Owner Story: Sappington Granary

A seed of an idea

When Kate and her husband found their home in Kent, they set to work renovating the beautiful stone property surrounded by acres of unspoilt Kent countryside. In the grounds of the garden sat the most gorgeous black weatherboarded barn, the Granary, which was ideal for storing wood to keep them cosy on long winter evenings.

The Granary was built about 200 years ago, part of the old farmyard nestled down a country lane in totally unspoilt surroundings.  In years gone by, the barn has had various uses – for the most part as a granary with a working hammer mill, then later as storage for the farm equipment, a tool shed and then latterly as a wood store (with the occasional teenage party).

It was at a party that Kate got talking to a neighbour who was in the holiday letting business and had seen the barn. She sowed the seed of an idea that this quirky building could be the basis of a very successful holiday letting business.

The project begins

A few years later Kate was a beneficiary in an elderly relative’s will and this enabled her to realise her dream or make a start towards it. Planning permission took time as it lies in the curtilage of the main house which is Grade II listed.

Kate employed a friendly local builder with his assistant and work began. They had to take it back to basics. Sappington Granary is not huge but needed total insulation to make it suitable for holiday letting. Thinking it was going to be done in a short time, Kate learned a lot about doing up old barns. The hips on the roof had warped and the barn itself had to be braced. The cladding on the outside had to be removed, insulation inserted and then the cladding had to be put back or replaced. The roof tiles had to be taken off, again for the insulation and then the building was re-roofed using the original tiles.

‘It was a much bigger job than we had envisaged but it was worth every penny’.

Finishing touches

Kate wanted to recycle as much as possible and designed the kitchen using lovely old floorboards from the Granary. She sourced varies bits and bobs from flea markets and charity shops and bought a few new items such as the king size bed and the electrical items.

She wanted to create a space which would be cosy and inviting, where guests would feel totally relaxed and go home with great memories. ‘I really enjoyed building up the interior, finding individual pieces that didn’t cost the earth and still now, I’m enjoying getting things ready for autumn and winter – I found 2 heart shaped hot water bottles recently and though they were perfect for the Granary’.

Not only does Kate leave a hamper of delicious items such as fresh eggs from her flock of chickens, she often leaves other tasty treats such as cakes, homemade jams or puddings – a nice surprise for any guest.

A charming extra, the bread machine with all ingredients for making your own fresh loaf, is often used by those staying the weekend. Sappington Granary is surrounded by rolling hills and grazing cows. Here you can sit and watch the sunset with a glass of wine or fizz - a truly magical place to rekindle a little romance in your life.