There are many people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, who may be looking for a career break, change in direction or an opportunity to take a step back. We are keen to share our experience and our amazing house and grounds restoration project, to mentor and guide and provide a rare opportunity to re-think and re-balance for a couple of weeks or several months.
We are a professional male couple, and we live in a historically important, Grade A heritage-listed Georgian country house set within Scotland’s largest regional park in North Ayrshire. Though we are surrounded by stunning and diverse landscapes and wildlife, we are also easily accessible to Glasgow and Edinburgh. We are in the process of renovating the house and restoring the gardens as a private house and academic writing retreat.
Our plan to restore the house and grounds to blend its historic character and beauty with our interests in contemporary design, art, sustainable energy, and nature conservation. At the end of the house and grounds restoration process, we will have transformed a tired and dated ‘museum’ of a house into a vibrant, comfortable, sustainable and beautiful place to live, work and relax. We are looking to share the process with a small number of volunteers.
There is a long list of jobs that need doing, and we need to be particular about how things are done, at the same time we are open to suggestions for alternative ways of doing things. We can give clear instruction on how to do any job and a chance to input your own ideas. We will always try to match your existing skills, interests or areas that you are keen to develop to what needs doing.
Personality-wise we are both open and friendly, well-travelled and conversational. Both of us have lived in several different countries and enjoy the cultural exchange. Also, we enjoy engaging with others, sharing experiences and lively discussion. We are both hard-working in our professional roles but always find time to enjoy good food and conversation. We have a good book library, enjoy films and music across genres, and there is a small gym in the house.
House and grounds restoration tasks & roles
We hope to welcome positive, open-minded, cheerful, sociable, energetic, genuine, resilient, flexible people with a sense of humour, and a strong desire to learn from and share in with the help required around the property in exchange for great accommodation, food, improving your skills, learning new things, and enjoying the opportunities to explore the region.
In terms of practical skills, our ideal would be to find people who either have some experience of light building works, and/or who have specific building skills, especially carpentry or joinery or an interest in outdoor work. If none of those fit you, help around the house will also be useful.
We are also happy to have people with no experience of any of those things but with a genuine interest to learn skills they can use in their own life as long as there is a genuine desire to learn. If useful, we can provide a testimonial or provide a future reference describing what you were able to do for us.
Our current development projects include restoring the 1820’s building interiors, with lots of wallpaper stripping, tiling, timber floor repairs/sanding, panelling, interior and some exterior decorating. There is also the garden restoration and repairs to outbuildings. We have a number of projects for which we need more qualified experienced help including carpenter/joiner and a plasterer (including plasterwork restoration). In winter, we have plenty of indoor work and we’re looking forward to restoring the old servants’ rooms at the top of the house.
We can be flexible about hours. We will discuss your start and finish times of work and days off with you on arrival. On a day to day basis they may be determined by the weather! You could expect to work about 4-5 hours a day for 5 days a week. We are really flexible about days off and we try to ensure that helpers get the chance to see the region and experience the culture.
What we most need are fit, strong and healthy people with common sense, determination and stamina who will like working as a team. You’ll work hard, have a good appetite, have time to enjoy nature and sleep soundly!
You will be someone who finds it easy to focus on the good in people, the learning opportunity in situations, the joy to be had from doing a task well and the “what I can learn from this?” when things don’t go to plan.
You are someone who is interested in HelpStay to use your muscles and make new friends, not just to have somewhere to stay and do a bit of light work while you travel. You want to meet people and get to know them and to get to know a new area.
House and grounds restoration living
For your stay, we have a choice of large bedrooms all with en-suite bathrooms or a lovely self-contained 1-bedroom apartment connected directly to the main house. It has its own fully equipped kitchen and a separate utility room with a washer / dryer. The comfortable lounge has a TV, writing desk and dual-aspect views across the gardens. The warm and comfortable bedroom has a double bed, plenty of storage and good-quality bed linen. You will have your own bathroom with a shower and bath and there’s plenty of hot water from its very own 200m deep ground source heat pump!
Food is provided for 3 meals a day and we usually expect you to eat breakfast in the apartment but to join us for lunch and dinner on your workdays. We are flexible on what your preferences are on non-work days. Whilst we like to do the majority of the cooking, we are very happy to spend time with you cooking and trying new things.
Both of us enjoy a bottle of wine with meals but we have a strict no-smoking and no drugs policy at all times
We are about 20-miles from Glasgow city centre and 12-miles from Glasgow airport and will be able to collect you from either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports (or train stations) if needed.
In addition to living surrounded by stunning scenery and nature, we are well-connected. Our local connects to major cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, making it easy to explore the cultural attractions these international cities offer. We also have a second home in England with direct train services to London and can help assist with visits around Scotland and England.
A good base…
We are a good base from which to go exploring on days off. Being close to several long-distance walking paths and there is a lot of opportunities to go hiking and biking from the door within the regional park or using public transport. Glasgow airport is also just a 20-minute drive away. We are happy to drop you at the airport or station and for local exploring, we can lend you a bike. As the Covid-19 lockdown is easing, we are starting to travel more with our work and would be happy to take you around to see different places. This could include ‘job-shadowing’ with us in our professional lives if this would be of interest.
Because you are going to live in our house with us, we will work hard to get to know you, to give you the chance to get to know us and to get a feel for whether we think we would be a good fit for each other before you come and live with us. For that reason, when you make contact, we will skype or zoom you to explain more about what to expect and we will ask you to explain your motivation to come to stay with us, what you think you have to offer and what you hope to gain from being involved in our project. We also like to chat via Whatsapp for a bit to get to know you, but we won’t waste your time or keep you hanging on.
With is house and grounds restoration project, we recommend that you have your own travel insurance in place.
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