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Viewers all say the same thing about King Charles’ £45m Grand Designs restoration of stately home

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Viewers of A Royal Grand Design, which followed the King’s multi-million pound restoration of a stately home in Ayrshire have joked it is just like Channel 4‘s Grand Designs – but without the budget constraints.

The hour-long programme, which took over a decade to produce, told the story of Charles’s ambitious plan to restore the Dumfries House, a 2,000-acre property in which faced a long descent into decrepitude.

It charted how the King (then the Prince of Wales) led a consortium which paid £45 million for the dilapidated estate in 2007 in a bid to save it from ruin and help regenerate the deprived local community.

While watching the programme on ITV this evening, viewers joked the project would probably go to plan much more closely than homeowners on Grand Designs, who often face setbacks and money issues as they aim to build their dream homes.

King Charles (pictured) featured in an hour-long special episode of Grand Designs tonight, in which he admits he enjoys the 'most difficult challenges'

King Charles (pictured) featured in an hour-long special episode of Grand Designs tonight, in which he admits he enjoys the ‘most difficult challenges’

One viewer said: ‘Doubt [Grand Designs host] Kevin McCloud is going to tip up & they’ve run out of money on this one…’

Another joked: ‘The naughtily titled A Royal Grand Design on ITV at 9pm is no assemblage of palte glass or all-timber kit from Germany, but the saving of Dumfries house.’ 

In the programme, Charles showed Her late Majesty, who died on September 8 aged 96, the walled garden in the Scottish estate at its opening in 2014, while he showcased the completed outdoor centre to then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2013. 

Charles described the vast project as an ‘appalling risk’ – but he said it was worth it to help the local community, who suffered after the loss of the mining industry.

As well as restoring the main house, the initiative included bringing the walled garden, one of Europe’s largest, back to life, and adding a horticultural and education centre, a cookery school, textiles centre, STEM unit, and adventure playground, creating jobs in the process.

‘I wanted to try and make a difference to the local area. It had many of the worst indices of unemployment and ill health and everything else,’ Charles said.

‘I’m one of those people who rather likes taking on the most difficult challenges. I felt it was worth taking this appalling risk and taking out such a big loan.’

Royal special: During the episode, Charles is seen speaking to apprentices at Dumfries House in Scotland (pictured)

Royal special: During the episode, Charles is seen speaking to apprentices at Dumfries House in Scotland (pictured)

A Royal Grand Design, which was more than a decade in the making, tells the story of Charles’s ambitious plan to restore the 18th-century stately home Dumfries House (pictured) in Ayrshire

He added: ‘This area has been so battered and deprived, particularly since the loss of the mining industry and everything.’

The then-prince – filmed before he became monarch – also outlined his hopes of a similar project elsewhere in the UK in future, saying he was inspired to help people and their families.

‘That’s my problem, I’m frightfully over ambitious. I long to use this model in other parts of the country where I know it can make a big impact on people’s lives and livelihoods and their whole future and their families’ futures, which is what matters to me,’ Charles said.

‘I hope there’ll be another project fairly soon somewhere, which could be quite large, and hopefully there will be other opportunities. We’ll see. I haven’t given up yet… Watch this space, as they say.’

Charles acceded to the throne following the death of the late Queen in September, and the broadcast is dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth II.

During the programme, the King spoke of his passion for the £45 million project which took a decade to complete

During the programme, the King spoke of his passion for the £45 million project which took a decade to complete

The royal, pictured here visiting the site while the Walled Garden was being built, led a consortium that paid £45million for the property

The royal, pictured here visiting the site while the Walled Garden was being built, led a consortium that paid £45million for the property

Today the 18th century stately home houses stunning walled gardens and an adventure centre, as well as a 22 bedroom B&B

Today the 18th century stately home houses stunning walled gardens and an adventure centre, as well as a 22 bedroom B&B

Footage includes Charles showing his mother around the grounds when she opened the walled garden in 2014.

Narrated by the actor Richard E Grant, the documentary is said to capture the ‘real man behind the crown’.

Charles was seen greeting a local and his dog, waving at visitors and trudging around the site in wet and windy weather.

He expresses his fear the 2,000-acre estate, 27 miles south of Glasgow, would have been turned into a golf club.

‘I knew if we hadn’t stepped in and saved it, somebody would have bought it and said they had a great idea, you know for golf courses and things and it would never have worked, so, it would have joined the list of yet more derelict country houses,’ he said.

