Luxury self-catering business built up by Grantham couple
An enterprising couple have invested £200,000 converting derelict farm buildings into luxury self-catering apartments that have attracted interest across the country.
So popular are the apartments at Thorns Farm, in Thorns Lane, Barrowby, that the operation is now a full-time business with an annual turnover of about £50,000 for husband and wife team, Ove , 54, and Grethe Andresen, 53.
The project began in 2008 when the couple converted a row of old stables into two apartments.
They converted more outbuildings into another two apartments in 2012.
Demand for the new accommodation continued and the couple decided to have three more apartments built from scratch.
The luxury apartments are set on a 73 acre site, which includes 50 acres of woodland.
We have people who have been with us for three years.
But the enterprise nearly did not happen at all when the couple first approached the premises, which are just off the A1.
Mrs Andresen said: “We didn’t like it at first because it was so near the A1.
“That was until we drove down the track to the buildings. Then we knew it was for us. It is a little woodland oasis.
She said: “The outbuildings were just sitting there and gathering dust and all sorts and looked horrible.
“We decided to convert them into self-catering units. The idea was based on my husband’s experience of hotels.
“He used to stay in hotels a lot during the week and hated it.
“It was a different room every week and he never felt settled.
“So we created apartments that he would like to have stayed in.”
Mrs Andresen said: “All our rooms are like small, self-contained flats each with its own front door, kitchen, shower room, sitting area.
“They have proven very popular with people working in Grantham away from home.
She added: “We have people who have been with us for three years from North Wales, Devon, Newcastle and Manchester.
“They stay Monday till Friday. Some are here for just a week others have been coming back here for years.
“During the weekends we have guests attending events in the area or visiting family.
“Because of the kitchen in each apartment they are the ideal home from home.
“Guests can bring their own food and do their own catering, however breakfast is supplied in the rooms but they help themselves.
She said: “It has become a full-time business for us both. They are long and busy days.
“We have to go in and service the apartments and change laundry.
“The change over days on Fridays tend to be the busiest.”
Mrs Andresen said: “It was a bit of a gamble as the whole concept was unusual.
“We opened the doors for the first time in spring 2009 and gradually people started to find us.”
The couple have not looked back since and are hosting an open day on Tuesday from 4pm to 7pm when the public are invited to take the chance to view the apartments.