Please note that all bookings, availability and pricing is now through Boutique retreats.
Sorry I haven’t been updating the news page. Been busy! The 5 star reviews continue to pour in.
Last guest review… An absolutely excellent stay – the host couldn’t do enough for us and all the extras he provided were amazing. (birthday celebration). This place is exceptional value for money and such a unique place to stay. The views are incredible and the attention to detail second to none.
The five star reviews keep on coming as more guests pass through the doors of the Watertower. Let’s take a peak at what they have to say in the Visitors Book. (Last minute availability listed at bottom of page)
How about a tour of the WaterTower? And what a day to do it!
I invited over a well known exclusive letting agency this morning
Stunning morning. The House Martins are in full voice whilst the mist rolls across the South Hams.
Happy clients last week …
It was just under a year ago that I first went to see the Watertower. I went with my boys. There was no power, water ran down the stairs, plants grew internally through the 2ft thick stone walls. It had been shut up for a year and despite many viewings, no one wanted to take it on. It was pretty dismal. But I loved it, absolutely loved it. It was a risk. There was no way of telling exactly how big the problems were because without erecting scaffolding, you couldn’t see. But I felt that it was a risk worth taking. And I discovered pretty early on that many of the problems were not as bad as first thought.
The 1st floor for example. As you came up the stairs from the entrance hall, the wall was damp, the plaster peeling back. It would have been easy to come to the conclusion that this needed major work. What it was in fact, was silicon damage around the bath on the floor above. When you put the shower on, the water just ran through a gap, onto the floorboards and then down the walls. A new bathroom was installed anyway, but it was a simple fix.
The biggest head scratching was how to cure condensation on the internal stone staircase. I know the previous owners struggled with mould, but again it was a simple fix. A ventilation system was fitted in the small roof space above the stairwell, which pushes down and circulates the warm air that gathered at the top. Boom. Problem solved.
I’m acquainted with every single stone on the outside! Seriously. Every single one, has either been cleaned, creamed, siliconed, repointed or all of the aforementioned. With the scaffolding up, it was a one off opportunity to ensure that no stone was left unturned! As well as repairing any damage I applied Stormdry protection not once but twice. You paint it on like a cream. It absorbs into the wall and then after a month or so forms a breathable water tight barrier. When it rains you can see the droplets beading. Works like a dream. The whole building inside now feels warm and dry.
It wasn’t just the renovation that took time. I had to plan room by room what furniture was to go in and how it was going to get in. My King size bed headboard for example, I thought would go up the stair case easily..nope. Too wide. The Smeg fridge freezer only had to be carried up one floor… the door had to be removed. And then of course, the lounge furniture on the sixth floor had to come through the double doors whilst the scaffolding was up. Getting the steel legged office desk up to the top floor tested my strength to the absolute limit, one stair at a time. I’ve never sweated so much. I’d originally planned for the cinema room to be a music room, but there was no way of getting a baby grand in. Not even coming down from the top. Everything was hard work and challenging. The roofer arrived without a labourer! So I had the task of carrying 800 12 x 24 inch Delabole slates up eight floors. I nearly died that week. It was much easier getting them down with a bucket, rope and assistant!
And the painting! Oh dear lordy. That building has sucked up Farrow and Ball and my cash like a sponge! The wooden staircase flows through the tower, from the bottom to the top. It sets the tone and I wasn’t a fan of the stain. So it had to be painted.. every spindle, banister, stair… Purbeck Stone as it goes. I grew to hate those spindles. Despite it being such a huge job, I love the way it looks now. I’m stoked with all the colours in every room too. And the wallpaper in the master bedroom.
It’s been nearly a year of nose to the grindstone. In truth, I’ve loved every minute of it. I had a vision, but for it to come together as it has… once in a lifetime I guess. Everyone that visits is blown away by it. I think justice has been done to what is an incredible building.
The next guests arrive on Friday. Time to make final preparations for their stay.
The first guests have left the building! Not that they wanted to… sounds like they had an absolutely awesome and memorable time. A perfect celebration of their 27th wedding anniversary.
It’s not always sunny at the WaterTower… but whatever the weather, the view never fails to impress. Took this one last night…
Good job the garden centres only 5 mins away.. back and forth, back and forth. It’s coming together nicely.. Roses, Azaleas, Magnolias, and a few Wysteria encouraged to grow up the East side of the Water Tower. Flower beds full of .. well, pretty coloured things! I’m defo not an expert in this department, but I’ve enjoyed the process of choosing the plants I like the look of.
