The ivy clad farmhouse at Ednovean farm has the mellow dignity of a building loved by time but it holds a little secret close to its heart, a little secret of its previous life as a historic 17th-century barn before its renovation to become our home of today.
As we created our home at Ednovean it was important to us not only to honour the integrity of the old building but to reuse or recycle as many of the original materials as we could. And so a massive renovation of a trio of Farm buildings began that was to stretch from 1990 until the year 2000.
Ednovean – a long love affair
I think my love affair with Ednovean started back in the 1970’s when I first saw the semi derelict building, bought at auction by my father…
Perhaps initially the barn at Ednovean Farm wasn’t too promising as a home with a back wall that had collapsed, a front wall dangerous bowing “supported” with a natty iron cross and half of the roof on the upper story floor. The lower cow sheds were full of boat engines and there was a wrecked car abandoned beside a rock in the farmyard. – actually we still have the rock!
The barn went on to become a haven and sanctuary and centre for an equestrian business and of course many years later it was to become our home and the heart of our luxury Bed and Breakfast business
Converting the barn the ultimate recycling project for a building
When converting the building we saved as many of the original materials as we could, yet the lovely old ships timbers that served as beams in the main building, met with a bureaucratic challenge from the building inspector and so they were hoarded to one side and the best were reused later (decoratively) for our guest sitting room in the lower range of buildings.
Once they were reinstalled, I was thrilled to see a pebble I had first spotted when creosoting the beams as a teenager, was still wedged in a peg hole as I dutifully hand waxed the beams with 01 steel wool.
We managed to save enough of the original floorboard to make beautiful broad window sills, some still bearing the unmistakable traces of boring by ship’s beetles and probably the best beetle holes on in the Pink bathroom
The pink bedroom bathroom is reached by a narrow door framed by granite that had been worn smooth by centuries of farm workers walking through it to feed the animals. I sometimes like to imagine these long ago people ducking under the beams to cross the cobbled floor maybe with a lantern in their hands. There are more pictures of eh building conversion work on our “About Us” page
Sourcing reclaimed materials
If we could not reuse the original material we trawled reclamation yards and I can still remember the old slates that became our hall floor being merrily bounced off of the back of a pickup truck by the flamboyant, flip-flop clad Trader Gray.
Sanding, oiling and re-waxing doors and furniture became a way of life and I still love trawling sale rooms and bric-a-brac shops for pieces with the right look for us to up cycle with a painted finish.
Our mellow hall has mellowed over time with oiled and waxed beams complimenting the old flagstoned floor.
Simple everyday object that have finished one useful life can have new purpose and I delight in the unique. I was pleased recently to hear that the European Union were looking at the right to repair, as items have an increasingly short working life with no viable spare parts available to tradesmen.
Our beautiful Rayburn that should have lasted a lifetime is a great example of this – when it was only a year old I spotted it in the small ads of the local paper and hoarded it in a horse trailer for a year until the barn was ready for its kitchen. Then it was carefully lifted into place by the fork lift of a tractor and manhandled across the floor by two brothers. It sat gently warming our home and cooking breakfast for years until the time came to replace the burners and the gas fitter found them to be obsolete by as “Aga Rayburn had not renewed the patent” I haven’t given up yet though in my quest for reasonable repair!
The love of the handmade has led us to trace the unusual or commission the pieces we wanted whether they be statement pieces or decorative details – the gates to our garden formed from the old farmyard were made for us by an artisan blacksmith and even the hand painted tiles behind the kitchen’s Rayburn bought from Fired Earth are signed by the artist Linda Douglas.
Our garden over the years has gained many treasures too starting from the worn granite sets from the Old post office in Newlyn that from the entrance, to the granite blocks that edge the parterre that were reclaimed from Prince William yard in Plymouth
So generally my home at Ednovean has been an exercise in recycling, reclaiming and reworking before the idea off up recycling ever became fashionable with a little touch of the magpie collector thrown in too of course. Charles and I fell we know every stone and in truth we’ve probably moved most of them over teh years to make our home as it is today! The next step in the transition from historic barn to farmhouse was the landscaping of the old farmyard to settle the building in its new landscape and form a formal and sub tropical garden around the former farmyard