Shenstone Grange is a stunning, most thoughtfully and substantially extended, extensively and expensively refurbished, 17th Century, 5 bedroom, 3 ensuite, detached, character family residence, enjoying a most convenient situation on the edge of this popular commuter village and benefitting from no upward chain.
We bought Shenstone Grange in 2007 from Simon Burt. I was looking for a period property and preferably one that we could put our own mark on. I fell in love with it the first time I visited and put an offer in immediately. Shenstone Grange was developed over three distinct periods, the core of the house is Tudor, with an Edwardian extension to one side and a further 80’s extension at the rear. The listing was done just before I bought the house, so double glazing had already been installed. The core beauty of the building was obvious, but most of the interior features were hidden under decoration from the 70’s. My family lived happily in the house for 6 years, slowly uncovering the previous work, the doors which were covered with panels, fire places hidden behind false brickwork and beamed walls that had been covered with plaster. We made slow progress steadily exposing some of the original features and repairing the house.
I sold my stake in a business in 20016 and decided to complete a full detailed renovation top to bottom. I asked Tracey Markham a local surveyor who knew the property to complete a survey and give me a full statement of work that she believed needed to be completed. I provided this to a Master Builder, Taylor Construction, who turned the survey into a scope of work. Bills core advice was to invest in work that protected the integrity of the building, rather than just the décor. We agreed on an open project, as we did not know what we would find. Bill was as excited by the project as I was, each day grabbing me to show me yet another surprise find.
The renovation took one year at a cost of around £200,000. We were careful to focus on doing work in line with Heritage Guidelines, retaining all of the original features but with contemporary décor. We uncovered the original timber framed walls and brickwork, much of which was reclaimed even when the house was built 400 years ago, as well as exposing the stone walls and beams, all of which we decided to retain and make a key feature of the house. Bills plan evolved as we went, shot blasting the beams back to their original wood, removing years of heavy painting. Stripping back walls to expose the unique brickwork in the utility and kitchen. You could see the history of the building emerging before your eyes. The project focused on protecting the timbers, and the stone and brick work, with timber and damp treatments that would continue to protect the integrity of the building. These are the ‘invisible’ costs of the project but ones that will last, carrying long term guarantees.
Most of the electrics had been done more recently but where they were not we replaced the old wiring and also installed brand new fuse boards. Radiators had been dug into walls making them inefficient and were not in keeping with the properties age, so we replaced them with cast iron models that you can see today. We renovated the windows, again in keeping with the Heritage Guidelines. We removed the false ceiling from the lobby to create an entrance befitting such a grand property and used ‘green oak’ which will age to match the beams throughout the house. We stripped back all of the exterior paintwork and repainted using high quality undercoat and matt black exterior paint. One of the largest projects was to tank the cellar which carries a 20-year guarantee and provides a stunning playroom.
The kitchen was designed to avoid high level units, so that the timbers are left exposed, but there is more storage between the kitchen, utility and larder than anyone could ever need. The utility designed to provide a real entrance from the drive, but to be practical with all of the laundry facilities. This is the entrance you use most days, so it had to operate with both aspects in mind. The drive was extended to offer more parking behind the electric gates with a turning point at the end and the garage for parking.
Shenstone Grange is unique. We loved living there, the way the house flows, you always have space, but it is cozy. It’s a house that changes with the seasons. Christmas sitting in front of the huge stone fire, with it belting out heat, protected from the weather, the underfloor heating in the kitchen and dining room. In summer so many ways to escape into the garden, wherever you are in the house, or the ‘garden room’ with the doors open. A great house to entertain friends; adults in the bar and the kids in the cellar. We had air hockey and table football and the kids gaming area with a large sofa.
I would have stayed in this house forever, but I had to relocate to Manchester. Now I want to hand over Shenstone Grange to a new family, who can enjoy owning one of the most distinctive properties Balsall Common. It has been a genuine pleasure to renovate but more importantly to live in. One of the nicest houses you could ever call your home.
Solihull Borough Council
Shenstone Grange is a stunning, most thoughtfully and substantially extended, extensively and expensively refurbished, 17th Century, 5 bedroom, 3 ensuite, detached, character family residence, enjoying a most convenient situation on the edge of this popular commuter village and benefitting from no u