The Cornish engine house from Grand Designs 2011

The fate of the Cornish Engine House

It was a race against time to convert this silver mine engine house in Cornwall

By Jayne Dowle | 10 August 2020

The Cornish Engine House, affectionately known as The Stack, featured on Grand Designs in 2011.

Stonemason Adam Purchase and his partner Nicola Brennan had been living in Cornwall for a couple of years before buying a piece of land for £200,000 with two engine houses on it. The plan was to turn one of the houses into a home and the other one into a holiday let to generate some more income.

Adam and Nicola ran out of money for the Grand Designs Cornwall Engine House and missed the 12-month target, but the couple did continue work on the property in between their day jobs, and eventually it was completed in 2011.

Adam and Nicola's Cornwall engine house was finished and is now quirky self-catering accommodation

Photo: Unique Homestays

Unique Homestays director Sarah Stanley later took on the converted four-storey, 19th century engine house as a holiday house for her family, which they also let out.

To create a practical and welcoming home, £100,000 of internal work was undertaken. This included reconfiguring the second-floor master bedroom suite to allow for a larger sitting room to enjoy the views, and adding an extra WC.

The challenge was to marry the industrial edge that you can still see in the exterior with a modern rough luxe feel.

inside the Grand Designs Cornwall engine house

Photo: Unique Homestays

‘We kept the original stone floor in the kitchen, the broad pine floorboards upstairs and the exposed stonework and brought in lots of texture; velvets, linen and deep colours,’ says designer Jess Clarke.

Exposed mottled blush-pink walls in the first-floor double bedroom were retained. ‘They are so much more interesting than any modern paint effect could be,’ says Jess.

The Stack, located in the secluded hamlet of Trelion in mid-Cornwall, is available to book via uniquehomestays.com

Click here to watch the Cornish Engine House episode on All4