Oswestry couple's labour of love on TV show Restoration Home

Oswestry | News | Published:

[gallery] When Alex Glenn and Martin Boakes fell in love with a dilapidated Shropshire farmhouse, they knew it would take a lot of work to transform it into their dream home.

Restoration project –?Alex and Glenn at the house

And after spending £228,500 buying Rock Farm in St Martin's, near Oswestry, they undertook a 300-mile round trip from their home in Bedfordshire virtually every weekend over the next 10 months so they could work on it.

But now their efforts are complete – and tomorrow (Wednesday) night viewers can follow their adventure when the story of Rock Farm is told on BBC2 show Restoration Home at 8pm.

Alex said: "We first viewed the house on June 19, 2011. It had been vacant for five years but had been falling into disrepair for longer.

"Absolutely everything needed replacing but as we reached the third floor and looked out at the view both Martin and I looked at each other and said, 'We're going to buy aren't we?'

The couple's living room today

"We had both fallen in love with it and from there the huge overhaul started.

"There was no kitchen, no bathroom, the roof was leaking, the chimney was falling down, the floor boards needed replacing and we needed new windows.

"We were basically building a new house but from an existing structure. But we loved the design and the original building so much we made sure we stayed true to its original style."


Alex added: "My family moved to Shropshire 12 years ago and we love the area so really wanted to move up here.

"It was incredibly hard being so far away and it meant travelling up virtually every Friday so we could do jobs around the house.

"At one stage I thought we were both just crazy fools. But when we first saw the house, despite it being run down, damp and draughty, it still felt incredibly warm.

"We could tell it had once been a very happy home and to us it felt like home."


The couple employed builder Glynne Williams, from Ellesmere, to oversee all the work in their absence.

Mr Williams said: "It was a really interesting and challenging project.

How the living room looked as restoration got under way

"It was a building that hadn't been touched for many years and was in a bad state.

"It needed a lot of repair work to bring it to fairly modern standards while retaining the Grade II listed features.

"I've been in the trade for more than 40 years and am used to doing extensions and alterations but this was a really hard task and it was great when we got to the final month and could witness it all coming together.

"Now it's complete it's absolutely beautiful."

Weeks after buying the house, the couple were contacted by television firm Endemol to see if they would like to appear on Restoration Home.

The programme, which is presented by Caroline Quentin, is launching its third series tomorrow night by telling the story of Rock Farm.

"Three weeks after we completed we had a call from the estate agents which I thought was a little strange," Alex said.

"They said Endemol had been following the progress of the house and wanted us to feature on the show.

"Our friends and family had actually said we should apply to go on Grand Designs but, perhaps naively, we didn't think what we were doing would be that grand.

"The thing that swayed it for us was that they said they would find out the history of the house and document the build which was great as we were missing out on a lot living so far away.

"It was a great experience and enjoyable to be a part of. It just helped make a special project a tad more special."

Alex added: "We're getting married in August. That's our next project. After that I think it's time we stop and just enjoy our wonderful home."

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