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Grand Design: The Sutherland steading on the market for £680k

Property project: This Sutherland steading is perfect for those who are handy with a power tool.
Property project: This Sutherland steading is perfect for those who are handy with a power tool.

Fans of hit TV show Grand Designs can live out their dream of completing their very own property with this countryside steading close to the North Coast 500.

Unlike the channel 4 programme however, buyers have a head start at Forsinain Steading as one half of the Sutherland home is already finished while the other half just requires the fixtures and fittings added.

Maureen Cross and her husband Stuart have spent the last 10 years transforming what was originally a barn into a chic countryside bolthole complete with seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, four receptions rooms and even a library space.

Moving to be nearer to their family, the couple say they will miss everything about their wonderful home, especially having the countryside quite literally on their doorstep.

Labour of love: Maureen and Stuart Cross have put their heart and soul into converting this Sutherland barn into a beautiful family home. Picture by Sandy McCook.

“We have enjoyed the peace and quiet,” said Maureen.

“And being able to go out of our front door and go for a lovely walk.

“We’ve also enjoyed the beautiful night skies, the amazing sunsets, the wide-open landscape with its crystal-clear air and seeing the deer grazing in the fields.”

The Duke of Sutherland

It was back in 2007 when Maureen and Stuart first laid eyes on the building.

“It was a barn with loads of character and interesting features that we thought we could make into a wonderful home,” said Maureen.

“Also the surrounding vistas were breathtaking and the vast open surroundings.”

Overview: The steading exudes charm and character.

Built by the Duke of Sutherland in 1878, the barn, located on what was once a sheep farm, is steeped in history.

“The barn had a watermill at the side of the building and the dressed stone where the wheel pit can still be seen,” said Maureen.

“The internal structure is built of pine and the beams, which are well over 30ft in length and 12 inches by six inches, are individually marked with roman numerals.”

Rooted in love: Converting the barn into a charming home has taken Stuart, pictured, and his wife Maureen on an incredible journey. Picture by Sandy McCook.

10-year project

For Maureen and Stuart, the conversion of Forsinain Steading has been a 10-year labour of love, carried out to exacting craftsmanship with the roof re-slated, the stone walls re-pointed and the original beams and doors cleaned and restored.

“We lived in a caravan for about two years whilst the major work was being done,” said Maureen.

“We had contractors remove all the slate flooring and replace them after we laid underfloor heating to the ground and first floor.

“The main part of the barn was only partially floored and the upstairs was floored along the middle of the barn where hay bales were kept for the sheep.”

Morning  views: Enjoy wonderful views from the comfort of your own bed.

Maple flooring

Over the years, the couple built a wooden fully insulated framework throughout the whole building and put up all the joists for the upper floors.

“Stuart fitted the kitchen and did all the woodwork,” said Maureen. “He also laid the maple flooring which originally was a dance floor in the upstairs bedrooms and landing in the east wing.”

Heart of the home: Cooking has never been more appealing.

DIY experts

In efforts that would put Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud to shame, the couple also restored the pitch pine doors and did all the plasterboarding and most of the drylining themselves.

Maureen also repointed the barn outside with lime mortar and also internally in the lounge, kitchen and dining room.

“We had contractors in to do the heavy work like laying the original slate floors and all the concrete works in the barn,” said Stuart.

Countryside chic: Check out the exposed brickwork and beautiful floor.

“The contractor replaced the wooden pillars with steel and removed the original roof lights.

“They also fitted 34 Velux windows and made extensive repairs to the slate roof.

“We also had an entrance porch built using the existing stone and three new staircases were built and installed.”

Tranquil living

Although the property is classed as incomplete, it’s clear that its transformation thus far is nothing short of remarkable.

Asked what they think will appeal most to buyers, Maureen said: “The warmth and welcome of the house.

“The wonderful views, the tranquility of the area, the crystal-clear air and the changing seasons.”

Bedroom of dreams: If it’s space you’re after then Forsinain Steading is definitely for you.

The couple say their home would be best suited to those who enjoy the peace and tranquility of the countryside.

“The property could suit a lot of people but they would need to like the countryside,” said Maureen.

“Being close to the North Coast 500 it could be used as a Bed and Breakfast or anyone who wanted to host events like a meditation weekend, art or musical events.

“Also the very large workshop might interest a craftsman.”

Country life: Maureen and Stuart Cross will miss the tranquility of Forsinain Steading. Picture by Sandy McCook.

Forsinain Steading, Forsinard, Sutherland, is on the market for offers in the region of £680,000.

To arrange a viewing contact Monster Moves on 01408 525001 or check out the website.


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