rural home with partner Chris and their daughter Katie, explained: "We've lived in the house since it was converted in 1993. It was on the market first two or three years before as a conversion, for someone to do themselves, and I did look at it then but decided it was too big a project. It was a massive job, it was a wreck and I was too busy to think about taking it on.
"Someone else bought the development and did it up which really was an ideal solution as the first time we walked in and looked at it, I said, 'I love it, I want to buy it'. Which probably wasn't the best thing to say in front of someone selling a house in terms of negotiation but that was the way it happened.
"Both the property and location attracted me. It's a beautiful location out in the countryside with nice views and the house itself is spacious, it was just the sort of house we loved."
High Waskerly Farm is one of just six properties in the secluded development, created from a former farm and buildings a mile from Shotley Bridge and with a Durham postcode although it is actually in Northumberland.
Doug, who works in property management, said: "Shotley Bridge school just had a very good Ofsted but with being in Northumberland, Katie went to Whittonstall First School, Corbridge Middle and Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham. And the bus picks the kids up at the door which is excellent. Katie's gone to school by the school bus every day and it has been great.
"And Chris shops in the supermarkets in Consett. They're the handiest, but she also goes into Hexham sometimes."
The spacious house has four bedrooms and three reception rooms, including an original gin-gan, which is Doug's favourite room and one he also uses as his office: "It's about 28ft in diameter, it's a big room. I spend a lot of time in there. It's an excellent room for parties. We've had a few over the years, 40th, 50th, 60th.
"Actually my sister-in-law lives just a mile away but when she had her 40th she decided she was going to have it in our house because her place wasn't really big enough for the numbers she had invited. The good thing for us was that she came and helped us decorate as she wanted it spic and span for her do.
"The room has the original beam still, which has been restored. The rest of the timberwork is new but the massive beam is still there. It's a room that, to be quite honest, we hardly used for best part of 15 years. But we put a woodburner in and I work from home and now I use the room and have done for the past 10 years. We use it all the time, it's now my office as well as a lounge."
The house is Listed -- Doug isn't sure why but thinks the presence of a gargoyle outside the back door may be the reason -- and has lovely views of the Derwent Valley. Despite being the first owners from new, the Ellisons have carried out quite a few improvements.
"We put secondary glazing in, solid oak flooring downstairs, a new bathroom upstairs and two woodburners. As well as in the gin-gan we have a little one in the small lounge which also has a back boiler on and gives us all our hot water. Plus there are two immersion heaters for the summer when it's too hot to light the woodburner -- an instant immersion and one that works on off-peak electricity."
He and Chris have also made great improvements to their large garden, with a long beech hedge and lots of shrubs put in, along with a patio and pond with waterfall.
Doug said: "We're staying in the area but downsizing. We won't be going too far from where we are now. I was born in Blackhill and never really been away, apart from college in Stoke. I've always lived in the area."