Priceless Chippendale furniture and other antique treasures, saved from being sold, were kept in the house and restored.

Since buying it 14 years ago, the monarch has overseen a project that has brought one of the biggest walled gardens in Europe back to life

Since buying it 14 years ago, the monarch has overseen a project that has brought one of the biggest walled gardens in Europe back to life

Viewers took to Twitter to joke about the programme's similarities to Channel 4's Grand Designs - but a more successful version

Viewers took to Twitter to joke about the programme’s similarities to Channel 4’s Grand Designs – but a more successful version

Charles was also seen sharing his concern over the 300-year-old ‘Old Sycamore’ tree in the garden when it appeared to be dying.

‘I can’t bear it because it was such a wonderful thing,’ he said. But the tree survived and continued to grow, with a relieved Charles branding the change ‘remarkable’.  

The then-Prince told the programme: ‘I knew if we hadn’t stepped in and saved [the house], somebody would have bought it and said they had a great idea, you know for golf courses and things and it would never have worked, so, it would have joined the list of yet more derelict country houses.

‘The buildings we’ve built, a lot of them have been done by students, live build, learning. 

‘Sustainability, all of that agenda is critical here because there’s a lot of engineering skills, for instance, we are trying to help develop, working on the STEM educational side and the vocational side in order to make this area as a great example of how you can create new businesses and jobs in the green economy.’

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‘Britain’s shortest house’ measuring just 6ft 5ins tall which ‘dates back to 1758’ goes to auction

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Room for a little one! ‘Britain’s shortest house’ measuring just 6ft 5ins tall which ‘dates back to 1758’ goes to auction with £70,000 guide price

  • ‘Britain’s shortest house’ is just 6ft 5ins tall and is on the market for only £70K
  • The unique property is found in the village of Newton Poppleford near Sidmouth

‘Britain’s shortest house’ standing at just 6ft 5ins tall has gone on sale – for the relatively small price of £70,000.

The unique property, with ceilings that may skim the tops of some heads, is found in the village of Newton Poppleford near Sidmouth, Devon.

As its name implies, Ye Olde Toll House is a former toll house, which is believed to date back to 1758.

Its yellow exterior is topped off with a thatched roof, covering walls which stand no higher than an average front door.

Despite its miniature size the interior houses an entrance porch, living room, small kitchen, a shower room and one bedroom.

The unique property, with ceilings that may skim the tops of some heads, is found in the village of Newton Poppleford near Sidmouth, Devon

The unique property, with ceilings that may skim the tops of some heads, is found in the village of Newton Poppleford near Sidmouth, Devon

The unique 6ft 5ins property, that may skim the tops of some heads, is found in the village of Newton Poppleford near Sidmouth, Devon

The unique 6ft 5ins property, that may skim the tops of some heads, is found in the village of Newton Poppleford near Sidmouth, Devon

On the listing, Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers described the property as: 'A charming detached thatched Toll House for updating'

On the listing, Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers described the property as: ‘A charming detached thatched Toll House for updating’

There’s also an outdoor space with a log store area and attic space for extra storage.

On the listing, Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers described the property as: ‘A charming detached thatched Toll House for updating.

‘This unique single storey property is believed to date back to 1758 and is situated in the popular East Devon village of Newton Poppleford, which is only four miles from the popular seaside town of Sidmouth.

‘The property is likely to be of interest to a home owner or those looking for a lock-up and leave bolt hole. It could also be of interest to investment purchasers.’

Bidding for the property currently sits at £70k.

You can join the auction here.

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That’s potty! Grade II Listed cottage on sale is mocked for having a toilet in a children’ bedroom

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A Grade II listed cottage on sale for £450,000 has been mocked for having a toilet in the middle of one of the bedrooms.

The detached historic home in Colne, near Burnley, Lancashire, boasts a wealth of original features including mullion windows, inglenook stone fireplace and stone stills. 

But home hunters have been scratching their heads at the design choice of a loo and sink in what appears to be a child’s bedroom. 

The toilet has also been adorned with a large sticker featuring Marvel Comic character, Hulk, matching a small novelty Marvel laundry bin to its side.

Bemused Marie Gardiner said: ‘My friend sent me this from Rightmove and it’s freaking me out.

The toilet has also been adorned with a large sticker featuring Marvel Comic character, Hulk, matching a small novelty Marvel laundry bin to its side

The toilet has also been adorned with a large sticker featuring Marvel Comic character, Hulk, matching a small novelty Marvel laundry bin to its side

‘Somehow the layout is wrong in every room. Kid’s bedroom is also a toilet.’

