Something like 15 years ago, at a friend's wedding in a beautiful country house, we first pondered how amazing it would be to own a huge property where other people would come and stay, where we could host weddings and parties, and when the guests weren't around, we'd still be able to live there.
So when we saw Moreton House for sale, with its 28 bedrooms and 5 acre gardens, we put the idea into motion, gave up our day jobs, sold our house, and moved in, settling our children into the local primary school.
We knew there was a big renovation project ahead of us, but perhaps we didn't realise quite how big. We'd counted the 120 windows, 34000 square feet, 100 rooms (yet for a while only 1 working shower and no heating!), we'd explored the damp cellars and creaky lofts, and we'd contemplated the utility bills. But we weren't quite so prepared for the dry rot, wet rot, woodworm and missing roof beams. So far, every room has revealed a new surprise, and we have certainly not had a chance to get bored.
We have a regular crew of fantastic local builders, craftspeople and suppliers, but it's still very much a family project. From the children to the grandparents, everyone has lent a hand. We've taught ourselves to restore plaster mouldings, make blinds, thread glass chandelier pieces together, limewash, create wooden beading and understand the intricacies of large-scale wifi distribution. Not to mention trying our hand at gardening on a giant scale.
We are launching our business with the same family approach, getting involved with every aspect of setting up and running our holiday apartments and function venue. The renovations are being carefully phased so as to be able to start hosting occasional outdoor functions, holiday clubs, small private events and the first holiday apartments while our work continues elsewhere in the house.
We are trying to involve the local community too, working with children's activity groups, a local heritage project, and discussing community interest business opportunities for people wanting to work in heritage, restoration or provision of clubs or activities for children and adults. Any money earned will allow us to continue to restore and save other areas of this wonderful historic house for more people to enjoy. We are open to ideas, so do feel free to get in touch. And please keep watching this space for updates and launches. We look forward to welcoming you to Moreton House soon.