Property of the week: Stunning family home near Salcombe
Becky Sheaves discovers an ideal home for an active family in South Devon.
Jane and Geoffrey Mayhill spotted Yawl Barn eight years ago and were instantly intrigued by this beautiful and historic building.
"It was originally built to store coal, which was brought up the creek by tugboat from Kingsbridge," explains Jane, who has lovingly turned the magnificent stone barn into a stunning family home. "Then, for many years, it was used as a boat store and a place to build new vessels.
"Many, many lovely boats have been created here. It was the perfect place for them as the barn is a stone's throw from Waterhead Creek."
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Jane and her husband Geoffrey, a lawyer and company director, love Salcombe and had been coming to this pretty yachting town in South Devon on holiday for many years with their children, who are now grown up. When they spotted Yawl Barn, they sold their family home in London.
Their aim was to create a full-time home from the barn, which is near East Portlemouth and a short walk (or boat journey) from the centre of Salcombe, and the lovely countryside around Gara Rock and East Prawle.
The result is a four-bedroomed home with a combination of wonderful architecture and family-minded practicality. With all sorts of period details such as exposed stonework, and character windows, the house is aesthetically dazzling. However, the design is also child-proof and comfortable, with a downstairs wet room, large integral garage and top-of-the-range kitchen and bathrooms. "It is perfect for an active family, especially as we love sailing," says Jane. "You can simply roll a boat out of the garage and into the creek here at high tide. It's also great walking country and there's an excellent gastro pub, too, The Millbrook Inn, within walking distance."
Jane and Geoffrey have evidently thoroughly enjoyed themselves converting Yawl Barn and it is clear that no expense has been spared.
The couple decided to create a reverse-level layout, which allows the striking 52ft open-plan upstairs living space to open directly on to a large, sunny terrace.
This enormous living space incorporates a beautiful kitchen with cream Aga, a sitting area with a woodburning stove and a spacious wooden-floored dining area. Also upstairs are two large bedrooms with bathrooms. Downstairs there are two more sizeable bedrooms, a large wet room, spacious utility room and luxurious family bathroom.
Throughout the house, the cool greys of the colour scheme combine with the natural stone walls and exposed wooden beams for a stylish, contemporary feel.
So why leave such a beautiful home? Geoffrey's work commitments are taking him increasingly overseas. "We had intended to live here full time but we find we are in our flat in London far more than we expected," says Jane. "It just makes sense for us to sell Yawl Barn and buy a smaller lock-up-and-leave holiday cottage in this area. But we love the Salcombe area and will be back to visit as often as possible," she says.
Jane and Geoffrey's change of circumstances means that this striking property is, somewhat unexpectedly, for sale. It will be, says Jane, "a huge wrench" to leave. But is an exciting opportunity for anyone in search of a special property near the sought-after town of Salcombe.
Yawl Barn, East Portlemouth, South Devon, £1.3 million
Property: Stunning four-bedroomed barn conversion with direct access to Waterhead Creek in the sought- after area around Salcombe in the South Hams
Location: Within boat-wheeling distance of Waterhead Creek, in the hamlet of Goodshelter.
Accommodation: Four large bedrooms, a 52 x 19 ft open plan living area, three bathrooms and a large wet room.
Outside: Large integral garage/boatstore, gardens and striking upstairs terrace garden
Price: £1.3 million
Agents: Marchand Petit, Salcombe, 01548 844473, www.marchandpetit.co.uk