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Mother-of-two transforms former church into a luxury family home complete with a gym and bar

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An artistic mum has transformed a former 19th-century church into a dream family home with luxurious additions of a cosy bar in the garage and a home gym – adding £380,000 to the property value in one year. 

Mother-of-two Emily Barratt, 37, from Rochdale, purchased the eight-bed house in Middleton, Greater Manchester, which was cluttered with the previous owners’ items, in January 2020 for £470,000.

Although it was in a bad state, Emily, who is a pottery artist, saw potential in the building and set about renovating the house, doing the majority of the labour herself, and documenting the process on her Facebook page, Our Big Renovation.

In total, she spent around £95,000 fixing up the historic home and a recent valuation indicated it is now worth an astounding £850,000 – £380,000 more than it was purchased for.

Emily, who lives in the property with her husband and daughter Minnie, seven, and son Rory, six, took time away from work to focus full-time on the renovation while home-schooling the children. 

Before and after: Mother-of-two Emily Barratt, 37, purchased a former church in Middleton, Greater Manchester,  for £470,000 and transformed it into a dream family home (Pictured: The master bedroom before the renovation)
The master bedroom now features bright cream, with a statement floral wallpaper behind the bed, and added a plush beige carpet and a stand-alone bathtub (Pictured: The master bedroom after the renovation)

Before and after: Mother-of-two Emily Barratt, 37, purchased a former church in Middleton, Greater Manchester, for £470,000 and transformed it into a dream family home. Right: The master bedroom now features bright cream, with a statement floral wallpaper behind the bed, and added a plush beige carpet and a stand-alone bathtub 

Before: The kitchen was the most expensive room in the house to renovate and was originally fitted with dark flooring, wooden cabinets and cream tiles
After: It was given a complete modern overhaul, with a cream stone floor and matching walls to brighten it up, additional windows added and chic slate cabinets with white countertops

Although it was in a bad state, with rooms cluttered with the previous owners’ stuff, Emily, who is a pottery artist, saw potential in the building. The kitchen was the most expensive room in the house to renovate and was originally fitted with dark flooring, wooden cabinets and cream tiles (left). After: It was given a complete modern overhaul, with a cream stone floor and matching walls to brighten it up, additional windows added and chic slate cabinets with white countertops (right)

The artsy mum lives in the property with her husband and daughter Minnie, seven, and son Rory, six, (pictured together) and did the majority of the labour herself, documenting the process on her Facebook page, Our Big Renovation

The artsy mum lives in the property with her husband and daughter Minnie, seven, and son Rory, six, (pictured together) and did the majority of the labour herself, documenting the process on her Facebook page, Our Big Renovation

‘We lived in a very small cottage built in 1710 prior to this, so I was keen to have lots of space,’ she said.

‘I saw so much potential with this big, beautiful building that had such a lovely history, and thought it would make the perfect family home.’

But transforming the crowded property into the spacious, open-plan home of her dreams would require extensive renovations. 

After repairing leaks in the roof and fitting around 35 new windows, it was time to focus on aesthetic choices to make the home more in keeping with the family’s tastes.

Builders knocked the wall down between the kitchen and diner to create a large, open-plan kitchen-diner, as well as opening up a doorway to the room by knocking down a wall in the entrance hall.

In one year, she has transformed the former 19th-century church into a luxury property with additions of a cosy bar in the garage and a home gym. Pictured: A painting of the church as it looked originally

In one year, she has transformed the former 19th-century church into a luxury property with additions of a cosy bar in the garage and a home gym. Pictured: A painting of the church as it looked originally

In total, Emily spent around £95,000 fixing up the eight-bed historic home and a recent valuation indicated it is now worth an astounding £850,000 – £380,000 more than it was purchased for. Pictured: The exterior of the house now

In total, Emily spent around £95,000 fixing up the eight-bed historic home and a recent valuation indicated it is now worth an astounding £850,000 – £380,000 more than it was purchased for. Pictured: The exterior of the house now

Before: What was originally a dingy garage with exposed brick walls has been completely transformed into a large pub space.

Before: What was originally a dingy garage with exposed brick walls has been completely transformed into a large pub space.

After: The cosy red-brick bar comes complete with fully-stocked bar, atmospheric mood lighting and even a drum kit for live music

After: The cosy red-brick bar comes complete with fully-stocked bar, atmospheric mood lighting and even a drum kit for live music

The mum then set about plastering the ceilings – by herself – except for the ceiling in the master bedroom, which she pulled down to expose the original church beams.

After that, she focused her attentions on making the space perfect, tackling the property one room at a time.

