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Features > Autumn > Conversions & Renovations > Grain Mill Conversion
BD170: Grain Mill Conversion
Helsinki-born Elina Helenius can’t remember exactly how her fiancé pitched the idea of leaving their harbour-side apartment in Sydney to rescue a derelict riverside grain mill in the Scottish Borders, but it’s clear she was cool with the
idea from the outset. ‘Michael saw pictures of the mill and land,’ she says. ‘He saw the plans for eight flats and a townhouse, and his Dad made sure it was structurally sound. I only became involved when we were going through the purchasing process. Then Michael came on one of his trips to check it out before we put an offer in, but we’d already bought it in our hearts.’ The couple already had a long-term plan to move home to Europe; all they needed was the right challenge, and the mill, discreetly set in a leafy ravine in an area he knew well from childhood holidays, was perfect. ‘I remember sitting up at three o’clock in the morning, Australia time, in an online auction, bidding by telephone,’ says Elina. ‘Then we came here on the last leg of our honeymoon and that was the first time I saw it. It was just interesting, coming in when it was completely empty. We were really excited.’
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