Photo gallery: Amazing transformation of decaying Victorian toilet block into contemporary holiday home in Sheringham
17:19 13 March 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
A decaying public toilet would not be most women’s idea of a romantic wedding anniversary present.
But one Cawston woman is all smiles after her builder husband transformed a Victorian block on Sheringham promenade into a sleek holiday home called The Wee Retreat.
Nick Willan, 56, bought the building at auction for £104,000 in May 2011 and presented it to his wife Sue, 54, as a 30th wedding anniversary gift.
Mr Willan, owner of ND Willan Building Contractors, spent a further £85,000 on renovations.
He said: “We came to Sheringham one day for fish and chips and when we were at the Crown Inn we saw it and thought it would make an awesome place.”
The block was originally up for £35,000-£40,000 and there was an intense bidding war.
Mr Willan added: “After I bought it news cameras were in our faces. It was a bit of a shock. When we got married we had a honeymoon at a B&B in Comer and after I bought the toilet it was coming up to our anniversary and I said, ‘We are going upmarket and going to Sheringham.’”
He described the project as a “labour of love” and added: “At one point we thought ‘what are we doing?’. But nowhere has got views like this.”
An extra metre has been added to the roof height for a bedroom; the former ladies’ toilets area is the kitchen; and former mens’ toilets area is a bedroom. The property, which was not damaged by the storm surge, will be open on April 5 between 10.30am and 5pm for Help for Heroes.
Mr and Mrs Willan’s son Matthew, 28, is a sergeant for the Royal Anglian Regiment. Their other son David, 29, is a partner in the building business and daughter Jessica is an architect technician.
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