You won't believe the stunning transformation of this burnt-out manor house destroyed in three-day blaze
A BURNT-OUT country manor has been transformed after it was destroyed in a three-day blaze.
Grade II listed Triscombe House in Somerset suffered a devastating blaze in 2002 leaving just a gutted shell with no roof.
Now the ten-bedroomed home has been meticulously restored by the same company which built it more than a century ago and has gone on the market for £3.95m.
Current owner Mark Venn hired Henry W Pollard & Sons, a family firm which built the grand home between 1902 and 1905, to see to the rebuild.
The family firm had the original plans to help them with the extensive four-year renovation project.
The elegant property near Taunton, Somerset, which is now on the market, sits in almost 20 acres of land with far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside.
Mr Venn, 51, said the labour of love cost him 'many millions' and the stress led to his marriage breaking down, but created an incredible home.
And while the house has been restored to its former glory, it has also had some modern eco-friendly additions – a biomass boiler and extensive solar panelling – which mean it actually makes him money.
He has also added modern luxuries including a temperature-controlled wine cellar, dedicated home cinema, computer-controlled heating and lighting and a lift.
It was built in the early 1900s for Francis Henry Cheetham, a cotton merchant, using a design by Sir Ernest Newton, one of the most prestigious architects of the era, and the house was mentioned by Pevsner.
The house has over 16,000 sq ft of living space, with a 42ft drawing room, kitchen/breakfast room, dining room, sitting room, study, office, wood-panelled library, winter garden room, wine cellar, home cinema, ten bedrooms, six bathrooms, a play room and a recording studio/office.
There is also a three-bedroom lodge at the entrance to the drive and outbuildings with a home office, stable block and modern barn.
The property sits in the centre of its own land, on the edge of the Quantock Hills area of outstanding natural beauty with views over Exmoor and the Brendon Hills.
Mr Venn, who runs a software development company, said: "I first saw the house in 2001 when I started looking for a place in the West Country but I couldn't quite afford it so it sold to a couple from Majorca.
"They evicted the people living in flats in one part of the house and we believe someone came back and set a fire that night.
"The whole roof went up and the house burnt for three days.
"After that developers bought it and spent nine months trying to persuade the council to let them build ten houses on the land but couldn't get what they wanted so they sold it to me.
"It took every bit of three years to get relatively finished and another year to iron out the issues.
"We had asbestos in the basement so that halted work and then we had four rare species of bat in the basement which stopped work again.
"We had to build a bat house and no bat has ever lived in it.
"It wiped out my first marriage from the stress of doing it all and it cost a lot more than I think anyone expected – many millions of pounds.
"But it's an incredible property, a really lovely place.
"It gets fantastic light, and great views of the Quantock hills, the Brendon hills and down to Minehead and it's in the middle of its own land.
"It's a modern house with traditional bones – on the outside it looks the same as it did the day it was constructed, but inside it's got underfloor heating and brand new electrics.
"We put in a biomass boiler and solar panels so it's one of those few houses it pays you to live in it.
"We had the original builders, quite by chance. It was done by competitive tender and we only discovered they had done it originally after we started.
"It's really just about maintenance now. It's a great place for entertaining and a fantastic location.
"I want for nothing here, compared to living in a major city. I bought it as my forever home but my work has changed and I'm spending a lot more time in the States. The house takes a certain amount of time and energy to focus on.
"I spent more than I would have done had I known I was going to sell it later. As a consequence someone is getting a much nicer house than they would have if it had been a turn and churn type development."
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