The kitchen was the most expensive room in the house to renovate as the family purchased all new appliances. 

It was originally fitted with dark flooring, wooden cabinets and cream tiles and was given a complete modern overhaul, with a cream stone floor and matching walls to brighten it up, additional windows added and chic slate cabinets with white countertops.

The family bathroom is equally unrecognisable after the pink walls and old-fashioned three-piece suite was removed.

Emily added a statement floor of black, white and grey tiles, a stunning claw-foot tub, and a walk-in shower.

Prior to renovation, the bathroom had pale pink walls and an old-fashioned three-piece suite with dull floral curtains

Prior to renovation, the bathroom had pale pink walls and an old-fashioned three-piece suite with dull floral curtains

Emily added a statement floor of black, white and grey tiles, a stunning claw-foot tub, and a walk-in shower

The bathroom is now modern and pristine with bright lighting

Emily added a statement floor of black, white and grey tiles, a stunning claw-foot tub, and a walk-in shower. The bathroom is now modern and pristine with bright lighting

The gym before: To keep fit during lockdown, Emily remodelled one of the spare rooms into a gym, clearing out the previous owner's clutter

The gym before: To keep fit during lockdown, Emily remodelled one of the spare rooms into a gym, clearing out the previous owner’s clutter

Gym after: The workout room now has floor-to-ceiling studio mirrors, padded mats on the floor, a treadmill and motivational quotes on the walls

Gym after: The workout room now has floor-to-ceiling studio mirrors, padded mats on the floor, a treadmill and motivational quotes on the walls

The master bedroom, meanwhile, originally featured plain cream walls, old wooden flooring and dated criss-cross windows.

Emily updated the large space by painting the walls a light, bright cream, with a statement floral wallpaper behind the bed, and added a plush beige carpet and neutral furnishings to complete the space.

The room also has the quirky addition of a bathtub set on a raised platform.

To make the most of the surrounding countryside views, Emily added French doors to the room, and as an added touch of luxury, she knocked down the bedroom next to the master and created an en suite and dressing room.

Her children’s bedrooms have undergone equally dramatic transformations, going from dull, dated rooms to lovingly crafted and colourful spaces tailored to each child.

Minnie’s room was formerly painted bright green with clashing wooden floors, but now has fresh white flooring, pastel pink and blue walls and sweet decorative finishes including a teepee tent to play in.

Meanwhile, Rory’s bedroom was originally painted in a bland white paint with dark windows allowing little light into the room.

Her children's bedrooms have undergone equally dramatic transformations, going from dull, dated rooms to lovingly crafted and colourful spaces tailored to each child. Pictured: Minnie's bedroom before

Her children’s bedrooms have undergone equally dramatic transformations, going from dull, dated rooms to lovingly crafted and colourful spaces tailored to each child. Pictured: Minnie’s bedroom before

Minnie's room was formerly painted bright green with clashing wooden floors, but now has fresh white flooring, pastel pink and blue walls and sweet decorative finishes including a teepee tent to play in. Pictured: Minnie's bedroom after.

Minnie’s room was formerly painted bright green with clashing wooden floors, but now has fresh white flooring, pastel pink and blue walls and sweet decorative finishes including a teepee tent to play in. Pictured: Minnie’s bedroom after.

After some TLC, the bedroom has a mountain mural, hand-painted by Emily, and jungle-themed accessories.

The children also get to enjoy a dedicated play room, with the original church parquet floor still in place.

Other bedrooms from the original eight in the home are being used as an office and guest rooms.

Emily did almost everything without assistance, apart from the plumbing, hiring builders to knock down the walls and insert steel beams, and roping in an electrician friend to fit lights and sockets.

She said: ‘The hardest part was tiling the floors and laying the carpets. I taught myself to do both, but they are quite physical and I’m not the strongest person out there.

‘I do DIY every day, including painting, tiling and upcycling furniture. I did all the panelling and wallpapering myself and also sanded all the beams in our bedroom.

‘I also painted the outside the house – but I still have a few other sides left to do. I love DIY, I find it really addictive and I’ll give anything a go other than electrics.’

