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This historic farmhouse was only halfway through its conversion when a prospective owner fell for it hook, line and sinker Most prospective homeowners arrive at a property clutching a checklist of must-haves. An extra bedroom, a second bathroom, a garage, a view. While such lists can be helpful in narrowing down choice, when it comes to sealing the deal, it is often the heart which rules. It is claimed that the decision to buy a property is made within the first 11 seconds of stepping inside a house. Many homeowners report having a gut feeling that they have found “home” even before they have seen every room. This was the experience of Jane Cameron when she came to view the half-built property at Shovelboard Farm, Corsliehill Road, Houston, 11 years ago. A former working farm, the main building dates from 1863. A builder was mid-way through renovating it when Jane heard that it was up for sale and organised a visit. “I fell in love with it, even though it was in a state of disrepair,” she says. “I came back a few days later with my husband and children. At the time my husband worked at the airport which is 15 miles away, so it was perfect.” The ambience of the house is something which Jane still savours every day. “Anyone who has ever come into the house, be they workmen, friends or men to read the meter, says that it has a lovely warm, comfortable feeling. They say that when they come in, they feel so relaxed. It’s hard to describe it.” As someone who has always enjoyed living in the country, the setting was also a big draw. Shovelboard Farm enjoys a rural setting equidistant from the Renfrewshire villages of Houston, Kilmacolm and Bridge of Weir. “I just loved the location and could see what it was going to become, even thought it was only half-built. I could see its potential as a family , out in the country yet close to several villages. The place is usually very quiet. Sometimes all you can hear are the birds.” Amenities are close by, however. “Each of the villages has a post office and general facilities to get everything you need. If it’s just a quick shopping you want, everything is within three miles.” In keeping with its rural setting, the house has a wealth of features which evoke its rustic past. Several of the rooms benefit from natural stone walls including the large kitchen, family room and dining room, and these are complemented by a pale, neutral colour scheme throughout. The main reception room, once a stable and home to three generations of horses, has exposed stonework and an attractive beamed ceiling. For Jane, however, the kitchen is the best-loved part of the house. “I love my kitchen. It’s a great family kitchen and it’s got a lot of warmth from the Aga.” From here, it’s a step or two to the light-drenched sunroom which overlooks the garden, with its wealth of windows an beamed ceiling. Outside the house, old natural stone slabs have been fashioned into a south-facing patio. The entire back garden and the front of the house, has been landscaped and a focal point created in the form of a pond which is edged by a natural stone wall. An artificial waterfall cascades down a 20ft-high rockface which forms a natural border to one part of the garden. “From the top of the garden you look right down to the city,” Jane says. “At night, it’s lovely because you see all the lights.” Now, after a decade, the family is relocating back to England to be close to loved ones. “If I could pick the house up and take it with me I would. I’ll just need to find another house to fall in love with,” says Jane. WHAT A converted farmhouse with five bedrooms and three public rooms which sits in just under an acre of land with open views across the countryside. WHere On the outskirts of the Renfrewshire village of Houston. PRICE Offers over £525,000. CONTACT Corum: 01505 691400. Marisa Duffy.
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