Not last night, but the night before, I settled under a blanket in the lounge and watched the Lyriad shooting stars from the balcony. Quite a display. One after the other streaking across the dark canvas. Satellites too. I’ve always loved looking up. But much like flowers, I don’t have a clue what I’m looking at! I invested in a really expensive telescope a few years back. Excitedly set it up in field that first night… and do you know what I saw? Many many white dots. Bigger than through the naked eye. But just dots! Got bored of that very quickly! The moon was spectacular, the rest… just dots.
Bill came up and took this photo the other night… all long exposures, F stops and tripods.
The House Martin’s appear fully charged after their long return journey. A few thousand miles without a break, must sap those tiny wings. They enjoyed a few lazy days. But now they’re up with the sun rise and down with the sunset. Inquisitive little things. Once word gets out that you’re on the balcony, they all come take a look.
It’s such an issue! You wake up in the Water Tower ready to boom your day, you look outside and damn, before you know it the day’s passing you by! Not such a bad thing I guess. I can spend hours standing on the balcony, there’s always something to catch the eye. And the air’s so fresh. Pure oxygen. So this morning… curtains open, I’m woken by the rising sun. I look out of the window, and there’s the Virgin balloon about to take off in the fields. That’s the next hour gone then! I took this photo as it drifted off somewhere towards Ashbourne.. could get a lovely specialist cuppa from the Tea House if they drop down. This morning was the first time I could make out the sand on Mothecombe Beach, must be low tide.
Last night, I stood on the balcony with Fin… just because. And there they were…. the House Martin’s.. not just the two I’d seen last week, but about ten. Happy days. So they’re returning in dribs and drabs. Love them. I’d love to try and feed them but I think they only eat airborne.
Right, off to B&Q.. the screws I bought yesterday are the wrong size! Life in the fast lane….
It’s another absolutely stunning day…. not a cloud to be seen, just a light breeze, the birds are super chirpy. I have a few jobs to be getting on with… the garden, although not a focal feature of the tower needs to be finished before the arrival of the first guests. So I’ll head off in a min and go find a bench seat and some big pots to fill. I like the idea of it being a wild garden. I’m a massive fan of Camellias and Poenys, so I’m sure I’ll sneak a few of those in amongst the wild bits! Magnolias! How could I forget the Magnolias? Favourite tree of all time. There’s one down the road on a private estate, that’s the biggest in the UK (how do they know that?)… for few days ever year they open up their garden so you can go and see it. Not sure if that’s already been and gone? I’ll do some research.
Bookings and enquiries were hot yesterday, so that’s fantastic. I love finding out the story of each enquiry…. what the special occasion is, the reason for staying. Makes it much more personal. I’ll make sure their story is reflected somewhere and somehow for when they arrive at the Tower. Help to create those memories.
Haven’t seen any House Martins since last week. Maybe those two that glided passed the lounge were just on a fly by. The main flock must be inward bound by now, so it’s only a matter of time before we see their happy little faces.
Okay, garden centre here we come! Boom, boom, boom.
Can we open our eggs yet? I lucked out yesterday, went to watch my youngest Fin in a footie tournament in Glastonbury, got there early so went to see what all the fuss was about at the Clarks Outlet place. What all the fuss was about was half price Lindt choccy! So I’m sorted!
I love sleeping in the tower in the master bedroom with the windows and curtains open. It’s feels like being outdoors. And I get woken up by the sun and the birds. I’m glad they woke me up this morning…. because this is what I saw! The House Martin’s must be sleeping after their long journey, no sign of them yet, hopefully I’ll catch them later…. and maybe more will arrive today. Hope so.
Stood on the balcony watching the sunset tonight and two House Martins flew by (and a Heron!). This is the best news. I’ve missed them. They migrated to Africa before the winter (and who can blame them!)… but now they’re back and here for the summer. They are the most wonderful birds and they love the WaterTower. Just before sunset, they circle the tower, and if you’re standing on the top balcony, they stop mid flight within touching distance to check you out. You see they’re little faces. And sometimes they’ll pretend to dive bomb you… great fun. Hopefully we’ll see some more tomorrow and I’ll be able to get a few photos. Happy days. Stoked.
Yesterday, the website went live. The response was overwhelming.
Here’s some footage that I took last night. It’s pretty well the same every night…but you never tire of it! Come rain or shine, you just can’t take your eyes off what stretches out before you. And I love listening to the birds.
The Water Tower, as from today is officially available to rent. Judging by the feedback from people who’ve already seen the Water Tower, I know that you’re going to love it too. It’s such a special place.