Former GloryPeering through a tangle of overgrown trees to catch a glimpse of a lofty Victorian rectory, nestling on the side of a hill, and boasting spectacular, panoramic views over Belfast Lough, Jacqui’s interest was instantly piqued.
Strolling into the damp, neglected property that had been languishing on the market for eight years, the seasoned renovator immediately succumbed, declaring that the soulless, dilapidated house simply had to be restored to its former glory.
In 2015, when Jacqui and her husband, Peter decided to relocate from London to their native Northern Ireland, with their sons Charlie, 11, and Ben, nine, her quest to track down a coastal abode proved fruitless until, in a serendipitous moment, she uncovered the ideal project. Ironically, a surveyor friend’s revelation that the derelict rectory exemplified all the structural problems he’d ever encountered, only served to make this imperturbable couple even more determined to tackle the monumental challenge. Mindful of preserving and enhancing its plethora of period features, Jacqui’s vision for the crumbling rectory centred on rejigging the layout to create a relaxed, fit-for-purpose family home.
Determined to use every room regularly, the banking lawyer wanted to replace a quirky lean-to structure at the rear of the house with a light-filled family room, and reconfigure the rest of the downstairs layout to create a larger kitchen plus a study for working from home.
Read more in the April issue…