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Sue Greenwood is a professional at finding wrecks. Her popular blog 'Wreck Of The Week' helped heaps of people find their own plot of land. Not only does she help with the search, but she gifts the reader her ability to envisage what a project could be. Wreck hunting is not for everyone but for the brave-hearted among you; rejoice, Sue is back, teaching us to see the beauty and potential in those houses, which many would call dated.


I’ve always been drawn to what I call my “old-lady-gone” houses. Those liminal spaces where a woman once lived and now doesn’t, but whose living is stamped on her house in decor and objects. This picture, that knick-knack, this wallpaper, that table, that anniversary rose in the garden.

Sometimes the marks of her living there cover decades (the home in Somerset, lived in for 102 years by Nancy), charting a journey into and through children and marriage and a weakened old age. But here she was, and this styling was hers.

But whenever I see one of those fading homes, I find myself thinking about how in the “doing-up”, it should keep some mark of that previous owner. I’ve spent two years renovating a 1930s house, bringing back original features, seeking out Art Deco-influenced design while all the while erasing everyone who lived here before me. But why this desire to “gut” every home with each turnover of an owner? Perhaps future contracts should include agreeing on an artefact to be passed on, to stay with this house that will outlive its owners?

Anyway, here are four fading-glory homes that should definitely carry something of their previous occupants into the future.

Glebe Farm is the priciest of the picks I’m going to show you at offers over £600K. But for those of you looking for a lifestyle makeover, Glebe Farm is pretty damn special. The three-bedroom farmhouse has 42 acres of land, including new woodland and breathtaking views of North Yorkshire moor land from every window. On the market through Cundalls, details here.

And what would I want to pass on to the next owner? This well-used chair between the kitchen door view and what’s cooking.

Yes, cutesy grandparent décor, but just look out of those windows. Glebe Farm, at Saltersgate Moor, comes with over 42 acres of land.

If big views and lifestyle-change is your thing, but rather less so that a £600k price tag, how about this location for under £160k?

A two-bedroom farmhouse that’s in need of rather more than a paint job, it comes with three acres of land and some dilapidated outbuildings. On the quite gorgeously wild Breara Peninsula, on Ireland’s county Cork coastline, the property is a 40 minute walk from a couple of villages with bars and shops, and fronts a road for access for those trucks and trades your renovation will need.

On the market at Euro 175k, details and lovely pictures here.

With access to the Breara Way walking route and close to the sea, this “wreck” is in a stunning location. Loving the decision to paint that door blue and the fireplace lime green! This previous owner left their mark in colours!

Rather less remote (and rather less of a renovation commitment) is this super-sweet two-bedroom cottage on the Scottish Borders. On the market through Cullen Killshaw at offers over £250k, the house is in the village of Lilliesleaf, an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, with a cute garden, large outbuilding, hill views and the sort of art-filled rooms Charlie would approve of.

And what would I want to pass forward? Can’t decide between that rather lovely seascape above the fireplace and this, remarkably on-trend black and green Deco-ish bathroom.

This pretty semi in Skelton, in Cleveland, has a similarly quirky shape. A historic past (part of a hospital for injured miners), it has large gardens and the super-neatness that draws me to these old-lady homes. Skelton is a lovely village, well-placed for the beaches of Redcar and Skinningrove and looking out to the Cleveland Hills. The house is on the market via Harvey Brooks, reduced a couple of months ago to offers around £220k (details here).

Love a bit of Denby pot, but it’s the mid-century glass bookshelves that I’d want to pass on.

I found myself thinking about my ‘old-lady-gone’ homes again this week because one of them – one hubby and I went to view almost a year ago when we were looking for our own escape pad, is back on the market (£200k, details here).


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