Touched by the plight of lambing sheep stranded on the Somerset Levels, Harold architect Joseph Blythe has applied to Harold Council for permission to convert his high-spec open-plan living accommodation back into the barn from which he created it a decade ago.
“It’s a long-term job that’s going to cost a lot of money,” he said, but remains undaunted by the scale of the project, which involves ripping out the balconied mezzanine above the main living area and replacing it with a simple hayloft and digging up the Italian stone floor tiles to create a soil-level sleeping area for the sheep.
“The current layout includes a downstairs cloakroom with shower, a wet-room style family bathroom upstairs and an en suite annexed to the master bedroom,” added Mr Blythe, “and I’ve drawn up plans to replace all these with a simpler, low-cost facility, fully-integrated within the all-in-one living, sleeping, birthing, feeding area. The sheep will love it.”
Harold Councillor Ron Ronnson has praised Mr Blythe for his humanitarianism. “He spent 17 years and many tens of thousands painstakingly converting a derelict barn into an award-winning eco-home with under-floor heating, external cedar cladding and floor-to-roofline triple-glazed windows. Fortunately, he kept the original rotten window frames and roof timbers in another old barn on the 2-acre site, so with any luck and a possible National Heritage grant, he should be able to restore the building to its former glory as a filthy ruin.”
In preparation for the work ahead, Mr Blythe and his wife Beryl and their two goats have already moved into the garden shed from where he’ll supervise the project. Local builders Herbert Fork and Sons will do most of the work and are currently recruiting labourers at £6.50 an hour. “It’ll be like working backwards in time,” said Mr Fork; “by the time we’re done, they’ll be lucky if they’re on a fiver a week.”