Designed to entertain

Words by:
Sarah Winstanley
Featured in:
October 2012

For years Trevor Marris and his wife Barbara had a vision of their dream home, but never imagined it existed.
The house, on a hillside among the trees, with a stream below it and within walking distance of Louth seemed an impossibility until Trevor’s chance conversation with his friend, architect Eric Cooper in 1989. At the time Eric said he needed some more work and joked that Trevor should buy a plot of land so that he could draw up the plans for it.

But Trevor replied that his dream plot didn’t exist. When he explained his requirements, Eric told him about a plot at Welton Springs, Welton-le-Wold, two miles from Louth, that fitted like a glove.

“The land had recently been bought at auction by a man from Grimsby who had then put it straight back on the market because his wife refused to move,” said Trevor, a twice former Mayor of Louth who has been a councillor on Louth Town Council for the last fourteen years.

“I’d seen a chalk driveway being laid on the site many months before but didn’t realise the potential of the land itself.”

At the time, the couple were busy working in their business T Marris Carpets on Eastgate, Louth. Trevor had been a carpet fitter for forty-four years and the shop, which he has owned for thirty-one years, is now run by his son Colin.

Trevor said: “When I told Barbara about the land, she was a bit upset because we’d just got our house in Louth the way we wanted it, but we came to have a look at it. We drove up one summer’s evening and couldn’t believe our eyes; it was what we’d always dreamed of.

“Even though it was expensive, there wasn’t another plot like it and we couldn’t afford to miss it.”

The couple immediately put their home on the market and bought the land in 1990, yet because of the recession it took time for their house to sell. In the meantime, they concentrated on demolishing the derelict cottage that was on the plot and preparing the land for the building work. They also created entertaining areas and woodland paths leading to the stream fed lake.

Trevor said: “At one time the lake would have been very large, but it was silted up by the stream. We dug the lake out to the gravel bed, diverted the stream around it and dug it out again.

“We didn’t want the land to look over gardened so we decided to keep it looking natural by planting thousands of bulbs. We planted snowdrops, bluebells, daffodils and wild violets so there is year round interest under the trees.”

One particular feature of the gardens is a thirty foot replica of Alford’s Five Sailed Windmill which was built by Colin around ten years ago. Trevor explained: “Barbara and I had filled the lake with trout and were talking one day about how we needed a pump to aerate the water. We said a small windmill would be a good idea and my son was listening.

“Four or five months later we came home and he had built a model windmill and put it on the bank of the lake. He intended to fix a pump to it but never got round to it and over the years the windmill rotted and fell down.

“So I suggested he build a proper windmill further away from the lake and he set to and built one!”

He added: “I get bored easily so we do something every year to improve the garden. Last year we rebuilt the bridge over the lake and this year we installed a keyhole brick structure as a gateway to the lake.”

When work finally began on the new build in 1993, it took local builder Graham Vickers just five months to create their home to their specifications.

The four bedroomed house is accessed via a sweeping driveway through mature trees, past the lake and onto a circular drive with plenty of parking space, a triple garage, double carport and a caravan port. The house itself sits on a raised plateau giving views of the surrounding farm and parkland through the mature oak, elm, chestnut and sycamore trees.

Inside, an entrance lobby leads into a grand, square hall with a hardwood staircase rising to the first floor galleried landing. The drawing room has views of the gardens and surrounding countryside, an ornate working fireplace and doors leading into the dining room.

The spacious kitchen/living room has a seating area to one side with a log burning stove and patio doors, while the kitchen features recently refurbished timber units, a Rangemaster oven and a useful utility room.

Glazed double doors lead from the kitchen into the snooker/games room which is large enough for a full-sized snooker table and seating. There is also an antique cast iron fireplace with an open fire and French doors leading to the rear patio.

Upstairs, the master bedroom is large enough for storage and a seating area with views of the countryside, gardens and lake and has an en suite shower room. There are a further three bedrooms and potential to create a fifth bedroom or extra bathroom in space above the snooker room.

The couple are keen entertainers who have raised £17,500 over the years for local charities through barbeques with up to 130 invited guests, so it was important their home was suitable for entertaining large numbers. During the events, their neighbour, farmer Charles Dobson, allows guests to park their cars on his field and a sixty-by-forty-foot marquee takes pride of place on one of the lawns.

“From our experience entertaining, we knew that people tend to want to congregate in the kitchen,” said Trevor. “So we designed the house so that the living room is off the kitchen, then people can eat in the dining room before retiring to the lounge next door.

“I already had a small snooker room in our previous house and I wanted one that we could access easily when we had guests. The whole house works extremely well.”

The couple moved in to their home in July 1993 and haven’t looked back since. The house’s location on the A157 meant it was easy to get to their shop either by car or on foot.

“It’s very peaceful here but you never feel isolated because the main road is at the end of the drive,” said Trevor.

It was also the perfect home for their son Colin and daughter Samantha to grow up in and with three garages and a carport it made the ideal place for Trevor to enjoy his hobby of building and restoring cars. He and Barbara have run the successful Louth Classic Car Show for the last fourteen years and Trevor is currently building a special 1935 Morris 8 shooting break car.

Over the years, Trevor has thrown himself into community life, having been a member of Louth Chamber of Business for twenty-five years with fourteen years as president, a member of the Louth Regeneration Partnership for fifteen years and a town councillor.

Now however, after retiring from the business last year, Trevor has given up most of his civic responsibilities to enjoy his time with Barbara.

“Barbara and I have known each other since school and like each other’s company very much,” said Trevor. “We never bothered with time away when we were running the business so we have thirty years of holidays to catch up on.”

The couple have also decided that the time is right to downsize and have put their home on the market.

“We’ve been in this house longer than any other but it doesn’t seem like it,” said Trevor. “Every day is like a Sunday here.”

• Spring Lodge at Welton Springs, Welton-le-Wold near Louth is on the market with Masons Chartered Surveyors, Louth for £695,000. For more information contact the estate agents on (01507) 350514.

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