A CRAFTY businesswoman spent 22 years transforming a run-down cottage that she bought for just £59 into a dream country escape that is now worth £450,000.
Jane Beck, 54 first fell in love with the property when she was on holiday two decades ago and decided to up sticks and move 170 miles from Berkshire to West Wales.
But her grand designs for the cottage took years to complete – as there was no electricity, no water and even a river running through it.
Jane now lives her dream life running a quilting business from her land and also renting out glamping shepherd huts.
She said: “We paid £59 for it in 1997 which everyone thought was far too much locally.
“It was valued last February at around £450,000 before we landscaped the back garden.”
Jane has lost count of how much she has spent on her labour-of-love transformation – and it wasn’t all plain sailing.
She and her four children lived in the property after she’d bought it.
She said: “There were very dark times at the start. My mettle was tested to its breaking point.
“The first night was cold. We slept on a mattress on the floor in the front bedroom – but it was magic.
“Completely unmodernised it was like stepping into the 1930s, no electricity, no water and an outside toilet.
“On our arrival, a river ran from the back to the front and out of the front door.
“It was dark inside. The garden was very overgrown with yew and laurel obscuring the small windows.”
Jane got to work on renovating the cottage near Tregaron in Ceredigion and still has finishing touches to complete.
She said: “It’s taken 22 years to make Emporium what it is now and it’s still not finished.
The cottage is believed to date back to about 1870 and the age has inspired the interior design .
Jane said: “The house was the inspiration. Why buy an old house and create a new one? I always wanted to keep it authentic.
“I didn’t want to completely lose that romantic ideal and maybe that’s a contributing factor to taking so long?
“It’s been painted with light and airy colours over the years but I prefer it with deep pigments, creates a bit of theatre; it suits it better.”
The house now boasts a sun terrace, hot tub and a sauna hut in the back garden and Jane’s favourite room is the kitchen.
She said: “I love the evening light through the front room window. In summer there’s always flowers from the garden there and Binkie, my little dog, loves to sit in the sun and look out the window.”
Jane runs her blankets business in a tin shack in the garden called Ty Zinc – selling her goods all over the world.
She added: “I look back on it now and can scarce believe it myself. But we love our home – there’s a lot of us in those old stones.”