Viewers of George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations slammed a couple who spent £357,000 ‘destroying’ a 200-year-old barn to turn it into a ‘featureless’ new build.
Erin and Olly, from Harrogate, spent their inheritance on the run-down building in September 2019 and dreamed of turning it into a gorgeous country home that Erin’s late father would be proud of.
The couple appeared on the Channel 4 programme last night, transforming the derelict dung-filled building into a contemporary home with the help of Olly’s father, Gerry.
But viewers were left aghast over the build, with many suggesting the couple had ‘ruined’ the building. One commented: ‘What happened to the character then? I feel a bit sad for that building. Looks like a new build now.’
Viewers of George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations slammed Erin and Olly, from Harrogate, who appeared on the show last night and spent £357,000 ‘destroying’ a 200-year-old barn to turn it into a ‘featureless’ new build (pictured, the snug of their home)
Viewers were left aghast over the build, with many suggesting the couple had ‘ruined’ the building (pictured, the dining room and staircase)
Olly and Erin, who is from Canada, met on their travels several years ago and had always rented. But after Erin lost her father in 2018, the couple decided they wanted to put down their roots and furfil their dream of moving to the country.
Using money from her inheritance, they decided to buy the barn for £400,000. They planned to restore the barn and rebuild the dilapidated section at one end to create a trendy modern extension.
Olly, a financial adviser, said the property was what they had always dreamed of, while Erin added: ‘We wanted a project, we wanted something to make our own.’
He explained: ‘I’m very lucky my father is a developer so he knows what he’s doing to some extent.’
Inside, the barn was full of dung, feeding troughs and stables. Both the ground floor and first floor were divided by a central wall to create two separate areas.
George confessed a lot of the building was ‘just knackered’ and needed to be completely replaced to make it the home the couple had always dreamed about.
The couple bought the barn for £400,000 and spent over £350,000 renovating the property into a modern light-filled space (pictured, the main living room)
Meanwhile the master bedroom was also decked out with white walls, simplistic pine furnishings and neutral accessories (pictured)
Olly admitted: ‘We want the outside to look as it does.’
Meanwhile Erin said: ‘I want to conserve as much of the charm as possible because that’s what we fell in love with.’
Downstairs the space would double in size, with the rebuilt space creating a plant room and a snug. The plant room would house a new ground source heat pump. It would transfer thermal energy stored in the ground to heat the barn – but could cost anything up to £18,000.
The couple admitted they feared the extension could cost £25,000, forcing them to budget more elsewhere.
Using money from her inheritance, they decided to buy the barn for £400,000 (left). They restored the barn and rebuild the dilapidated section at one end to create a trendy modern extension (right)
Meanwhile upstairs, there would be two bedrooms and a master bedroom with its own walk in wardrobe and en suite.
They explained their budget for the renovation was £325,000 but George was unsure it was enough to cover the enormous amount of work they needed to do on the barn.
He warned: ‘It is a healthy budget but as you know the building is in a terrible shape.’
Just two weeks after they get the keys, the build was well underway.
Many of those watching were left stunned by the renovation, calling it ‘soulless’ and suggesting the interiors resembled a ‘featureless new build’ home
Erin said: ‘We started the build last week so we’re in the very early stages. I just watch the magic unfold, I don’t get my hands dirty with anything.’
Olly’s father Gerry was spearheading the renovation mission and was very much hands-on as they started by excavating 100 tonnes of rubble.
He appeared positive about the build, saying: ‘The ground we’ve encountered is good ground. Now we’re goin gto establish a new ground-floor level of barn.’
A month later, the old corrugated iron roof had been stripped and the rotten trusses have been removed.
Inside, the barn was full of dung, feeding troughs and stables. Both the ground floor and first floor were divided by a central wall to create two separate areas (pictured,. the downstairs before)
Meanwhile the upstairs space was unstable and many of the original features had to be stripped away after George Clarke deemed them ‘knackered’
But five months in and the building looked like more of a ruin than when George previously visited.
After visiting the couple in January 2020, he said: ‘It’s hard to imagine that this is going to be your home.’
Meanwhile Gerry told George the period was ‘crunchtime’, adding: ‘It’s the most critical time. I take it as a personal responsibility, even more so than building for a client out there in the big wide world. It’s that family pressure.
Work on the roof continued, and with full steam ahead inside, things started to take shape. The team plaster-boarded and insulated inside before they begin skimming.
Olly revealed his and Erin’s delight as the build continued at a pace, saying: ‘I’m excited to see where our rooms are going to be, we’ve started picking out our bathrooms and kitchens.’
The tumbledown wreck of a barn was unrecognisable after the renovation, with handmade bookcases lining the walls and a green kitchen (pictured)
Upstairs, the couple built a glass panel into the corridor of their hallway and kept more of the building’s original character with wooden beams (pictured)
Erin added: ‘There haven’t been many hiccups. I think we’re ahead of schedule, which is amazing.’
But weeks later, the pandemic forced the site to shut down.
With delays in deliveries, a pandemic and a bitter winter, Gerry admitted the build had become a struggle to finish.
He told George: ‘We’ve taken three months out of it because of Covid. There’s been a knock on effect getting key trade back. Everything externally is done. It’s kept the character of the barn and the surroundings, we just need to push on internally now.’
Meanwhile Olly revealed it hadn’t been smooth sailing working with his father on the build, saying: ‘There’s been some yelling matches sometimes.’
George said he was totally blown away by the couple’s clever transformation of the barn, and hailed them for creating a contemporary home in the 200-year-old building
Months later, George arrived to see if the couple had finished the project and was totally blown away.
Erin said: ‘I still can’t believe it, when we drive down the road I feel like – oh my god, I can’t believe that’s my house.’
The tumbledown wreck of a barn was unrecognisable, with handmade bookcases lining the walls and a gorgeous green kitchen.
And at the other end of the building, the hay filled barn had been transformed into an stunning lounge with a statement fireplace filling the space.
Upstairs, the couple went all out with their luxuries including a spacious walk in dressing room leading to a high spec en-suite and a sauna (pictured, George Clarke in the couple’s sauna)
Upstairs, the couple went all out with their luxuries including a spacious walk in dressing room leading to a high spec en-suite and a sauna.
Gerry said: ‘We just get on and aim to do it as quickly as we can. I am Dad and this is a legacy to the family. I’m enjoying them enjoying it, basically.’
Meanwhile Erin revealed: ‘It’s getting more real now, although all through the build it wasn’t. There’s going to be so many memories made at this table.’
But after George pushed the couple about the budget, Erin confessed they were ‘definitely over’.
Olly went on to say they spent 10 per cent more than they originally planned adding final features including the sauna and fireplace.
And Erin revealed it was only thanks to Olly’s father Gerry, adding: ‘If we tried to do it ourselves it would have been 110 per cent over budget.’
However viewers were baffled by the couple’s renovation, with one writing: ‘Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not finding any of these builds ‘remarkable’. They’re all rather pedestrian – so far. Over budget and underwhelming.’
Another wrote: ‘It’s pretty soulless downstairs for a barn conversion.’
A third added: ‘Each to their own obviously but do feel the uniqueness of this house has been completely lost inside.’
Another said: ‘It’s an uncomfortable watch seeing them destroy a lovely character building and turning it into a featureless house.’
Viewers of George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations slam couple for ‘destroying’ barn