Ali and Gary Baugh have sensitively restored and extended a listed Georgian farmhouse, creating a family home that exudes character.

Ali and Gary were seriously keen on plans to convert a derelict barn in the north of Lincolnshire, but were having real trouble pinning the developer down on price or specification. However, when they found out that the owner of the neighbouring farmhouse was willing to sell, they saw a way to create their ideal family home in the location they loved — despite first impressions that were less than encouraging.

“The house was an absolute mess,” Gary laughs. “But it was apparent that Ali fell in love with it straightaway. I was trying to tell her to keep quiet!” After a brave start at restoration, the last owner seemed to have withdrawn to live in one room and the rest had been let to migrant workers. “It wasn’t a prospect for the fainthearted, but I loved the Georgian style, the squareness of the rooms and the big sash windows,” Ali says. Another big plus was the size, Gary adds: “Having five children between us, we needed space, and this house is great for that. We can all come together yet each enjoy our own space too.”

When the couple moved in, the children were staying with Ali and Gary’s ex-partners: “We had two weeks to get their bedrooms ready, make the top floor habitable, and get all the bathrooms sorted,” says Ali.

Another pressing matter was to move an abandoned caravan, clear the thistle-packed land around the house, and find the garden boundary. At the same time, they worked on the hard landscaping, so that they would not be bringing mud onto their newly laid floors.

While the serious renovation work was under way – laying new oak flooring, repairing and restoring the woodwork, plastering, wiring and redecorating each of the rooms – the old farmhouse kitchen became the family HQ. “We lived without a proper kitchen for ages but the children loved it,” says Ali.

The couple have been careful to stay true to the spirit of the original house. “Where we’ve replaced the floors, we’ve used oak in random widths – some wide, some narrow – and finished them with Danish oil,” says Ali. “The people who did the woodwork have become friends because they have been here so often. They made the window seats and the deep skirting boards.”

The same attention to detail applied to their most recent project: the new extension. “The planners were really good, but they made sure we used the right materials,” says Gary. “We had to take a sample of the brick in along with a sample of the roof tiles, which are reclaimed and were really difficult to source.

While the couple’s careful restoration has rescued the farmhouse, the new addition has opened up their view across fields to the west and provided the Baugh family house with its perfect finishing touch. “We get the most amazing sunsets here, and now we can see them!” says Ali. “I wouldn’t want to move from here. I am not one to finish a project and want to move onto something else. What we have done has added a lot of value, but our aim was to make it our home.”

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