Woman turns her local Spar into stunning half million pound home by the sea

A clever house hunter saw potential when her local Spar supermarket closed down.

Even though the building was single storey, dingy and with no amenities, Elizabeth Williams knew she could turn it into something great.

She told Wales Online: "When I saw it, I instantly knew we had to buy it.

"For many years, I've had a fascination for old buildings, especially buildings with some history behind them and it's always a bonus if it is located in a conservation area, as many of the original character and features remain.

"Four years ago we renovated a hayloft on Clevis Hill, just up the road from the Spar, so we already had a feel for the area.

"Initially I knew we could design something with a contemporary feel which would fit in with the character of the existing properties in the village, a place that includes a variety of designs."

Like many older properties, the Porthcawl building needed some serious updating.

Elizabeth explained: “It was totally derelict, with no amenities, very dark and dingy, extremely wet but I couldn't wait to get started.

"Friends and family thought we were mad, and couldn't believe we were taking on another project involving a derelict building.

"Overall the residents in the local community were extremely pleased that the building was going to be restored from its derelict condition."

The 55-year-old, who is originally from Port Talbot, Wales, sought planning permission to turn the site from commercial to residential.

She said: "The process generally ran smoothly, there were certain challenges as the design had to meet a certain criteria set out by the planning department.

"This involved, for example, adhering to certain design of bricks, tiles and colour of rendering which was in keeping with the local area.

“The overall process took approximately two months to conclude."

After all of this admin was sorted out, Elizabeth could start unleashing her creativity.

In seven months during lockdown, she got to work demolishing and re-building the property.

A new foundation was laid to support the new two-storey structure where the single-storey shop once stood.

And as the Spar was attached to the property next door, there was work to do separating the drainage system between the two properties too.

Elizabeth explained: "Due to the close proximity of the neighbouring property a party wall agreement had to be put in place too which ensured certain stipulations were met which served everybody's interests.

"However the main challenge then appeared in the form of COVID-19 and building had to stop.

“This delayed the project for a considerable amount of time as not only were our builders refrained from working there was also a dearth of building materials when they eventually resumed as the building suppliers had no stock."

But the project moved on when circumstances allowed and Elizabeth could see the beginning of the dream home emerging.

She says: "I wanted to create something with a coastal feel, being so close to Newton beach, so we discussed the matter with our architect Peter Lee and tasked him to design a property encompassing this.

“He came up with the boathouse design and that's how it evolved."

With the help of Peter, Elizabeth created the shape of a boathouse with its upper-storey overhanging the ground floor entrance and the pitch of the roof reminiscent of the classic, traditional A-shape of a boathouse.

And the inside is equally as stunning as the exterior.

As you enter the house, there’s spacious entrance hall and room for office space if required.

Then you can walk through into a spacious open-plan kitchen that would be great for hosting social gatherings.

This room also looks out onto the garden area.

Elizabeth said: "I wanted an open-plan design with a contemporary feel. The kitchen is of linear design and I feel it is the perfect fusion of functionality and style.

"The units are lacquered high gloss in light grey, with integrated handles J-Pull style, and marble effect work surfaces and I think its sleek design sits seamlessly within the room."

There’s also a lounge, bedroom and ensuite on the ground floor.

These overlook the garden terrace that can be accessed via bi-fold doors.

Up the attractive American oak tread staircase, and the house has two further double bedrooms, both with an ensuite shower room.

Added extra practical features include two off-road parking places and state-of-the-art sprinkler system installed inside.

Elizabeth says: "My favourite space is the open-plan kitchen overlooking the garden that oozes tranquillity, but maybe my favourite feature is the locality – being so close to the sea and situated in an area of so much history and character."

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Now the work is complete, Elizabeth has named the stunning property.

And she hasn’t called it Spar house!

She said: "After purchasing the property we were reliably informed that the first ever owners of the store were known as Mr and Mrs Chard so, as we wanted to retain some of the history, we named it Chard House."

Chard House is for sale for £495,000 with Thompsons Estate Agents, Porthcawl, call them on 01656 784525 to find out more.

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