A couple who bought a 19th-century coach house for £284,000 reveal their transformation of the property into a stunning family home on tonight’s episode of George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations.
Childhood sweethearts Laura and Adrian, from Staffordshire, sold their own home, moved into a caravan and began renovating the derelict building into an Insta-worthy three bedroom house, with an added granny annex for Adrian’s parents Andrew and Elinor.
The couple, who appear on the Channel 4 programme tonight, initially wanted to renovate the 900 sq ft property within a £350,000 budget.
But the build was hampered by difficulties from the outset, including delays with planning permission and the Covid-19 crisis, pushing their bill up to £450,000.
BEFORE: Laura and Adrian, from Staffordshire, reveal their unrecognisable transformation of a 19th-century coach house into a stunning family home on George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations tonight. Pictured, the home property before the build
AFTER: At the end of the build the couple unveil their stunning contemporary home which oozes charm and character. The living space blends modern style with traditional features, keeping the building’s style alive
BEFORE: Having been used as a coach-house for other people’s caravans for the past decade, the building is in poor condition with rotten timbers and mismatched brickwork at the start of the project. Above, a room that becomes the living room
AFTER: The couple went £100,000 over budget on the build after unexpected costs sprung up but were delighted with the final result, including this stylish living room complete with pops of colour and plush furniture
The property is situated in the grounds of what was the Cliff Hall estate in the village of Kingsbury, near Birmingham.
When George first met the couple in June 2019, they had already been living in a caravan on the site for 18 months in order to save money.
Laura, a project manager in forensics, revealed the family have already ‘put a lot of effort’ into the building given it was originally intended to store horses and has been completely empty for 10 years.
Having been used as a coach-house for other people’s caravans for the past decade, the building was in poor condition at the start of the project, with rotten timbers and mismatched brickwork.
But it was ripe for renovation, with Adrian and Laura seeing it’s potential and pipping a developer to the post to buy it for £284,000.
KITCHEN BEOFRE: The couple appear on the Channel 4 programme tonight as they reveal their hopes to transform the 900 sq ft property with a budget of just £350,000. Above, one of the derelict rooms with crumbling and uneven floors before
KITCHEN AFTER: Features including the exposed brick walls and wooden beams add a touch of character to the space, which is otherwise kitted out as a modern home perfect for family living
Laura and Adrian end up living in a caravan on the building site for three years in order to get the project finished – but they insist it has all been worth it
The ground floor had two large spaces, with two small rooms squashed into the middle. Meanwhile upstairs is a wide open space.
Laura and Adrian planned to build a modern timber frame inside the old brick shell, allowing them to configure the space exactly to their needs. They also wanted to build a self-contained two bed annex connected to the main house, where Adrian’s parents Andrew and Elinor will live.
Andrew says: ‘It was one Saturday morning they came up and they bought pictures of this place they’d looked at.
‘In the past, we considered a wild pipe dream of building something as a family. They said, “If you sold your house and we sold ours and we steal your pension, we could do this”.’
Meanwhile Elinor jokes: ‘They said can we have your money basically.’
Understandably, the couple have high expectations, Elinor tells George: ‘I’m not compromising on kitchens and bathrooms.’
Meanwhile Andrew, who uses a mobility scooter, says the property will need to be on one level.
The family carefully stockpiled everything from the demolition of the barn, including over 70,000 bricks, to save money.
With planning permission finally granted, and the family aimed to get everyone in in 10 months, enlisting local contractors to help.
They quickly spent £15,000 reinforcing the current foundations and pouring concrete into the building’s floor.
HALLWAY AFTERWARDS: The stunning space is flooded with light, while Adrian’s clever design and craftsmanship brings together contemporary elements with the traditional features of the barn (pictured, the hallway)
However it was not long before they feel their budget dwindling, with Adrian confessing he had to let go of his local builders.
He says: ‘It’s a shame I haven’t got another £50,000 to let the guys crack on. Not at the rate they’re on. The problem was never going to be getting someone to build it, it was going to be me doing as much as I can to get my hands on.’
Meanwhile Laura confesses: ‘We’ve been here so long, it’s like what’s another few months to get it right.’
Two months later, winter arrives in Tamworth and living in a caravan begins to take it’s toll on the family.
Elinor says: ‘Caravan is getting a bit tired now, it’s looking a bit worn. It’d be nice to have space.’
Meanwhile Andrew adds: ‘Things are going reasonably well, but things are looking a little bit tight. Adrian has been busy – it’s a compromise between how much time he’s at work and being justified to get others in on the budget.’
MASTER BEDROOM AFTERWARDS: The couple build timber beams into the property, creating a stunning barn style master bedroom. The luxurious space is a welcome change after months living in a caravan
With the budget and schedule slipping, Adrian is doing more and more of the work himself.
Andrew jokes: ‘Time is a big problem, we said it would be finished by Christmas…but we didn’t specify which Christmas that would be.’
By February 2020, Laura is also feeling the strain of caravan life – having lived in one for over two years.
She says: ‘It is hard work. these past few months, we’ve really struggled with the weather. It’s the mud more than anything.’
Meanwhile the mother-of-two admits she feels the burden of building a home for her in-laws as well as her own dream property, saying: ‘I’m really lucky, we got on really well anyway but we’re feeling a huge sense of responsibility towards them. Basically they’ve invested everything they’ve got in us and the vision we had.’
She continues: ‘I’ve known Adrian since I was about eight and we’ve been together for 17 years. We lost Adrian’s brother a few years ago and it makes you re-evaluate things and you realise how important it is to have family around you. It puts a different perspective on life. This has bought us closer together for sure.’
One month later, the family were knocked sideways as the pandemic shut the site down.
The couple ended up spending £100,000 over their initial budget in order to complete the stunning family home for their children and in-laws. Pictured, the dining space leads on from the kitchen and has an industrial-style picnic table
Elinor tells the camera: ‘We’re doing okay, it’d be nice to move in. We haven’t all fallen out completely but there’s been some arguments.’
Laura and Adrian struggled to get building supplies amid the pandemic, with Laura saying: ‘It’s reordered the schedule of things. Some of the busy jobs we’d been hoping would happen, just haven’t’ been able to.’
By July 2020, the building was finally watertight. But the budget was gone. ‘A family member has managed to lend us £50,000…but there’s only £4,000 of that left,’ Adrian says on the programme.
‘But there is another £10,000 that will get the build done…It’s my mother’s own secret stash that was going to pay for her kitchen just to get the house finished.’
George says there was a ‘massive challenge’ to get the family into the building within two months and admits he is concerned about how much work there is still to be done.
Meanwhile Laura and Adrian also create cosy single bedrooms for their two sons, which are joined together with a mezzanine for the children to play on (pictured)
However two months later, the couple unveiled their stunning contemporary home which oozes charm and character.
The living space blends modern style with traditional features, keeping the building’s style alive.
Upstairs, the space is divided to give the children their own mirror image bedrooms with a mezzanine between the two.
Meanwhile the gorgeous master bedroom acts as the perfect upgrade from caravan living.
And downstairs, the adjourning annex for Adrian’s parents is an elegant new-build structure connected to the main house with a glazed walkway.
The couple confess the three year long build has been ‘more than worth it’, with Adrian saying: ‘I think we’re going to be around £450,000 build cost. I’ve done it for a reason, I’ve done it for the family. That’s what it’s about.’