04 Feb 2020

Escape to the country


Located in the serene small Cornish village of Portloe, on the Roseland Peninsula, sits Nare’s Yard – the ultimate countryside escape built by the Pryor family.


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For Debs Pryor, the drive behind converting Nare’s Yard was to create an “escape-from-it-all” retreat for their hard-working dairy farming family. Commenting on the motive, Debs said: “We need to relax well when we’re on down-time, and we built Nare’s Yard just a short distance from our home to create an escape from our busy everyday lives.”

Debs, her partner, Nathan, and two boys, relish in the relaxation that Nare’s Yard has to offer – with its natural finishes and stunning surrounding vistas. And, when the property is not in use, the family rent the house out via Unique Home Stays for tourists to enjoy.

A property developer, Debs’ vision when converting the building into the dream getaway it is today was “a hiding place in the country,” where visitors can “reconnect with nature”. The key focus of this vision was to construct a residence that provided guests with pure relaxation. Taking inspiration from interior magazines and working with her architect, Debs’ concept was realised in the form of “pared-back simplicity.”

Picturesque settings

The property itself follows an open-plan layout with light-filled spaces, placed against a backdrop of rolling hills and open landscape. Set within eight acres of countryside, the simple cabin-like build enhances the panoramas. Moving indoors, the house follows the theme of bringing the outside in with bright and airy interiors.

Debs worked with a landscape architect to deliver the beautiful surrounding landscaping. Describing the exterior, she explained: “The outside space is an overflow of the house, but with a very natural slant. We included a large amount of white concrete to reflect heat and light, and we’ve also incorporated points of interest with handmade benches from Stefan Roux at Penryn and a reclaimed granite trough from a reclamation yard in Penzance.”

The process

Acting as the project manager and working with a “capable builder”, the Pryors predicted a one-year construction process; however, the timeframe spanned an impressive 14 months; with an extra year dedicated to obtaining planning permission. Talking of the most challenging aspect of the process, Debs said: “The most difficult element was juggling the build with everyday life – with two home-schooled children and an hour’s commute to the site itself, it did prove quite the test at times.”

Another challenge for the Pryor family was remaining within the build budget. When asked if she had stuck to the original figures, Debs responded: “No! A lot of our money went into the drainage and landscaping of the site – as well as the utility connections.”

Final thoughts

Despite the challenges the Pryor family overcame when building their relaxing getaway, the final property is everything they hoped it would be. “My favourite thing about Neal’s Yard is the immediate relaxation factor it offers and the lack of visual intrusions. The build itself does not detract from the striking views; rather, it frames them with a classic, natural and uncluttered finish.”

When asked if there were anything she would do differently, Debs commented: “I’d finish the build earlier than we did – so that we could enjoy more of the summer sun in Neal’s Yard!

“In all honesty, I’m not too sure if I would want to relive the whole process again. I would have to choose wisely; as self-building does take over your entire life – it would have to be worth the time, energy and sacrifice!”

For others wishing to self-build a property or renovate an existing structure, Debs imparts some indispensable advice: “You have to know what you are doing! But most importantly, ensure you do your research and set a budget. And lastly, question absolutely everything!”

For the ultimate escape to the countryside, Neal’s Yard is available to rent via Unique Home Stays. Please visit the below website for more information.

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