Homes Under the Hammer couple are transforming a 175-year-old church into a ‘forever’ home – worth £1million

A few miles west of Bradford is the village of Denholme in West Yorkshire and in 2017 Martel visited a very special auction property. She said: “On ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ I don’t often see a property like the one we’re about to see and it got me pretty excited. It was built in 1846, it’s a 19th century Gothic church here on the outskirts of the village of Denholme.’ At the time it had a guide price of £80,000 to £90,000.

As he stepped foot inside the church, Martel said, “This place just opens up into something really, really special. Actually, I’m a bit emotional. So, the ceiling, the arches, the windows, the brickwork, there’s actually no glass in the windows.

“Yes, there is so much that needs to be done, but they say in a situation like this, always look past the problems and I can because it only takes the imagination to see how special this place could be restored.”

“But the problems, yes, they are extensive. Behind me, I can see through to the rafters, so part of the ceiling has disappeared. I can even see a beam that has come down and hit the ground.”

There was some fire damage and broken walls on the other side of the altar. Martel said whoever took on the project needed to know how big it was going to be.

Being a listed building, the renovation work would also have required specialists.

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“There will then be another level above that with three more en-suite bedrooms and hopefully it all fits in quite comfortably.”

The couple wanted there to be a lot of open space while still keeping the ‘Gothic theme’ throughout. Sean said, “All doors will be lancet arch doors and all furnishings will be Gothic in style.”

Homes Under the Hammer revisited the home in November 2018 to see the progress the couple had made on their home.

Debs and Sean were now married and renovations had begun, with the church’s interior covered in scaffolding. They had also repaired the roof and removed the ceiling.

However, they still had a long way to go to complete the building within their two-year target and budget of £350,000-400,000. Homes Under the Hammer was revisited two and a half years later to see the finished home.

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By fusing old and new, the couple had completely transformed the church. Downstairs was a large blue kitchen with modern appliances overlooking a bright seating area.

At the rear of the former nave was a second reception room with a pool table. Upstairs, on the first floor, were two bedrooms for Debs and Sean’s grandchildren.

The couple also created a guest wing housed in part of the bell tower. It contained a living room and bedroom with en-suite bathroom and was intended to be used as a holiday rental.

Up another flight of stairs to the second floor was Deb and Sean’s master bedroom, which had a king size bed, lots of rugs and chic wallpaper, complete with their cat lying on the bed.

They were also lucky enough to have enough space to build a huge walk-in closet and modern bathroom.

As if that wasn’t enough, there was now a fabulous south aisle courtyard created by a family friend.

Debs said: “We spent just under £420,000. But we did the outside, which pushed us a bit further outside.”

A local real estate agent visited the house to see how much the property would be worth now if it was put on the open market.

The expert said: “This is definitely one of the most amazing properties I have ever seen. For me one of the highlights of the property is the main entertaining area with the kitchen, the open floor to ceiling and all the architectural ceilings.

“I would value this property between £950,000 and £1,000,000.”

Taking the higher end of the valuation would mean the house price has risen by a whopping £915,000.

Debs and Sean were happy with that price but had no intention of selling the house.

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