Meanwhile, Rory's bedroom was originally painted in a bland white paint with dark windows allowing little light into the room (pictured before)

Meanwhile, Rory’s bedroom was originally painted in a bland white paint with dark windows allowing little light into the room (pictured before)

After some TLC, her son's bedroom now has a mountain mural, hand-painted by Emily, and jungle-themed accessories (pictured after)

After some TLC, her son’s bedroom now has a mountain mural, hand-painted by Emily, and jungle-themed accessories (pictured after)

The DIY-savvy mum spent roughly £95,000 on the renovations – and her further plans include a garden transformation and further work on the utility room, pantry and lounge

The DIY-savvy mum spent roughly £95,000 on the renovations – and her further plans include a garden transformation and further work on the utility room, pantry and lounge

After tackling the vital rooms in the house, Emily set her sights on some luxurious additions – including a bar in the garage and a home gym.

Originally a dinghy garage with exposed brick walls, the space has been completely transformed into a large pub space – complete with fully-stocked bar, atmospheric mood lighting and even a drum kit for live music.

To keep fit during lockdown, Emily remodelled one of the spare rooms into a gym, with floor-to-ceiling studio mirrors, padded mats on the floor, a treadmill and motivational quotes on the walls.

Although she has not yet finished the house, Emily got the property valued six months ago and found it is now worth £850,000 – £380,000 more than it was purchased for.

In total, Emily has spent roughly £95,000 on the renovations – and her further plans include a garden transformation and further work on the utility room, pantry and lounge.

She said: ‘The biggest challenge has been trying to renovate in lockdown. I had to order most things online and it was pretty difficult to return things.

‘I was also trying to fit renovating in around home-schooling my six and seven-year-olds. It’s also quite hard to stick to a budget for a room as it’s easy for costs to spiral when it’s a big space.’

It seems the effort was well worth it, with the family delighted with how the house looks so far.

After sharing her progress on Facebook, Emily was inundated with comments from people who were amazed at the transformation.

One person said: ‘This is amazing, I’m absolutely in awe with the transformation. Blooming fantastic.’

‘Fabulous, what a transformation – really great and inspirational,’ another fan commented.

Someone else said: ‘You seriously need to sell tickets to an open day at your house. The work you’ve done is amazing and it just looks stunning.’

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Sirius Real Estate sells London business park for €18.8m (GB)

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Sirius Real Estate has agreed to the sale of an asset in Camberwell, London, for €18.8m (£16m), representing a NIY of circa 2%. The property formed part of the portfolio Sirius acquired in November 2021 with its purchase of BizSpace, the leading provider of regional light industrial, workshop, studio and out of town office units across the UK. The sale price represents a 94% premium to the valuation at the time of Sirius’ acquisition of BizSpace.

 

The multi-tenanted business park, which comprises approximately 34,700ft² of industrial and office space is 91% occupied following a series of asset management measures delivered through the BizSpace platform. The sale is expected to complete in July 2022.

 

Commenting on the transaction, Andrew Coombs, Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Real Estate, said: “This disposal is further proof of the latent value in the BizSpace portfolio we acquired late last year, the price being significantly ahead of last September’s valuation on which our purchase was based, and the attractive sale follows our recent announcement that we had since improved like-for-like rental income across the portfolio by 7.5%. The sale will allow us to invest in new opportunities for BizSpace in the UK as we continue to build our acquisition pipeline. Bringing together the Sirius and BizSpace platforms, with a strengthened management team at BizSpace, is already delivering strong results and operational synergies that will enhance our UK portfolio.”

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Southwold beach hut which is 10ft wide with no running water or electricity up for sale for £250,000

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A beach hut in an upmarket seaside town which is famed for its celebrity visitors has gone on the market for a record £250,000.

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in – and is double the cost of a three bedroom terraced house just 10 miles away.

The hut, numbered 149 and called ‘Here’s Hoping’, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town of Southwold, Suffolk.

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis.

Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000.

But the huts in Southwold, which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight.

A beach hut called 'Here's Hoping', pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

A beach hut called ‘Here’s Hoping’, pictured, which sits on the promenade of the upmarket seaside town Southwold in Suffolk, Doset, famed for its celebrity visitors, has gone on the market for a record £250,000

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called 'Here's Hoping' and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The price is believed to be the highest ever to be asked in the UK for a hut which people are not allowed to sleep in. The hut, called ‘Here’s Hoping’ and numbered 149, measures 10ft 6ins wide and is in a prime position on the promenade in the Edwardian town

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The resort has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis. Beach huts on the south coast can be more expensive with selling prices for some in Dorset exceeding £500,000

The buyer will still have to pay annual ground rent of £998 and will only have 18 years left of a 30 year lease, although there will be an option to renew.

They will be able to enjoy spectacular views from a veranda overlooking the beach and the North Sea, while being just a short walk from pubs, restaurants and shops.

But just 10 miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk, there are several homes up for sale, priced between £120,000 and £140,000.

