Real Homes: Ancient and Modern; Jane Gallagher Discovers the Ultimate in Modern Living Shrouded in the Bricks and Mortar of History

Article excerpt

Byline: Jane Gallagher

BUILT in 1709 the converted barn in Tarbock where Andy Milne lives in the rolling Merseyside countryside is steeped in history.

'When I bought the property it was derelict, there was a well outside and orchards. Buzzards flew overhead and when I closed my eyes I could imagine the Cavaliers and Roundheads stopping off for a sleep on the way to their next battle,' he laughs.

Today the barn, which has remained ageless on the outside, offers a contemporary surprise of modern, minimalist living on the inside.

There are no radiators in sight, concealed electric switches and the heat and lighting comes from an underfloor heating and an integrated lighting system which is controlled at the touch of a button.

Double-aspect triple-glazed windows of varying shapes and sizes allow the natural light to flood in while drowning out any exterior sound.

'It is very calm living here,' says Andy.

But converting a derelict property to this standard can't have been easy?

'It was a lot of hard work but thankfully because I am a partner in a development company, 3MB (named after the four partners, three whose names begin with M and one with B) we were able to develop the building to a high specification.'

Andy has lived in the four-bedroom property for two years now and the creation has obviously been a labour of love.

The whole decor of the master bedroom has been designed around the original beam work and joists including the delicate operation of carving a doorway through without damaging the framework.

The low leather bed gives a very definite masculine feel tothe room. The stunning steel and glass lighting system courtesy of Liverpool firm By Design works beautifully with the original beam and brickwork to create an individual style to the room.

Three further large bedrooms and a large en suite with all mod cons complete the first floor, which is accessed by an open plan oak staircase.

'I love the open-plan style of the house,' says Andy.

The front door opens into the mass of space which forms the living area and kitchen but the clever use of furniture and installation of glass blocks screen off the room artfully. …