Most of us have fantasized about what it would be like to live someplace different. For some that might mean a cabin in the woods, a country cottage, fairytale castle, or a grand estate.
But what about a windmill? If you’ve always wanted to live somewhere truly unique, in a residence that stands out from the neighbor’s, there are two different windmills that have been converted into living space currently for sale in the U.K.
The U.K. news outlet Metro ran a feature on these two unusual dwellings on January 20th. Mill Hill, in Cambridgeshire, is a Grade II Listed windmill that’s currently on the market. The mill was built in the mid-1800s and is of a type called a smock mill, meaning its cap rotates to put the blades in the wind.
Mill Hill was a working mill until sometime in the 1920s, at which point it was left derelict. In the 1970s, the mill was renovated into a three-bedroom home.
House Beautiful wrote about Mill Hill in October 2018, noting that a lot of the original character of the mill was maintained during the conversion.
The semi-circular steps to the front door are actually the halves of one of the large cogs that used to run to the mill, and there are new sails on the mill proper. The sails aren’t operational anymore, but are moved around once a year by the wheelwrights who maintain it.
The property has three octagonal wings and has been given all sorts of modern updates while preserving its historical charm. It’s currently listed for £675,000 (approximately $891,000).
The other authentic windmill dream home is The Thruff, in the town of Hexham, Northumberland. It’s being offered through real estate agency Bradley Hall for a cool £995,000 ($1.3 million).
The Thruff is 400-years-old, and sits on 1.23 acres. It was remodeled and expanded during the 1970s and ’80s with wings added to the east and west. It’s now a six bedroom residence with gorgeous views and equally gorgeous updates and amenities.
The former mill is the center and focal point of the home with a double bedroom, a study, and a bathroom. The two wings add significant living space, including five more bedrooms, a lounge, a music/sitting room, a dining hall, and a kitchen.
It’s currently owned by photographer Donna Spence, who has lived there for 15 years with her husband, their two children, and her mother.
Spence says that they have loved living there and that every time she drives up to her house, she pinches herself and says “wow.” Apparently it’s a common response, as she said she gets the same response from visitors — ranging from guests to delivery people — and many of her friends have wanted to get married there.
There aren’t sails on the old mill anymore, but that doesn’t stop the home from being full of charm, set like a jewel in the surrounding woodlands. It really is an idyllic location for a buyer who’s looking for the unusual.
Oddly, windmills converted into living space are a little more common than you might think. In 2016 the Daily Mirror ran a piece showcasing Old Mill House, an even plusher conversion located on the Suffolk coast.
The Georgian windmill is five stories tall, and, when it was in operation, was capable of grinding 19 tons of flour a week before its sails snapped in half and it fell into disuse. The residence was listed at £1.2 million, even before being fully renovated.
A quick internet search will give a number of other listings from the last several years for similar conversions, both in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.
The properties cover a wide range of prices and conditions, but even so, it’s enough to give a clear indication that there are plenty of people out there who enjoy the idea of living in a historical and somewhat whimsical home.