annabelle’s home

I didn’t buy a house when I bought Norcliffe, I bought a story. The previous owners had shared forty happy and homely years here and the feeling of ever-lasting happiness hit you as you walked through the door.

Yes, it required extensive building work – it had a yellow bath suite and collections of spiders between the glass and the extra layer of Perspex that had been fitted to every window and really smelt of damp. It needed a whole new roof, underpinning, a full re-wire and a new central heating system plus an extension. But it had a soul.

I made it my task to renovate the property in line with what I could immediately envisage would work really well, but also in a way that would protect this story – in doing so creating something even more special which exudes permenance, character and comfort.


How did I do it and what did I learn?

  • I learnt exactly what it was I was buying. I checked the properties orientation as a South or West facing rear garden are the only aspects worth buying – having the sun shine in the larger areas of glazing to the rooms on the rear of the house and having the sunny-spot outside the kitchen an easy skip from the house is essential in the UK. I also visited the Planning Portal and checked the property’s planning history on the Local Authority’s website, considered the applications I would require and worked out if they were feasible. Lastly, I talked to the vendors often, having originally approached them directly this was easy – I had the chance to drink tea and eat crumpets with them many times learning so much, as after all I wanted to ensure a good project lay ahead.
  • I respected all the moments the house had created. The sun rose over the kitchen terrace at the perfect time for breakfast in the garden whilst Maggie & Marshall’s favourite spot at 6pm was having a bath with a G&T together after a hard days gardening – here the large window seat they had created was perfect for the last of the day’s sun rays. So I recreated every space that they had loved using with the very same uses – and I love them too – for they had found the very best spots for me already! Almost everything you see in the photos had to be re-built but with this method the house added much to the design. There are so many more really successful intermediate spaces, which bring additional layers of joy – nothing has been forgotten – the house is so easy to enjoy.
  • I cherished the garden.  Mature planting and a real setting to a property are worth so much. My overgrown wonderland provided me with lots of garden to choose carefully from to reveal, retain or re-work. I didn’t have to start from scratch and if I had been ruthless in the early days I would still have been waiting for it to mature in 5-10 years’ time. It had been designed very well too. It has a selection of ‘outdoor rooms’. I have inherited vines, shrubs, ponds, benches, sculptures, beautiful Cheshire railings around it all and a magnificent 50ft climbing rose. All wonderful except the bramble hedge blocking the view of the fields and parkland to the rear which for me just had to go! The one other thing I added straight after the building work? A large delivery of turf which instantly turned a building site back into a home. Invaluable.


If you would like us to fully renovate a property for you with extraordinary care and thought, we can be reached by phone on 01625 528925, email at or via Facetime.