Crumbling 18th century manor saved from wreck and ruin after amazing transformation
A couple saved a ‘crumbling’ 18th century mansion from wreck and ruin in an incredible three-year transformation.
Katie and Lester Bayfield said Salhouse Hall near Norwich, Norfolk, had been empty for 30 years before they snapped it up.
Decades of neglect meant the pair had to completely gut the home, replacing the ceilings, walls and floors.
The home, which was previously boarded up, is now unrecognisable and even features a cinema and an arcade.
Describing the mammoth task they initially faced, Lester told The Mirror: “Everything we touched fell apart. We completely gutted it.
“We replaced floors, walls and put in new ceilings. We saved it from ruin. I don’t know how long it would have survived.
“The outside still has the original castellated rooftop. We have restored all of the fireplaces and kept the original features.
“It’s like a stately home but the inside is very contemporary.”
Katie added: “Everyone describes it as a ‘little castle’.”
The couple also added some modern features to the home by replacing one of the bathrooms with a cinema room and installing an arcade, complete with 2p pushers and pinball machines, outside.
The manor was originally acquired by Robert Ward in 1712, however it was in the hands of a local farmer by the time Katie and Lester stumbled upon it.
Lester, 55, said: “We saw it a few years ago when we were searching for derelict properties online. We wanted a project and approached him (the owner) and asked him if he’d sell it.”
The couple struck a deal with the farmer and finally took ownership of the property in 2017, before starting renovation work the same year.
Initially, they converted one of the outbuildings into a home which they lived in while renovating the main house.
Lester, who runs Norfolk Barn Specialists Limited, tasked his workers with helping to restore the property.
It was an exciting new job for his employees, who are used to restoring barns instead of mansions.
They finally finished the transformation last year and they now believe the home is worth millions.
Reflecting on the huge project, interior designer Katie said: “All our friends and family thought we were crazy taking on this place.
“It was a big project. Everything crumbled. You had to be carful where you were walking as there were holes in the floor. All the windows were boarded up. But we saw the potential in it.”
Lester even bought a herd of deer for the property’s 30-acre grounds – and created an incredible courtyard in the back garden.
The couple have also turned the estate into a moneymaker by converting the outbuildings into holiday cottages.
Meanwhile, Lester, Katie and their three children now live in the main house, which has five bedrooms with an en-suite in each.
The family previously owned the nearby Hautbois Hall, which they turned into a wedding venue.
They decided to sell the home because they wanted their young children to have the freedom to play outside without disrupting a wedding.