Actress Caroline Quentin helps with Devon restoration project
A Victorian neo-gothic house in the Westcountry will be restored to its former glory with the help of actress Caroline Quentin.
The actress, who lives on a smallholding in Devon, is following eight properties facing a struggle for survival, but with new owners wanting to turn historic ruins into dream homes.
In the final episode of the BBC series called Restoration Home she will visit Barnhill in South Devon as owners Geri and her husband Kevin strive to save it from collapse and transform it into a 21st century property.
Architectural expert Kieran Long and social historian Dr Kate Williams help delve into the history of the building to unearth the secrets behind its past.
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"People love to know the history of their old properties, particularly if they're linked to important times or important people, or love stories or ghost stories, but they either don't have the time or resources we have," said Ms Quentin.
Barnhill's new owners from Kent were enchanted by its the gothic arches, quirky architectural feature and the glass lantern-like dome feature.
After buying the home without a survey and despite its dilapidated state, the couple face a race against time to prevent its from falling to the ground.
"What was I thinking?" the unflappable Geri asks at one point. By the end, though she says, "I'm 100% happy."
The neo-gothic building is thought to date back to the 18th century – a subject of mystery and speculation in its village.
During the programme the expected budget for repairs doubles and Geri decides to take over management of the build herself – as the true impact of more than 200 years of amateur construction becomes clear.
Its defining feature, the glass dome, is on the brink of plummeting to the ground, and walls thought to be sturdy turn out to be nothing more than waterlogged rotting mud piles.
In a recent interview, Ms Quentin described life on her farm with husband Sam and two children Emma, 13, and William, 10, as idyllic.
"I don't think everyone likes animals and the countryside, but I think it's heaven, she said.
At the last head count, they had 40 chickens, six dogs, six cats and a around 200 sheep.
She added: "It's like a massively expensive hobby, running a smallholding. Unless you're someone who can make money out of it and I certainly couldn't. But we love it and that's why Sam and I do it."