Take a tour inside this stunning £1.25 million barn conversion hidden in the Fens
- Credit: Aboda Fine Homes
Hidden in a quiet Fenland village is a £1.25 million barn conversion that was transformed by a Wisbech-born couple who “love bringing beautiful old buildings back to life” in the local area.
Tucked away in Newton-in-the-Isle, Naomi and her carpenter husband Terry Smith have transformed what was a “beautiful wreck” into a “rustic modern” mansion.
For the couple, who have been converting properties since the late 1980s, it’s been a case of starting small and working their way up.
They’ve gone from a three-bed semi-detached house in Walsoken to converting two barns and then building a £1.25 million home that you’d expect to see in Los Angeles rather than the Fens.
But instead of moving out of the Fens, the couple (who have two teenage sons aged 13 and 16) that swim for March Marlins, have always wanted to stay local.
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“We love the Fenland area, it’s really beautiful and peaceful,” Naomi considers.
“There are so many beautiful old buildings in the area and if we can bring them back to life, why not stop them from going to rack and ruin?”
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And although some family members have been understandably apprehensive - “my mum cried when we bought our first barn; she asked ‘why on earth are you doing that?’ - Naomi and Terry have “no regrets. You have to work hard but it’s worth it”.
Having previously converted two other barns across the Fens into their family home, the couple went into their latest project - in the tiny Fen village of Newton-in-the-Isle - with “a vision” in mind.
“When we pulled up and looked at the building from the gate at the bottom of the drive, we said ‘wow’. And that was when it was a mess!
“The people living next door were going to restore it, but Terry went and knocked on their door and soon after we made an offer.”
“We knew straight away what we wanted to do with it,” Naomi remembers, describing the original building as “a beautiful wreck”.
Steeped in history, the barn formerly belonged to a local farmer and was used for pigs, sheep and cattle.
“When we arrived, there were five geese living in the space where our walk-in fridge is,” she laughs.
Having spent seven years in a caravan while they were transforming the barn, which they’ve lived in for a further five-and-a-half-years, it’s been “quite a journey” for the couple.
While the house alone is more than 700 square metres and the grounds and gardens cover 2.3 acres, the open-plan layout creates a homely and welcoming atmosphere.
With five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a games room, snug room, one of the biggest dining room tables you’re likely to find, outside swimming pool and pool house, there’s plenty of room to host family and friends.
So much so that the couple held their silver wedding party a– whose style she describes as “rustic modern” - three years ago.
But rather than being just a modern mansion, there are plenty of hidden historic touches dotted throughout the house.
In the middle of the dining room table is a pig trough that belonged to Terry’s dad, who was a farmer in Friday Bridge, while the original barn window that was made by Perkins Peterborough is a periodic feature of the main bedroom’s walk-in wardrobe.
Now, though, the couple plan to move on to the next project - just a few miles down the road to Wisbech St Mary, where they have their eyes set on transforming another barn into a dream house.
“It will be our last chance, so if we’re going to it now is the right time... we just want the next challenge.”
The house is currently up for sale with ABODA Fine Homes.