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Words: Sarah Winstanley
Photography: Courtesy of Mount and Minster
Featured in the April 2016 issue

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When Daymon and Jessica Nicolson decided they wanted a large family home, they began their search in Lincolnshire.

The couple, who lived in Oxfordshire at the time, where property is expensive, put a pin in the map to find affordable houses within commuting distance of London where Daymon worked. After visiting just four houses, they fell in love with Field House Farm at Brant Broughton, near Lincoln.

The Victorian farmhouse had been owned by a local farmer who lived in the property as a child.

Jessica said: “We fell in love with the house when we walked round it, which was surprising because it was in a real state of disrepair and we weren’t looking to do any work. It had a lovely feel to it and the way it was laid out just flowed.”

The couple, who have two children Jasmina (15) and Logan (13) and a chocolate Labrador called Meg, made an offer immediately and moved into the house as soon as contracts were exchanged in 2006.

Jessica, who works as a self-employed psychotherapist, said: “The house needed everything doing to it but everything worked so we were able to move in. It was pretty cold though because the boiler was ginormous and would have cost too much to turn on.

“We brought people in to do the work because we’re not DIYers at all!”

The first job was to knock down a wall between the kitchen and utility room to make one large kitchen and then convert a former outside toilet and storeroom into a utility room. The bespoke kitchen was designed by Hill Farm Furniture at Dry Doddington, near Newark. Jessica said: “We wanted the kitchen to be really simple and farmhouse in style and we think it really works well.”

While the work on the kitchen was being completed, they installed new electrics, new plumbing, new bathrooms – keeping a couple of the large, old fashioned sinks – and new flooring.

“We moved out and stayed in Newark for quite a while when they did the flooring,” said Jessica. “In fact, we were only here during the damp proofing and decorating; for most of the dirty work we were out of the house.”

Despite the house’s stylish interiors, Jessica modestly assures that it just evolved: “We like the Farrow and Ball colours and so we got a palette and chose from there. We are very spontaneous and didn’t think about it too much. Once the colour scheme was in place, the rest just came together from bits and pieces that we bought.

“The house works brilliantly as a family home because it’s really large and well laid out. For us with teenagers, the house is usually full of their friends at the weekends but that’s fine because you don’t really hear them and it’s nice knowing they are at home and not somewhere you don’t know.

“It’s been great because I can drop Daymon at the train station at Newark for his commute to London in just one hour and twenty-two minutes and then I can be out with the dog or in the fields and I could be a million miles away. It’s a really beautiful place to live.

“The children attend school locally and that was another reason for the move to Lincolnshire, as the schools here are excellent.”

The house, which is approached via a long driveway, has a reception hall, large open plan kitchen, a utility room and pantry, sitting room, dining room, study and cloakroom on the ground floor and five double bedrooms – the master bedroom having a dressing room/ensuite – and a further bathroom.

The bespoke kitchen, with French doors leading to the terrace, is of particular note as it features underfloor heating beneath the tiled floor with down lights and bespoke timber kitchen units and an island. There are also solid oak work surfaces with a double Belfast sink and chrome mixer taps. A five door Aga warms the room and at the opposite side of the room there is space for a table and chairs and other furniture.

The house has retained many of its period features including exposed floorboards, original doors, cornicing, sash windows, original fireplaces and a parquet floor in the reception hall.

The gardens of the house, which extend to two acres, have been an ongoing project for the couple.

Jessica said: “We have slightly widened the garden by taking up the trees, extending the borders and putting them back again. We planted oak trees in the front and we took out the large tennis courts which took over most of the garden.

“Originally the vegetable patch was about fifty metres so we removed most of that and put three raised beds with railway sleepers and a wildlife pond to attract frogs instead. We get lots of wildlife in the garden including lots of pheasants, Muntjac deer, lots of birds, rabbits and hares.”

Although the house is outside the village, the couple have one neighbour who is within walking distance and have lots of friends in the surrounding villages of Brant Broughton, Welbourn and Leadenham.

“It’s quite nice to be a little bit apart but still have connections with everybody,” said Jessica.

Despite having lived happily in their home for ten years, a change of job for Daymon has meant that their priorities have changed.

Jessica, who along with a colleague has recently started a new business called Evolve Together, which teaches teenagers in schools emotional intelligence, explained: “Daymon has a new job as sales director for Lyca Mobile so we decided to sell the house, buy a flat in London and downsize to a smaller house in Brant Broughton. We have bought a flat on the Arsenal Development in Woolwich, which is an old renovated army barracks and great for Daymon because he is obsessed with Arsenal FC!

“We have also had an offer accepted on an old, absolutely beautiful property in Brant Broughton which needs no work doing to it and is ready to move into. We like to see bands and concerts with the kids so we’re looking forward to staying in London in the school holidays. It makes sense and will be great for all of us!”

Field House Farm at Brant Broughton, near Lincoln, is on the market with Mount and Minster with a guide price of £595,000. For more information contact the estate agents on (01522) 716204.

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