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Features > Winter > Christmas Homes > Cause for Celebration
RS262: Cause for Celebration
Photography by Robert Sanderson/Narratives
Text & Styling by Maggie Colvin/Narratives
Location: Kent, UK

Working as an actress in the glamorous world of film making, has given Julie Kirvan a taste for star reaching endeavours which her husband Alistair, a feet on the ground accountant, bought into the day he married his wife. Between them they soon developed what Julie describes as ‘an unstoppable passion for restoration,’ which began with their first Georgian home in Shepperton-on-Thames. Julie describes the experience as ‘their confidence boosting apprenticeship.’ So when Alistair found their current home, a derelict grade 11 listed manor, advertised for sale on the internet, they caught another vision of how beauty could rise from ashes.
When Julie describes the manor as derelict,’ she is not exaggerating. Rain was pouring through the roof, windows were broken, frames rotting, floors had holes and walls were crumbling. After hundreds of years of being privately
owned by illustrious families, Jane Austin’s uncle amongst them, the grand historic mansion had been turned into a care home and the most noteworthy architectural features, fireplaces, carvings, coving, balustrades and panelling
had been stripped away; ironically the fire doors and flimsy partition walls were still standing.
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