Lydia Jane said: ‘That’s an OCD nightmare. Who builds a shower cubicle in front of a bedroom window?’

Marie added: ‘I thought it was maybe a stand up tanning thing?!

To which Lydia replied: ‘Might be, but still.’

It is listed in the property description which reads: ‘One of the bedrooms is separate to the others which is accessed via the spiral staircase and has a WC and wash basin.’

The quaint home features a large modern, living room diner and kitchen with a range oven and has a homely feel.

Three of the bedrooms are located in the main building with the fourth in an annex.

Other interesting features include what appears to be a stand up tanning booth in one of the other bedrooms, and wooden animals in the garden.

Other interesting features include what appears to be a stand up tanning booth in one of the other bedrooms

Other interesting features include what appears to be a stand up tanning booth in one of the other bedrooms

The key features include it being in a ‘sought after location,’ having a ‘fully fitted modern kitchen,’ ‘three bedrooms’ and ‘large private gardens.’

It is on the market with Petty Real Estate Agents and being advertised on Rightmove.

The property listing reads: ‘Beautiful three bedroom semi detached Grade II Listed cottage situated in a highly sought after semi rural location near to the amenities offered by Colne town centre.

‘This historic building which formed part of the old Carry Bridge Hall has a wealth of original features throughout such as, mullion windows, inglenook stone fireplace and stone stills.

‘The property comprises an entrance hallway with storage cupboard, spacious lounge diner with original stone flagged floor, inglenook stone fireplace with multifuel stove, spiral staircase and patio doors leading to the garden.

‘Fully fitted kitchen which houses a range of modern matching wall, base and drawer units, contrasting granite work surfaces, range oven, dishwasher and stairs leading to the first floor.

‘To the first floor is a landing there are three double bedrooms.

The 'beautiful three bedroom semi detached Grade II Listed cottage' has three of the bedrooms located in the main building with the fourth in an annex

The ‘beautiful three bedroom semi detached Grade II Listed cottage’ has three of the bedrooms located in the main building with the fourth in an annex

Th property listing boasts of a 'spacious lounge diner with original stone flagged floor, inglenook stone fireplace' and a spiral staircase

Th property listing boasts of a ‘spacious lounge diner with original stone flagged floor, inglenook stone fireplace’ and a spiral staircase

The quaint home features a large modern, living room diner with a prial staircase which can be used to access some of the bedrooms

 The quaint home features a large modern, living room diner with a prial staircase which can be used to access some of the bedrooms

The three piece family bathroom has a 'contemporary suite which includes a bath with shower over, low level WC and wash basin and is fully tiled throughout'

The three piece family bathroom has a ‘contemporary suite which includes a bath with shower over, low level WC and wash basin and is fully tiled throughout’

Petty Real Estate Agents, with whom the property is up on the market,  described how the property's kitchen 'has a homely feel'

Petty Real Estate Agents, with whom the property is up on the market,  described how the property’s kitchen ‘has a homely feel’

Original features in this historic home near Burnley, Lancashire include mullion windows

Original features in this historic home near Burnley, Lancashire include mullion windows

The four-bedroom home in the 'sought after location' has patio doors leading to the garden

The four-bedroom home in the ‘sought after location’ has patio doors leading to the garden

The 'fully fitted kitchen' features a 'modern matching wall, base and drawer units, contrasting granite work surfaces, range oven, dishwasher and stairs leading to the first floor'

The ‘fully fitted kitchen’ features a ‘modern matching wall, base and drawer units, contrasting granite work surfaces, range oven, dishwasher and stairs leading to the first floor’

There is a large private garden area to the rear which is 'mainly laid to the lawn'

There is a large private garden area to the rear which is ‘mainly laid to the lawn’ 

‘One of the bedrooms is separate two the others which is accessed via the spiral staircase and has a WC and wash basin.

‘Three piece family bathroom has a contemporary suite which includes a bath with shower over, low level WC and wash basin and is fully tiled throughout.

‘Detached annex with lounge & fully fitted kitchen, three piece shower room and double bedroom.

‘Externally there is a driveway leading to a courtyard where there is parking for several vehicles and a detached garage which has power and lighting.

‘The owners have created a woodland activity area which is perfect for your young children. There is a large private garden area to the rear which is mainly laid to the lawn.’

