One man’s junk is another man’s treasure

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DREAM RESULT: Doing up a rundown property can have a great outcome.

MANY people dream of owning a classic Spanish farmhouse or a huge hacienda with sprawling grounds, while some pander after a white-walled cottage amongst the olive trees.

Buying a rundown country property for refurbishment at a bargain price and doing it up exactly the way you want it, would seem the perfect solution. But will you be happy with it?

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A great number of people have already taken the plunge and taken on the challenge of ‘Living the Dream’.

However, when looking at the fruits of their labour and deciding if it was all worth it, they seem to fall into two main groups: those who are happy with what they have achieved, and those that are not.

The primary issues that would appear to affect the final results are simply costs and taste. Some opt for the cheap and easy conversion or reform, while other people adhere to a strict plan of accurate reformation.


Going for the simple route, while achieving the objective, the vast majority of renovations end up showing little evidence of the original fabric or feel of the dwelling, eroding the character of the buildings and discarding old doors and beams.

Often all they are left with is the original footprint and little more. The end result typically ends up an unsatisfactory, tacky, repetitive detailed and a bland, sterile building.


The more expensive option in both time and money, would be the true reformation of whatever was originally there. Terracotta pan-tiled roofs and metre-thick stone lime-washed walls that repel the summer heat. The small windows placed high up on the wall keeping out blinding light and unwanted creatures. Thick, castle-type panelled doors that breathe with the seasons. All these secure your home, making an intriguing piece of history liveable.

The reality is choosing the cheap way normally leads to slapdash conversions, unscrupulous promoters, ill-equipped architects, and worse. Sadly many buyers in Spain end up with unfulfilled dreams.

Taking on the dream doesn’t simply mean getting the job done. If time and money is spent on planning, advice, design and reclaimed materials, the builders have a chance of leaving the client with the product they were originally dreaming of.

And maybe spend the rest of their days sipping a glass of wine under a lavender-scented sky while the cicadas saw busily among the olive trees.




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