Moving into a Grade II listed building that had not been touched for 18 years is not for the faint hearted, but the Dickens family did just that and set to work on making it a dream home for their young family. When disaster struck and they had to reappoint a new builder and architect halfway through, whilst many people would have walked away, the Dickens kept going.
Holding strong their vision for the perfect family home and equestrian facility, they have now created a modern space by re-modelling the building and undertaking extensive landscaping. Now 8 years on the build is complete, they have created flexible family living spaces that look out on to extensive views across the properties 40 acres as well as an indoor pool. This year the final piece of the jigsaw was put in place with a bespoke Scotts of Thrapston stable yard.
Choosing Scotts was the first and only stabling company Mrs Dickens had on her mind, recalling her childhood where she was lucky to have Scotts Stables on her family’s farm. There was no way that when the time came to develop her own equestrian facilities, she would be able to compromise for anything else.
At first the family ponies were kept in the existing outbuildings, until they were converted as part of the pool complex, which meant it was time to make the eagerly anticipated call to Scotts. Mrs Dickens recalls: “When we met Zoe on the stabling team at Scotts, I knew straight away she had captured our vision, and throughout the process she was so easy to work with”.
Since the two grey horses have moved into the yard, a 16.2hh hunter called Jim and Highland pony Ivan have settled well into their new homes. “We are delighted with the new facilities, the wash down area in particular is so useful, especially for our big grey who has been out competing at BSPS Summer Championships and Equifest. It has certainly made light work of getting him ready for the show ring. It’s also been great for our lifestyle, with the muddy dog and children. I put them all in there now, before they come in the house!”
One last thing that has been a major part of the development has been setting up the tack room, which has not missed the attention to detail that Mrs Dickens gave to the rest of the property. Ingeniously finding use for items such as extra tiles that were over ordered in the house, the tack room has been impressively styled. Pride of place are the original tack room antiques of saddle racks from her grandparent’s farm, saddle horse and rosette display cabinet proudly showing her first rosette.
We hope that this yard will give Mrs Dickens and her family many more years of enjoyment, and when we heard that Mrs Dickens’ mother is still enjoying her carriage driving with the Cambridge and West Suffolk group at the age of 83 and the original Scotts stables are still in use we are sure this will be the case.