From derelict to dream home

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A Horsham man reveals to Charlotte Harding how he made a derelict house a home.

Looking for your new dream home but being faced with a derelict building could put many people off.

Not Peter Rice, when he saw Pondtail Cottage in Horsham all he saw was potential.

“It hadn’t been lived in for a while so was pretty run down,” he recalls.

“But we could see what could be done with it.

“My friends thought I was mental as we were leaving a new build in Southwater to a two up two down Victorian house that needed a lot of work.”

Peter bought the home in 1998, and says that it was ‘pretty much liveable’.

The plan for the family was to start with one room and then work on the rest of the house.

“The first one we did was a bedroom,” he explains.

“We did it this way so we had refuge from all the mess surrounding us.”

Once this was done Peter moved on to an extension on the rear and side which added the kitchen, garage and a further two bedrooms one with ensuite.

This then meant they had a liveable space while they carried out work on the rest of the house which saw them rewire, replumb and install new heating throughout.

“We didn’t have many original features as the people before took a lot out,” explains Peter.

“We did, however, find some old fireplaces which we used from a house that was renovated in Horsham and installed them.”

Having lived in the home for nearly 20 years Peter revealsthey have recently re-configured the house.

“As the kitchen was at the back it had really beautiful views of the fields which, when the horses are in, is stunning,” adds Peter.

“We decided that to truly take advantage of this we moved the lounge to the back and put the kitchen in the middle.”

It is these views and the home’s rural location that appealed to Peter when he was looking to move.

“The house in Southwater was nice but from every window you were looking at someone’s home,” he says.

“Here all you see is fields, you have the road at the front but mostly it is fields and the area is relatively quiet.”

As to what he will miss the most, the views are mentioned again.

“I love the area and our neighbours,” he says.

“My favourite room is the lounge because you have the stunning views, but I think my wife would say her favourite room is the master bedroom as we have recently added a walk-in wardrobe and a walk-in shower as we realised no one really used the bath.”

On the first floor is four bedrooms including the master bedroom which has a spiral staircase to the ensuite bathroom.

The landing on this floor is naturally lit part galleried, which also leads to the family bathroom.

The ground floor has the new configured layout, you step into entrance hall which has doors leading to the dining room, kitchen and lounge in the back.

Peter adds that there is currently an application for the integral garage next to the lounge to be changed into another reception room with plans for a separate garage on the site.

The kitchen and dining room also have doors which lead into one another.

Found in Langhurstwood Road Peter says it is within walking distance to Horsham, where you can find a selection of high street and independent retailers.

“You can walk into town, which we quite often do,” he smiles.

There is also a leisure centre with swimming pool close to Horsham Park and the Capitol which has a cinema and theatre.

Horsham railway station also has a direct line to Gatwick, and London Victoria.

It is clear the house holds a special place in the hearts of the Rice family, and they are sad to be leaving it behind.

“We love this house,” says Peter.

“But we are moving to Australia so won’t need it any more which is a shame.

“There is a lot of us in this house as we have lived here for such a long time.

“It is only because we are moving to Australia that we are going. We will really miss the UK, the views and our neighbours.”

For a rural escape with a bustling market town nearby Pondtail Cottage offers a family home with a room with a view.

Pondtail Cottage is on the market for a guide price of £675,000 with Brock Taylor, 2 - 6 East Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1HL, 01403 272022,

This is featured in the April edition of etc Magazine which is out now.