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‘Time capsule’ country house which has been left untouched for decades on sale for £1.65million

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A ‘time capsule’ country house left untouched for decades has gone on the market for £1.65m with 25 acres of overgrown grounds included. 

Burnells Estate on Exmoor National Park is nearly a century old but has not been lived in for at least 20 years as the current owner, who lives abroad, bought it to use as a retirement home and never got round to it. 

Estate agents Webbers have cleared the terrace around the outdoor swimming pool to show buyers the potential it has.

The house also has hunting rights over a neighbouring 81 acres of woodland and stunning countryside views of surrounding Exmoor.

Burnells estate was first built in 1927 for Lord Christopher Thomson, a British Army officer and later Labour minister and peer. 

The overgrown Burnells Estate on Exmoor National Park is on sale for a cool £1.65m

The overgrown Burnells Estate on Exmoor National Park is on sale for a cool £1.65m

The house was first built in the 1927s for Lord Christopher Thomson, a British Army officer and later Labour minister and peer

The house was first built in the 1927s for Lord Christopher Thomson, a British Army officer and later Labour minister and peer

The house in its former glory is quite the sight
It hasn't been lived in for over 20 years

The house has been left to decay for 20 years and is now overgrown and in need of renovation

He served in the Second Boer War and the First World War before going into politics.

Thomson was Secretary of State for Air under Ramsey MacDonald, who made him Baron Thomson in 1924. 

He died in the R101 airship crash on its maiden flight from Britain to France in 1930.

The accident was partly down to Lord Thomson putting pressure on to make the maiden flight before safety checks were complete and adequate flight testing had been done.

It led to the deaths of 48 people and the cancellation of the British airship programme by Thomson’s successor.

The house has an incredible private setting in the countryside, down a country lane between the villages of Dunster and Wootton Courtenay in Somerset.

The house has over 4,000 sq ft of living space with a large entrance hall, kitchen, breakfast room, dining room and a large L-shaped sitting room on the ground floor and eight bedrooms and three bathrooms on the first floor.

It has plenty of original features including exposed ceiling beams, ornate plasterwork and original fireplaces. 

The kitchen has an oil-fired Aga and adjoining butler’s pantry with original full-height crockery and storage cupboards.

There is also a large garage with a studio above.

The kitchen is spacious, airy and comes equipped with an AGA for clean country living

The kitchen is spacious, airy and comes equipped with an AGA for clean country living 

The inside of the house could use some work but has enough period features to fall in love with

The inside of the house could use some work but has enough period features to fall in love with 

The entertainment room has a large authentic log fire - perfect for winter nights

The entertainment room has a large authentic log fire – perfect for winter nights 

Outside the property has a number of slate terraces that would have originally made up the formal gardens and there is a sunken swimming pool from the house’s heyday. 

The grounds include mixed woodland, heathland and paddocks.

Mark Curran, from Webbers, said: ‘The house has not been occupied for at least 20 years and is a time capsule from the era of art deco.

‘The woodland and foliage has grown up around the property and offers people the possibility of a virtual blank canvas for their own preference and ideas.

‘The interior of the house could be remodelled to suit more modern tastes or enlarged.’

The property, which is in a national park, has nearly 25 acres of grounds

The property, which is in a national park, has nearly 25 acres of grounds

The house has hunting rights over a neighbouring 81 acres of woodland and stunning countryside views of Exmoor National Park

The house has hunting rights over a neighbouring 81 acres of woodland and stunning countryside views of Exmoor National Park

The owner Robert Berg said: ‘I was over in the UK for business and staying in a hotel that I really disliked, so I asked my accountant to help me find a home for when I was here.

‘I purchased the property back in 1979 and lived there permanently until 1983. I’ve used it as my holiday home ever since, until personal circumstances changed for me in recent years.

‘Unfortunately, I have not been back as often as I would have liked, so I think the time is right for me to move on and let new owners breathe life back into it. It is in need of renovation but I know it will make a truly unique home.

‘This is not a normal house; it must have been a very expensive project when it was built and it was constructed in the most perfect manner set over five slate terraces.

‘There is a swimming pool on the second terrace that is a wonderful luxury. Surrounded by woodland and beautiful trees, it offers a most welcome escape from the stresses of day-to-day life.

‘Views from the house are far reaching over scenic countryside that changes with the passing seasons.

‘Access to the property is via a private road which is about 500m long and not many people know that it’s here unless they are coming to visit.

‘I have loved my time living here, it’s been a really wonderful house, and I wish the new owners all the very best.’

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