Scottish couple reveal how they turned an empty eight-acre field they got for FREE in the 1990s into a grand home worth £950,000 – complete with its own PUB
- Property developer Roy Murray, 66, and wife Linda, 63, built home in Cornhill area of Banff in Aberdeenshire
- They swapped plot of land worth £50,000 for one they already owned and built livable house in the 1990s
- Spent last 20 years adding improvements to house and eight-acre plot of land, now selling for £950,000
A couple have shared how they transformed an empty field into an amazing family home now on the market for £950,000.
Roy Murray, 66, a property developer, and his wife Linda, 63, a retired pharmacist, bought the land in the 1990s after having their daughter Fiona, now 30.
Located in the Cornhill area of Banff in Aberdeenshire, the couple set about building their dream home using salvaged materials – particularly granite.
While they were able to obtain the eight-acre site for free – by swapping a piece of land they owned for it – Roy estimates it was worth £50,000 – or an estimated £120,000 with planning permission.
Roy Murray, 66, a property developer, and his wife Linda, 63, a retired pharmacist, bought the land in the 1990s, located in the Cornhill area of Banff in Aberdeenshire
Roy and Linda spent the last 20 years improving their home, even creating their very own pub for entertaining on the basement floor
The generously-sized kitchen looks over the eight-acre garden and includes a swanky blue central island with two hobs and marble-like counter tops
One of the seven en-suite bedrooms includes a little nook with a reading bench by the window and a king size bed with a velvet bedframe
The family even created a man-made pond, pictured while it was being formed. It is now a lovely sight, surrounded by bushes on the left of the house
The family spent five years building a livable home, spending the remaining years slowly transforming it into the incredible property that stands today.
They built the basement and main house structure first, as well as creating an access road.
They also hired a bulldozer to sculpt the land and build a three-quarters-of-an-acre pond with an island.
‘We started with 2.5 acres and started to collect salvaged materials such as granite, pitch pine, different features that could be used,’ Roy said.
The couple spent 30 years improving the home after acquiring the land in the 1990s. It includes a caretaker house and a workshop
Roy estimated the land was worth £50,000 – or an estimated £120,000 with planning permission when he and Linda got it for free by swapping it for another plot of land they owned. They quickly got building a basic structure they could live in
The basis of the house as the couple worked to build it in the 1990s. At first, they only focused on building a basic house they could live in
‘A lot of materials had to be from salvage. I know where every stone came from.
‘The granite was bought in Aberdeen for £3 per stone for the main building, but all the ornate stone such as circular windows, sills, lintels, mullions, banding and the like was free, other than the haulage as it was surplus to requirement.’
In 2000, the house was complete enough to move into and they lived on site while making changes as and when they could afford it.
The cosy lounge comes with high ceillings, beautiful moldings and French windows. It includes built-in storage and a fireplace
The home – called Canterbury House – now features seven en-suite bedrooms, two separate bathrooms, as well as an adjacent two-bedroom caretaker house and large workshop.
The aim was to create a new build with the character of a Victorian home.
Roy said: ‘We wanted to create a Victorian-style house that looked 100 years old, but was in fact a new build with modern insulation, integrated vacuum, heat recovery system, walk in chill and had Cat 5 computer cabling in all rooms.
‘We were lucky to have a family friend who probably had the best antique furniture shop, located in a church, north of Edinburgh and she helped a lot with Victorian furniture.
The dining-room was painted in green and overlooks the family’s terrace at the back of the house. The house was furnished with traditional pieces of furniture
Upstairs, the staircase leads to a small lobby with period paintings and novelty décor. The windows offer a beautiful views of the garden
The bedroom are all of a nice size and thanks to the orientation of the property, they welcome plenty of light. This was painted in neutral magnolia, which matches the cream carpets
‘The final part of the project was the art and we had a good friend who was an amazing artist and created some great Victorian style paintings.’
The whole house, including the adjacent caretaker house, comes to approximately 691 m2.
Surrounded by countryside, visitors are greeted with a large driveway leading to the sprawling home.
Inside, the property is decorated with plush furnishings with large bay windows taking full advantage of the rural views.
A particular highlight is the pub, found within the main house building and complete with traditional-style seating, a full-size pool table, large screen for watching sporting events, and a well-stocked bar.
The house took years to build. The couple bought the empty land when their daughter Fiona was just a baby. Here she is as a child lying on granite used to build the house
The property, which is called Canterbury House, comes with an adjacent two-bedroom caretaker house and large workshop, pictured
Overall, the couple estimates they have spent £750,000 over the years, spending the money and making changes as and when they could.
They estimate 60% of the costs were spent on labour – hiring professional help when needed – and 40 per cent on materials.
Roy said: ‘A 691 m2 house in granite would cost circa £1.6 million to build, but we did it much cheaper as I did a lot of the work and we had our own plant and scaffolding.
‘That’s a good tip for home builders: buy a digger before you start, it can manhandle materials on pallets, excavate, move earth, etc.
The master bedroom comes with an en-suite bathroom of comfortable size. In total, the property counts seven en-suite bedrooms
The couple made their home’s doors out of reclaimed wood in a workshop off-site and they were later brought to the property to be fitted
The home’s very own pub comes with a bar and a magnificent pool table, a drum set as well as a score board and extra sitting for guests
‘If maintained it will fetch the same price upon completion – it’s much cheaper than hiring.
‘Having a knowledge of cost and construction helped. Although at the beginning I couldn’t afford to chase my dream, but somehow we did it.’
The family are thrilled with the finished project and, after more than two decades, have decided to move on and sell it.
An aerial view of the house, with the caretaker’s home on the left side of the property, the main house and its workshop and a man-made lake on the right
Roy said: ‘The satisfaction of having a unique house, and watching people’s expression when they see the 100m2 bar is great.
‘We loved every part of the house and it’s great when all the bedrooms are full. It truly is a party house and we’ve had live bands playing a lot.
‘It will be a landmark long after I am gone.’
The property is currently on the market with Purplebricks for £950,000.
The yellow reception room with period furniture and mouldings on the ceilling, which was propped with a chandelier to give the house a statelu home feel
The outside of the house is made of granite which was brought from Aberdeen. Roy, pictured with Linda and Isla, left, said knowing about construction helped him build his dream home
The house behind a granite fence also built by Roy and Linda. A large parking area is accessible on the right side of the property
The cornices in the house were placed by Roy and his team when the house was build. The one pictured if the first that was ever installed
Roy and Linda in the blue kitchen they built themselves for the house, which includes several marble worktops, storage and two ovens
The lobby of the house is covered in traditional red carpet and includes a wooden staircase leading to the upper floors of the property
Roy and his daughter Fiona as a child looking at the builders pouring concrete to create the floor of Canterbury House’s basement
Roy had a ‘topping out’ ceremony with champagne when the frame of the house’s roof was built in the 1990s. But a lot of work remained to be done
The house’s skeleton before the window and the roof were placed. The house’s exterior was covered in blocks of granite to spruce things up
Roy and builders set up the stair stringers with pitch pine to link the downstairs part of the house to the upper floor leading to the rooms
The exterior of the house and its garage once the team was done with covering it with blocks of granite. The house still needed a roof and windows
One of the main house’s rooms is used as an office for property developer Roy, who oversaw the creation of the property from start to finish
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