Farm cottages have always been incredibly popular with holidaymakers looking to escape the stresses of urban life. The image of a farmhouse with a beautiful kitchen, the smell of fresh bread, and a few tractors in the field is one that encourages a lot of holidaymakers to book a rustic farm cottage or stylish barn conversion.
With the help of cottages.com, hundreds of farmers and landowners have turned to holiday letting as an additional source of income. And, with the popularity of farm cottage holidays increasing, there's never been a better time to take the plunge.
Regional Manager, Chris Otty, got involved in the project in the early stages and it was instantly obvious just how huge the potential was on the farm.
The owners of Ash Farm were faced with a difficult decision on how to generate extra income from their family business. They could either persist with traditional sources of agricultural income by selling crops and livestock, or they could seek additional profits by converting their unused barns into desirable holiday cottages.
While the second of these options was challenging, it was one that the cottages.com team were delighted to help with. Regional Manager, Chris Otty, got involved in the project from the early stages and it was instantly obvious just how huge the potential was on the farm. The Granary was Ash Farm's first property to be completed, and was so successful that it lead to the successful build of The Loft, The Old Dairy and several others.
Planning permission. After lengthy planning negotiations, permission was granted and Ash Farm’s first holiday property – The Granary – was opened in 2010
Maintaining the charm and character. With such extensive renovation work it was always likely to be difficult to maintain the existing charm and character of the property – like the exposed beams and wooden floors – but keeping them in place provided a ‘skeleton’ to build around in order to blend the traditional farmhouse with modern interior design
Keeping the farmhouse appeal. Similarly, the property was in-demand because it was a farm building. By renovating the barn and turning it into a holiday home, the owners didn’t want to lose the appealing features like the high ceilings, the open-plan rooms and the views over the fields
Easy access. Farms are not typically designed to be easily accessible for every possible guest and this needed factoring in with the renovations. The owners needed to ensure that it was accessible for disabled holidaymakers and that there was adequate access for family vehicles and not just tractors!
Getting the property advertised. As busy full time farmers, the owners of Ash Farm use cottages.com to secure and handle bookings for their holiday lets.
The owners needed to ensure that it was accessible for disabled holidaymakers and that there was adequate access for family vehicles and not just tractors!
A 17th Century, grade 2 listed building, The Barn Reborn has been completely renovated and turned into a highly desirable farm property owned by Richard and Susan Wakeford. The couple bought a beautiful former farmhouse in Winchcombe in the Cotswolds, which came with the ruins of a barn out in the yard.
Having been destroyed by fire in the 1960s, the timber-framed barn required two-and-a-half years of planning permission negotiations and some serious graft from the builders and craftsmen involved, but today it is a charming one-bedroom property with a mixture of old and new features. The challenges to turn this fire-damaged barn into a holiday home included:
Severe fire damage. Obviously, the fire had completely destroyed the majority of the barn leaving little more than a few bricks, soil floors and a few of the solid oak beams in the roof
Planning permission. As it was originally a farm property, serious planning negotiations were required in order to convert the property into a holiday home – and of course there were a number of factors that needed discussing to ensure that it fitted in with building regulations, such as maintaining its character and heritage
Removing the entire floor. The first thing that needed doing was to completely remove the soil floor in preparation for a modern concrete base incorporating underfloor heating
A complete rebuild. A normal barn conversion would at least have the skeleton of a property that could be transformed into a holiday home. With the barn in Winchcombe, however, it was agreed that the best approach was for the planners to work on a complete rebuild with an original photograph dating back to the 1940s proving valuable in establishing the shape and size of the barn
Interior design. Of course, the final piece of the jigsaw was the interior design element. A barn conversion needs to remain true to its roots in order to maintain that rural character that attracts so many guests. Exposed beams, high ceilings, large stoves and comfortable furniture are all essentials – as are solid floors either in the form of oak floorboards or tiles depending on the room
The first thing that needed doing was to completely remove the soil floor in preparation for a modern concrete base incorporating underfloor heating
Today, the property has a high-ceilinged kitchen, solid oak furniture, beautifully engineered oak floorboards and a gorgeous stove in keeping with any farmhouse design. It just shows that anything can be achieved with a barn conversion and that it can still remain true to its farmhouse look and feel.