Review: Blue Tile Farm Barn, Field Dalling in Norfolk
While it’s difficult to beat a sun-drenched beach holiday or a break in the snowcapped mountains, stay-cations with friends and family are definitely the in thing – especially in the luxury market.
I’m not talking a cold, cramped cottage in the middle of nowhere with ticking storage heaters, condensation on the inside of the windows, and draughts under every door – I’m talking high-end, high-spec city lofts and country mansions. For us, home for one wet, cold, blustery January weekend was to be the beautiful barn conversion Blue Tile Farm Barn.
The four-bedroom, three bathroom barn, which looks as though it’s stepped right out of Grand Designs Magazine with hotel standard décor and facilities, sits on the edge of the tiny village of Field Dalling, in Norfolk – just a few miles from the renowned North Norfolk coast and a stone’s throw from the quaint and charming coastal town of Blakeney.
The barn – dating back to the 1700s – has been renovated to an extremely high standard with exquisite attention to detail and, I suspect, no expenses spared. From the chic polished concrete floor to the intricate, ornamental light hanging above the lengthy dining table to the modern art hanging on the walls you could easily mistake the inside of this home as a gallery or event space – the hip design clearly influenced by the owner’s London life.
The huge double-height, double-aspect living area boasts a contemporary, glossy kitchen so shiny you could use the worktop as a mirror and a vast, modern fireplace draws your eyes away from the colourful artwork that adorns the walls. The interior design is bold and bright with daring colours and fashionable furniture juxtaposed with the simple but considerate conversion of the actual structure itself – huge, glass windows letting light flood in from outside (despite the dark, damp winter weather raging outside) and the skeleton of the building, the wooden beams and joists, exposed above. There are clever design tricks everywhere you look with the huge space well zoned using light, colour and furnishings, and the main room is perfect for socializing with your guests while you cook, eat and lounge.
Of course you can’t stay inside the stunning barn for your whole trip so, if you fancy exploring, there’s lots nearby to get stuck into. Blue Tile Farm Barn is well situated for breaks with the whole family – including Fido – and there are miles of footpaths and wonderful walks to explore nearby. We headed over to the picturesque village of Blakeney, just a five-minute drive away, for a walk along the quay.
A small, snug (but fun) space is tucked upstairs for the children with a cosy bedroom (three cabin beds) and a separate lounge area for the younger generations to enjoy watching movies or playing games. While downstairs adults can dine in style or relax by the fire or even in front of the giant, drop-down projector screen. We were lucky to be travelling with my husband – a self-confessed techie – and he quickly set to work figuring out the complicated lighting controls and entertainment system. However, for someone who studied a technology degree and repairs broken systems for a living, even the projector proved too much. After a delicious dinner at The White Horse, in Blakeney, we retired back to the barn for a movie night.
Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t playing ball and despite our best efforts the big screen proved too temperamental so we resorted back to the good-old TV. While under-floor heating is clearly the best way to heat this huge space (and radiators wouldn’t be in-keeping with the décor), it takes hours to heat the barn. The welcome folder was almost the size of War & Peace – not surprising given all the directions and information needed to run the house. It begs the question – is the tech a little too complicated for your average Joe?
When the day draws to an end the luxury continues into the bedrooms. The master bedroom is a grand, open space with a beautiful vaulted ceiling and stunning ensuite bathroom complete with freestanding bath and Jack and Jill sinks. Two further bedrooms – a double and a twin – and two bathrooms complete the accommodation. The stylish finish runs throughout the house and each room is comfy and clean with windows looking out onto the graveled, courtyard driveway or out onto the vast lawn with far-reaching views across the farmland.
Unlike many holiday lets – which are clearly only lived in for a few summer months of the year and, consequently, often feel soulless and cold – Blue Tile Farm Barn felt warm and inviting. The owners had carefully balanced the astounding first impressions and edgy design with countless homely touches from fluffy, blue robes and slippers for every guest, to collections of DVDs and board games for long winter nights in front of the fire, to every catering utensil and tool needed to make everything from a wholesome Sunday roast to a greasy fry up. While the contemporary, superior finish gives Blue Tile a five-star hotel feel, it’s clear that this beautiful barn is also a beloved family home and has played host to many a special memory.
It’s well-equipped, comfortable and unique – I’d certainly recommend it to families or friends looking for a weekend getaway.
Blue Tile Farm Barn (sleeps nine in four bedrooms with three bathrooms, and one dog allowed) is available to book from SALT Norfolk. It costs from £971 for a three-night short break or from £1,295 per week to £1,871 for a three-night short break to £2,495 per week peak season.
Phone: 01328 887 600
Address: Blue Tile Farm Barn, Field Dalling, Norfolk