Beyond words

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Tucked at the side of the road near Tallington and Market Deeping in the south of the county, The Granary is perhaps the most captivating property we’ve seen in years.

Most homes Lincolnshire Today visits have that undeniable je ne sais quoi, otherwise we wouldn’t feature them, but once in a while you are faced with something truly special. A single photo sent over had us interested, a delightful, cosy and light room dubbed ‘The Orangery’ and we had to find out more.

Pulling into The Granary, the first thing you notice is the mill pond and the imposing and splendid granary building that spring into view. Your eye is then drawn to the bridges that litter your immediate eyeline. As well as a beautiful home, owners Colin and Ming Ming have also transformed the twelve acres of accompanying land into some of the most breath-taking gardens we’ve ever seen. As well as the sheer amount of space, the gardens house no less than five rivers and more bridges than we can count linking the banks and ‘islands’ in which different styles have been adopted.

Inside the house, which dates from 1773, its tall ceilings and natural beams create a traditional picture, but as a keen pair of travellers, Colin and Ming Ming have created an oriental-inspired style that consists of a dominance of wood carvings, gorgeous furniture and a sense of privacy in each room that gives them all an individual style. The top floor for example houses an area given over to a library and music room, accessed by beautiful spiral stairs. But it comes with a relaxing air, books cover the walls and the views over the surrounding fields and gardens are fantastic.

Elsewhere, a drawing room that is both light and airy and cosy is perfect for entertaining large groups when the weather isn’t great, but would be lovely to cosy up in too.

Colin explains however, that the house is not all their living space: “I like to call it dispersed living, whereas most people use their annexes to store things, we have used every available space to mean we have a myriad of choice.”

He’s not wrong, outside the main house there are so many areas both outside and in that you’d still have places to entertain after a week of parties. By the mill pond outdoors and the mill wheel is a canopied seating area where you can listen to the tumbling sound of the mill stream before you get to a formal Japanese garden and a stone built wine store which keeps the bottles at a perfect temperature. You then move on to a covered barbeque which is perfect for gathering around and whiling away the day.

Look to the other side of the mill pond, which is fed by water features too, and you’ll see outbuildings that at first glance you might guess to be storage or garages. That’s not quite right, on investigation, the triple garage is a high-ceilinged and beamed building that has under-floor heating that has doubled up as entertaining space for particularly large parties.

Walk through the garage and you’ll come across the room which first captured our interest. The Orangery as the couple call it, has a traditional Japanese table on the floor in one corner, an eye-level open fire in the other with soft seating and on a lower level, a long wooden table and benches, perfect for informal dining and games nights. The high-glassed roof gives it an abundance of natural light and it’s a pleasure to be in. Open the French doors and a small path leads to a covered fire pit, which can be used to stay warm around on summer evenings or for cooking on. The surprises this home throws at you at every corner mean you are constantly dumfounded. Most homes will have one or two areas in which you’d be proud to entertain guests, The Granary has dozens.

The gardens are a whole different world, the sheer breadth and the intelligent layout and structure mean the surprises keep coming. A well-stocked orchard and veg patch as well as a timber-built greenhouse made from telegraph poles and railway sleepers mean the couple are nearly self-sufficient. They also share the extensive land with a whole menagerie of wildlife. During our walk around, pheasants, woodpeckers, grey wagtails as well as a heron and two families of swans with goslings make their way around the styled, but still very natural gardens.

There’s woodland areas, a meadow full of long grass and more wildlife, oriental gardens and more areas to sit and ponder in than you can imagine. Turn one way, there’s an artisanal bell to ring and hear the sound waves last forever, turn another and there’s a lovers’ swing by a pond.

As Colin puts it: “You have to come here to really appreciate what it is that makes this place such a joy, this house absorbs people and far from a place to maintain and look after, it’s a place to enjoy. When I set out to walk around, it’s not to see what needs doing, it’s more like a walk in a park.”

We’re inclined to agree, The Granary and its accompanying gardens are like a little slice of heaven, peaceful and dramatic, you stop at every turn and just stand agog. Truly remarkable, it’s a gem that we’ve been inspired by.

The Granary is currently on the market with Fine & Country.