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Converts to country life.

Byline: ALISON JONES

DRAMATIC changes in the agricultural industry in the latter half of the 20th century meant that the large old buildings necessary to keep them functioning became redundant.

The great barns that had housed the hay bales, livestock or machinery lay empty and could have remained so, becoming increasingly ruinous in disuse. But they also offered an opportunity to people with aspirations of moving to the quiet of the country, and planners, eager to save them from further decay, were sympathetic to the idea of conversions.

Building regulations have tightened to prevent the early inferior conversions that used unsuitable fittings or put in too little insulation to cope with the size and height of the open plan rooms.

The best contemporary conversions combine luxury with modernity inside, while the integrity of their exteriors are protected so they remain harmonious with the rural surroundings.

The fact that most of them were made for different uses means they will have their own individual charm.

Some might even carry reminders of their former use incorporated into the new interior scheme.

Phelps Farm Barn at Stratford Bridge near Tewkesbury, was converted by the current owners six years ago.

Originally a threshing barn, the central threshing room has been transformed into a stunning double height drawing room with galleried sections on either side. There is a plentiful use of oak in the doors, floors and double glazed windows.

The property is in an L shape and starts with a large reception hall with oak floor and timbered ceiling, an area big enough to hold a guest cloakroom.

On the other side of the hall at the end of the L is a study with timbered ceiling.

The first of the reception rooms is a sitting room with large brick inglenook fireplace with oak lintel, flagstones and a wood burning stove.

A picture window offers a view over the paddocks.

Steps lead from the sitting room down to the through drawing room and dining room, dramatic space with its double height windows, vaulted ceiling and flagstone flooring with oak in the dining area.

The large breakfast kitchen has walnut work surfaces on the units and a china Belfast sink.

There is also a Rangemaster six ring gas and electrical cooker with extractor hood over, integral dishwasher and Travertine tiled floor.

The are twin stairs leading to first floor level flanking the drawing room.

There is a master suite and a guest suite at either end of the L, both with en suite shower rooms.

There are three other bedrooms in the centre which are served by a family bathroom with a slipper bath.

The property sits in 11.88 acres including five paddocks and an orchard with apple, pear and plum trees.

There is both breeze block and timber stabling and enough room to manoeuvre a horse box comfortably. Other outbuildings include workshops and open fronted covered bays for parking.

Landscaped lawns lie to the rear of the house, with flagstone terrace steps and dwarf walling leading to the second tier.

Phelps Farm Barn has a guide price of pounds 850,000 and is being sold by Halls. For more details call 01905 611066.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2010
Words:530
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