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Buy this photo » A wishing well adds real character to the gardens
Buy this photo » There’s a stone arch in the lower ground floor kitchen, along with a range oven and integrated appliances
Buy this photo » The lounge has lots of character, with ceiling beams, exposed stone lintel and multi-fuel burning stove
Buy this photo » Wishing Well Farm has superb views of Hewenden Viaduct from several rooms
Farmhouse will grant your wishes!
2:52pm Wednesday 27th July 2011
The renovation of Steve and Jo Brown’s home, Wishing Well Farm, threw up quite a few surprises.
They included hidden stone staircases, a stone arch and a well in the garden which led to a new name for their home.
“We first saw it 20 years ago when we moved to Wilsden, less than a mile from the farmhouse,” says Steve. “At that time it was called Hewenden Brow Farm and the owner had lived there for nearly 50 years.
“We often said that if it ever came onto the market we’d be very interested in buying it. In 1999, the farmhouse and land were put up for auction and we were lucky enough to be the successful bidders and the new owners of a property we had admired from afar.”
It is believed that the farmhouse dates back to around 1860, when it was originally two houses and included a barn, stable, piggeries and other outbuildings.
“When we bought the farmhouse it was in the middle of two fields and the only access was through a farm gate. We obtained planning permission so that we could put a drive through a field to the farmhouse, and once this was completed we were able to start the full renovation.”
The farmhouse was taken back to a complete shell. At one stage it just had four walls and a roof, no windows or even plaster on the interior walls.
The previous owner had used the lower floor as a workshop which also housed the heating boiler for the greenhouse, but this floor could not be reached from the inside until Steve and Jo discovered two stone staircases which had been blocked-up.
“This floor is now our lovely kitchen and breakfast room and has wonderful views of Hewenden viaduct and beyond,” he says. “A feature of the room is a beautiful stone arch which we discovered once the plaster was all chipped off.”
While the majority of the structural work was carried out by the couple’s builder and joiner, Steve and Jo continued to live in their cottage in Wilsden.
“We spent each evening after work and all our weekends renovating our new home, and in June 2000 we could move in,” says Steve.
“We continued with the decorating, and once we had completed the majority of the work inside we concentrated our efforts outside. The fields and garden were completely overgrown so we spent a lot of time landscaping and planted lots of shrubs, small trees and plants.”
A pond and waterfall was created using stone steps from one of the staircases that was removed from inside, and they also made a patio using stone flags from the old workshop floor.
“While working in the garden we discovered, under a pile of old vegetation, a large, six-inch thick flag over an original 20ft well which had been beautifully built many years ago. We decided to build a stone wishing well over it and change the name of the farmhouse to Wishing Well Farm,” Steve recalls.
The Browns have created a spacious home planned over three floors, with plenty of the charm that you expect to find in a traditional farmhouse.
On the ground floor is a lounge with a multi-fuel stove, window seat and ceiling beams, plus a dining room where a second staircase leads to the lower ground floor.
The lower ground floor contains the breakfast room and the kitchen, which has central island with granite worktops, double range oven with hotplate and griddle, integrated dishwasher, built-in fridge and freezer and a tiled floor.
On the first floor is the master bedroom – with en-suite shower room – the second bedroom and family bathroom.
In 2003 the couple started the renovation of the barn adjoining their home. It is now a double garage/workshop, with two bedrooms and a study area above.
The family doesn’t have a favourite room: “All our rooms are special to us. The house is very light and from each window in whatever room you are in you can see the lovely garden and the different views.
“The ‘wow’ factor for us is the fabulous view of Hewenden Viaduct and beyond, which we never take for granted. Looking out of the kitchen window – in fact any window at the rear of the house – you can see the viaduct in all its glory.
“We enjoy spending lots of time in the garden. Whatever the time of year, the views all around the house are wonderful, and we spend many an hour watching wildlife in the garden.”
Steve adds: “We have seen so many different types of birds coming to feed in the garden – apart from the families of blue tits, finches, swallows and blackbirds, we often see a couple of woodpeckers, a family of pheasants and a little owl whom we see sitting in the tree first thing in the morning.”