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

But the huts in Southwold (pictured), which have no electricity or running water, are subject to strict local by-laws which ban anyone from sleeping overnight

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Southwold beach (pictured) has always been a popular retreat for well-heeled Londoners and celebrities including Chris Evans, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station.

Another property on the market is a £90,000, three-bed semi-detached bungalow at Broadlands Park and Marina in Lowestoft which has a garden, one bathroom and one living room.

The listing for the beach hut boasts that it has ‘glazed double folding doors’ and ‘a number of storage cupboards’.

The previous highest price asked for one of Southwold’s 300 beach huts was £150,000 in September 2018.

Prices have soared since then as property prices have continued to increase and the demand for staycation breaks following the Covid epidemic has boomed.

Huts in the best locations within Southwold, which is famed for its Adnams brewery, pier and lighthouse, are rarely on the market and some have been in the same family or generations.

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Several semi-detached homes in the area offer three bedrooms, one bathroom and two reception rooms, and is located 0.1 miles away from Lowestoft railway station

Many are rented out for around £600 a week to visitors who flock to the town.

The latest asking price is more than double the price of a three bedroom terrace house on the market for £110,000 around ten miles away in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

More than half the properties in Southwold are second homes and the full-time population is now below 1,000, putting extra strain on local services.

Earlier this year, councillors unveiled plans to try and stem the number of second homes in the town and make more affordable housing possible for local people.

A spokesperson for estate agent Flick & Son, which is selling the hut, said: ‘I am sure it will go very quickly.

‘There is a high demand for huts and we expect there will be a bidding war in the end.’

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EU will retaliate to any unilateral action on NI protocol, Coveney warns

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British prime minister Boris Johnson has been warned of the consequences of unilateral action on the Northern Ireland protocol, including the prospect of “retaliatory” action from Europe.

On the eve of Mr Johnson’s visit to Belfast, the Government and Sinn Féin said moves to disapply parts of the protocol risked damaging east-west relations.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke of a “landing zone” for negotiations and indicated that the European Union was willing to make adjustments through “partnership and dialogue” due to what he said were “legitimate concerns” within unionism about the operation of the protocol.

However, he also said that if London moved unilaterally it would make matters “significantly worse” and that “then the EU will be forced to respond to that with some form of retaliatory action”.

Mr Coveney said it was not “helpful” to expand on what form that might take, but that a response “would be very negative”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said “there is a real and urgent obligation now” for Britain to engage with the European Commission “in a real and professional way to resolve issues that have been raised”.

Powersharing

Ahead of talks between Mr Johnson and Northern Irish political leaders aimed at restoring powersharing at Stormont, Sinn Féin’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill said unilateral action would “represent an appalling attack on the international rule of law”.

“Only through joint agreement with the EU can solutions to problems or concerns be resolved,” she said.

“I will be telling Boris Johnson that unilateral action deepens political instability and economic uncertainty and must not happen.”

Ms O’Neill is to meet Mr Martin in at Government Buildings Dublin on Monday morning ahead of her meeting with Mr Johnson.

Mr Coveney travels today to Brussels for a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and will later speak with EU negotiator Maros Sefcovic and British foreign secretary Liz Truss, who is expected to announce legislation on Tuesday that will unilaterally override central elements of the protocol.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Coveney said Mr Sefcovic is open to making “significant progress” on the protocol.

“I believe there are solutions we could pursue and we can agree relatively quickly if there was an attitude to do so on both sides,” he said. “But we need a partner in London to do that, not a partner that is making threats of unilateral action.”

Envoy

The Minister also said he believes it is “likely” that US president Joe Biden will appoint an envoy to the North, saying the US administration is “extremely interested” in marking 25 years since the Belfast Agreement next year with “its institutions intact and functioning as they need to be”.

Mr Johnson is expected to affirm his commitment to the agreement and assert that he is not seeking to scrap the protocol. But Downing Street said ahead of his meetings with the North’s party leaders that he will not drop his government’s threat to unilaterally disapply parts of the protocol, which Mr Johnson agreed with the EU in 2019.

Downing Street said in a statement that Mr Johnson will tell party leaders that the door will always be open to “genuine dialogue” but that “there will be a necessity to act” and protect the Belfast Agreement if the EU does not change its position.

Writing in Monday’s Belfast Telegraph, Mr Johnson outlined that the protocol “has not been adapted to reflect the realities of the [Trade and Co-operation Agreement]”. He will signal that there is “without question a sensible landing spot in which everyone’s interests are protected”. However, he said that if the EU’s position does not change, “there will be a necessity to act”.


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