Somerset Life Magazine - Inheriting and Restoring a Huge House

Inheriting and restoring a huge house like North Cadbury Court, which has a history of 700 years behind it, is quite a project. But Archie and Janet Montgomery describe it as having been 'fun to do up', as if it has all been effortless, which of course it hasn't been.

During the past 18 months, the couple have been transforming the property in North Cadbury village from decaying grandeur and the type of place where you needed to put an extra dog on your bed as a form of central heating, to a home that is comfortable, warm and luxurious. "It's the first time I have known the house to be warm since I grew up there:' Archie chuckles.

The plan has been to open it up for others to use. "We want people to enjoy it as a family home as much as we do; 'explains Archie. Corporate events, weddings, parties, holiday weekends for family celebrations and so on are now held there and as word spreads about the house, it is becoming an increasingly busy part of the couple's lives.

The main ballroom, part of the Georgian front of the building, has been a main element of several events, including charity parties, featuring the likes of musician Bob Geldof; fashion shows; book launches; birthday dinners and more. It's a house that works for entertainment - there's even a disco room in the basement. Yet it also successfully operates as simply a place to enjoy chilling out in. 

There are in total 21 bedrooms they've restored. Each is different and most are named after potato varieties says Archie smiling. He prefers keeping the look as 'eclectic' as possible. And believes that helps retain a distinctive family feel. He was horrified when someone suggested he use 20 lamps that were all the same to decorate the rooms.

Every bed, including the four-posters, has a mattress that has been hand made and all the sheets are 400-thread Egyptian cotton because the couple didn't want to 'spare any expense' in making the house as comfortable as possible.

Somerset interior designer Pip Scaramanga has been their interiors guru. Wallpaper is a feature in most rooms and comes from Chelsea Harbour based Lewis & Wood - 'we've nearly used most of their designs now: says Janet.

Archie has also been scouring the salesrooms, mainly Lawrences, in Crewkerne, for various items to decorate the house, which include eccentric but beautiful pieces such as ancient type typewriters.

Other projects being planned are a nine-hole golf course, where the first tee will be on the rooftop of the house, a spa, swimming pool, gym and a tennis court are also part of their scheme and there's a lake where visitors can fish. Outbuildings are being renovated for use too.

The explanation for it all: 'I had a happy time growing up in the house, and it's got a history that is great with being overpowering. It is good to be able to share it.'