Chris, Rachel and their 2 children Jasmine & Leo
Chris and Rachael came out to central Portugal to view several properties we had available at the time, looking for something with potential, taking them away from their busy lives in England and giving them the chance to get back to nature.
They viewed the Watermill and fell in love with the property straight away "there was no way we could walk away from the Watermill once we had seen it - it was stunning! and we both saw the amazing potential in restoring it!" Rachael explains.
The location is amazing and full of charm, however just getting to the property was a challenge and access was one of the first issues. We organised for the council to clear the road access and Chris hired a local man and his digger to provide better access to the stone house. "The access to the house was the first problem and once we had a clear path to the house we could start with the real work moving building materials and clearing away the old house tiles. Bosch were able to recommend a fantastic builder and project manager which meant we had reliable local workers to help us with our vision. Everyone has been very friendly and interested in what we are doing - we aren't quite sure if they think we are completely mad or they are just as enthusiastic about the Mill as we are!" laughs Chris.
"We would like to restore all the building including the Mill and use eco-friendly energy from the river and the sun. Our children just love the house, the river and the land, it is just one big adventure for them and to be honest Chris and I are just as excited about it. The whole project will take time and money however at the moment we have just finished the stone house and that means we can stay there and relax when the sun goes down. There is so much to do but it is just so nice and relaxing - enjoying an alternative lifestyle from the day job is a great opportunity!" says Rachael.
Friends have been able to come over with the family and help progress the work and clear the land although the majority of the work has been done by the local builders - "the local builders have been amazing, they work very hard and too such a high standard using local skills, the house looks like it always was this way now and using local people and local materials just feels right with a project like this. My Portuguese is good enough to explain the basics and they are experienced enough to plug the gaps!" Chris explains.
The water is currently supplied by a watermine which is above the level of the house and so has enough pressure from the downward flow to supply the water to the house. Hot water is from a gas powered boiler supplying the bath, shower and kitchen, they have a wood burning stove and a generator is currently supplying power for the white goods in the house, however Chris and Rachael are hoping to have solar energy and hydro-power from the river sorted before their first 12 months is up!
"The only downside to buying a house like ours in central Portugal - is leaving!" Rachael.