Renovation Story: Signal Box Cottage

Signal Box Cottage is, in the owners’ own words, ‘a little bit different’. The word unique comes to mind and a haven for rail and countryside enthusiasts who have been known to visit from all over the world.

  

Nikki and Richard Curzon met whilst serving in the Royal Air Force at RAF Marham in Norfolk. They married in 2002 and soon had a young family. Military life meant moving house regularly and then Richard was posted on detachment to Afghanistan in 2012, a difficult period. At this stage, they decided it was time for a change in career and wanted put their roots down so that the children could settle into English country life without having to move schools time and time again.

They thought long and hard about where they would like to live - they were looking for something completely different, and as a result decided to go into holiday lettings. It took 5 – 6 years to find the perfect property. Not being tied down to any one area, they scoured the country from North Staffordshire to Sussex looking for a home with an outbuilding to modernise. Over the Christmas break 2012, whilst living in London, they chanced upon a stunning property in South Devon and called the agent to arrange a viewing over the May Bank holiday weekend. After 2 viewings, they decided this property was perfect – Loddiswell Station and its Signal Box annexe grabbed them, it was a property that really stood out – ‘it found us’, Richard said.

  

 
The main station building (which was to be the family’s home) did not need huge improvements, extensive renovations had been done in the early 2000s so they concentrated on converting the Signal Box and making it into a 2-bedroom self-contained unit. It had been built in early 2002 and was an exact replica of the signal box at Kingsbridge, even the glazing bars were identical but with all the benefits of modern technology.

The previous owners had used it as a games room with a downstairs indoor pool. Richard has checked carefully that there were no restrictions on change of use but then they came up against a brick wall with the local planning department. He had been sent the first 2 pages of the deeds but on a 3rd page it stated that the Signal Box could not be used as accommodation. After jumping through hoops, change of use was granted and it was full steam ahead.

  



Living Room Space - Before (left) and After (right)


Richard and Nikki renovated the building themselves – doing 90% of the work and bringing in a plumber and electrician for the jobs that needed certification. The 15ft tongue and groove clad exercise pool with a jet stream was removed and sold through Ebay, to a local buyer who came and helped dismantle it, it had to go to make room for the two bedrooms.

They made the decision to keep it fairly neutral and bought new furniture to make sure it was as comfortable as possible. The proof is in the pudding, the Curzons have had back-to-back bookings from Easter to October and then short breaks throughout the winter. The situation of Signal Box Cottage is superb, there are wonderful flat walks along the railway line and river, and a huge network of footpaths criss-crossing the countryside. The cottage comes with 250m of river frontage with fishing rights, giving the opportunity for guests to bring rods and practice their casting.

  



The South West coastal path and beaches are nearby and Dartmoor is just a 20 minute drive. This cottage suits all types, the tranquillity is breath taking and there’s lots of exploring of wonderful little English villages in the surrounding area.

Signal Box Cottage, sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms and is pet friendly. To see more or book this property, click here