Scottish couple transforms empty field into stunning eight-acre family home now on market for £950,000 – complete with own PUB

A couple has shared how they transformed an empty field into an amazing family home now on the market for £950,000.
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A couple has shared how they transformed an empty field into an amazing family home now on the market for £950,000.

Roy Murray, 66, a property developer, and his wife Linda, 63, a retired pharmacist, bought the land in the 1990s after having their daughter Fiona, now 30.

Located in the Cornhill area of Banff in Aberdeenshire, the couple set about building their dream home using salvaged materials – particularly granite.

The exterior of Canterbury House now. (Picture: Jam Press)

While they were able to obtain the eight-acre site for free – swapping a piece of land they owned for it – Roy estimates it was worth £50,000 – or an estimated £120,000 with planning permission.

The family spent five years building a liveable home, spending the remaining years slowly transforming it into the incredible home that stands today.

They built the basement and main house structure first, as well as building an access road.

They also hired a bulldozer to sculpt the land and build a three-quarters-of-an-acre pond with an island.

“We started with 2.5 acres and started to collect salvaged materials such as granite, pitch pine, different features that could be used,” Roy told Jam Press.

“A lot of materials had to be from salvage. I know where every stone came from.

The wall to the main house is seen growing. The second floor and attic are still yet to be constructed. (Picture: Jam Press)

“The granite was bought in Aberdeen for £3 per stone for the main building, but all the ornate stone such as circular windows, sills, lintels, mullions, banding and the like was free, other than the haulage as it was surplus to requirement.”

In 2000, the house was complete enough to move into and they lived on site while making changes as and when they could afford it.

The home – called Canterbury House – now features seven en suite bedrooms, two separate bathrooms, as well as an adjacent two-bedroom caretaker house and large workshop.

The aim was to create a new build with the character of a Victorian home.

Roy said: “We wanted to create a Victorian-style house that looked 100 years old, but was in fact a new build with modern insulation, integrated vacuum, heat recovery system, walk in chill and had Cat 5 computer cabling in all rooms.

“We were lucky to have a family friend who probably had the best antique furniture shop, located in a church, north of Edinburgh and she helped a lot with Victorian furniture.

“The final part of the project was the art and we had a good friend who was an amazing artist and created some great Victorian style paintings.”

The whole house, including the adjacent caretaker house, comes to approximately 691 m2.

Surrounded by countryside, visitors are greeted with a large driveway leading to the sprawling home.

The interior of the property. The pub. (Picture: Jam Press)

Inside, the property is decorated with plush furnishings with large bay windows taking full advantage of the rural views.

A particular highlight is the pub, found within the main house building and complete with traditional-style seating, a full-size pool table, large screen for watching sporting events, and a well-stocked bar.

Overall, the couple estimates they have spent £750,000 over the years, spending the money and making changes as and when they could.

They estimate 60% of the costs were spent on labour – hiring professional help when needed – and 40% on materials.

Roy said: “A 691 m2 house in granite would cost circa £1.6 million to build, but we did it much cheaper as I did a lot of the work and we had our own plant and scaffolding.

“That’s a good tip for home builders: buy a digger before you start, it can manhandle materials on pallets, excavate, move earth, etc.

“If maintained it will fetch the same price upon completion – it’s much cheaper than hiring.

“Having a knowledge of cost and construction helped. Although at the beginning I couldn’t afford to chase my dream, but somehow we did it.”

The family are thrilled with the finished project and, after more than two decades, have decided to move on and sell it.

Roy said: “The satisfaction of having a unique house, and watching people’s expression when they see the 100m2 bar is great.

“We loved every part of the house and it’s great when all the bedrooms are full. It truly is a party house and we’ve had live bands playing a lot.

“It will be a landmark long after I am gone.”

The property is currently on the market with Purplebricks for £950,000.