By Molly Pennington

THIS COUPLE inherited a rundown mill and like a personal Grand Designs project they ploughed almost half-a-million and doubled their money to transform this 200-year old building into a one-million-pound haven.

Patrick Connor (36), who works as a home heating driver, and Kelly Connor (36), an operations manager, both from Co Louth, Ireland, were gifted the land housing a 200-year-old tumbledown mill by Patrick’s parents in 2017. They have since spent €520,000—approximately £459,000—turning it into a classic and modern family home.

The home, which is now worth €1.1 million—approximately £972,000—has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two walk-in wardrobes, a gym and a salon.

The couple had to fix the structure of the building and then essentially build it from the inside out as it was an almost empty shell.

The mill was built in the 1830s and was originally used as a pin mill.

The project was initially Kelly’s idea, who saw the potential in the old mill despite its appearance.

The mill before.

“We were going to do a new build on the land,” Kelly said.

“But the thought of doing a grand design on the mill entered my head one day, and from there we worked for five years to try and get it built.

“We started the process of seeking planning permission in 2017 and then finally started building in 2020.

“Covid then hit and brought delay after delay, and then we final moved in in October 2021.”

Unsurprisingly, the couple spent the bulk of their money on the building work.

“To get us to a builder’s finish it cost us £337,000,” Kelly said.

“We did the rest on a budget of just over £88,000.”

Kelly and Patrick had no previous renovation experience and still working on the property, including decorating some of the rooms and tidying up the garden.

The living room.

“It’s unique,” Kelly said.

“It’s something you just wouldn’t build.

“The old stone all around the building is my favourite thing.

“I adore my home. It’s my style and while everyone’s style is different I love the traditional interiors.”

Although transforming the old mill has left the couple with a one-of-a-kind home, there were challenges during the renovation process.

“Having to work with the building was tough but we wanted to give it the respect it deserved,” Kelly said.

“Covid lockdowns were, without doubt, the hardest thing.

“We also had to live with our parents to be able to afford the build and save more money.

“We ended up living with them for two years and having our first baby during that period, so was very difficult for us as a new family to not have our own space.

The inside of the mill before the renovation.

“Before we even got the builders there it was so so hard.

“We didn’t know about costs, or if we would have enough money to complete it.

“It was very difficult to spend so much money trying to get planning for a building we didn’t even know was possible to build with our cash flow.”

Kelly describes her style as “traditional, classic and timeless”, and offered some advice for others thinking about renovating.

“Take your time. Your taste changes, so don’t do all your rooms at once,” she said.

“I’ve made a few mistakes rushing bathrooms and I wish I had just taken more time.

“With the other rooms, I have taken my time with I am happier with the results.

“I saved a lot painting the rooms and woodwork myself and upcycling furniture.

Kelly and Patrick’s home is now complete in time for the birth of their second baby in a few weeks.

Approximate Financials

Kitchen: £35K

Bathrooms: £9K

Building Work: £340K