Most of us would shudder at the thought of transforming a crumbling, structurally unsound ruin into a home, especially doing it yourself and on an extremely tight budget. Yet adventurous, super optimistic young Cumbrian couple Rob and Ruth have fallen in love with such a building: a 200-year-old former Blacking Mill that’s also been made a scheduled ancient monument by Historic England. Having purchased the site for £110,000, their bold vision is to conserve as much of the original structure as possible and within the walls slot in an entirely new timber clad, sharp edged modern building - giving the impression that it’s peeping out from the original craggy mill ruins. They hope to complete this epic, complicated restoration and new build hybrid in 18 months, with just £250,000.
But Rob and Ruth’s optimism is tested to the limit straight away when Historic England tell them the Blacking Mill is too dangerous to repair. Suddenly pitched into Plan B, Rob and Ruth are required to painstakingly re-build the ancient mill-buildings around their new timber-frame structure. Short of money, trying to do as much as they can themselves and faced by a series of setbacks, the project drags inexorably on. In the end the question still remains, once finished, what will be left of the ruin’s original atmospheric magic...
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