My Dad inherited a large period property from his uncle, we had hoped maybe one day we would have enough money to make it a proper home again. I look back now and understand that would probably never have happened. Sustaining that the kind of lifestyle in these big old houses, is as likely as winning the lottery.
Usually families are forced to open them up to the public for cream teas, weddings and events. But, then really - is it really still your home? Ultimately we did sell, (but thankfully to the best people possible) The Pig Hotel.
For those of you that don’t know, The Pig “Restaurant & Rooms” center themselves around a delicious kitchen garden experience. They have made it possible for people to stay in trendy country hotels at affordable prices, and the wonderful thing for us is that the he architectural integrity of each house has not been compromised.
The walled garden (where we were married last year) will once again supply fresh produce for the restaurant. They have a policy to source additional fresh produce from within a 25 mile distance from each Pig hotel providing support for the local economy.
Most of the really nasty work has already been done. The house was in a sorry state a few decades ago. It was once declared ‘past saving’ by an architect shortly after the second world war. Thanks to my Dad and great uncle Pat it has survived, they did a huge amount of work to secure the building’s structure. What’s left is the job of finishing it off and turning it once more into a grand country house. We didn’t have to sell, we could have kept it and muddled our way though. But with the complications and risk of IHT - it just isn’t all that simple to pass down property anymore.
I’ve been obsessed with interiors since I was very little - one of my oldest memories was the day we had to stand up at school and say a few words about who and what we wanted to do when we were older. Me, I wanted to be a world famous interior designer! I spent my days playing in our old treasure-filled period home. So many of my favourite toys had been passed down from generation to generation - the things I held dear even then were many years older than me.
Fast forward some 30 years and what are the chances that Judy Hutson (one of today’s greatest interior designers) would buy our old house! I thought, I might as well grab this opportunity while it’s in front of me. Pick her brains, embrace the renovation and tell you guys about the ups and down along the way.
My husband and I are both working with them throughout the project. They hope to open in Autumn 2019. Apparently once they have planning permission approved, they don’t hang about.
“An Honest Goodbye” from my Dad.
I’m lucky we had something that made saying goodbye so hard
We have known and lived at Harlyn House for many years & know how much effort & expense is involved in its restoration & maintenance. I remind myself that sometimes you will miss the memories, not the place. And that we have so much more to look forward to in the next chapter of life.