Staying put: Suffolk Woman transforms ‘perfect’ 17th century farmhouse home with a lift in the larder
A woman from Suffolk who has lived at the same house for more than 50 years, is staying put after installing a Stiltz Home Lift in the kitchen larder to help her get upstairs.
Jane Seppings, 80, has arthritis in both knees and had a pacemaker fitted earlier this year, so using the stairs was becoming more and more challenging.
But moving from the 17th century four-bedroom farmhouse she has lived in since 1965 was not an option as Jane says the home in Weston near Beecles is ‘the perfect house’.
So the decision to adapt her home with a Stiltz Home Lift – which requires no hydraulics or supporting walls and plugs straight into a normal 13amp power socket with the lift travelling on self-supporting rails – was an easy one.
“I’ve lived in this house for 52 years and I cannot imagine living anywhere else,” said Jane. “It’s the perfect house and I love it. The house has had lots of building work done to it over the years and every room is a good size.
“The stairs were becoming more difficult because of my arthritis and I certainly had no intention of moving house or downsizing to a bungalow, so I thought it would be a good idea to get something in place which would make life easier.
“I wasn’t confident about getting on and off a stairlift which sits on the stairwell, so I thought why not go for one of these futuristic Stiltz Home Lifts instead? It’s a very clever idea and incredibly simple as it plugs straight into the wall. I didn’t want the domestic lift on display though so decided to conceal it in the larder!
“It meant I had to move all the food out but it is three-foot wide and it could be hidden from view in there behind the door. You wouldn’t even know it was there. Stiltz said no problem and installed the home lift in the larder as requested and it has made it much easier for me to move around my home. The home lift travels up to a spare room which I use as a utility room for clothes so it is also extremely useful for carrying up baskets of washing!”
Jane moved into Hall Farm in 1965 which dates back to the early 1600s, with her husband, who sadly passed away 10 years ago. He worked on the farm, where at one time they had pigs and geese.
During the 80s and 90s, the couple also ran a successful dried flowers business called Winter Floral, with its own shop which is attached to farmland. Customers at the time included upmarket department stores Liberty of London and John Lewis. The shop was ultimately sold off and is now Urban Jungle Plant Nursery and Café which sells exotic and unusual plants in a unique garden setting. The animals have all gone too and the buildings have been renovated and turned into rented offices for small businesses.
At one time, the Seppings’ also used to raise money for charity by opening their exceptional garden to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme. Since 1927, the scheme has been inviting garden owners to open their gardens to the public for good causes for around the same cost as a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Over the last 90 years, it has donated £50 million to charities across the UK.
Jane said: “My husband used to work very hard on the farm. We had pigs and geese but the buildings have all been converted into neat office units. We had a very successful business selling dried flowers and enjoyed it very much. Once we sold our dried flowers to Liberty of London, the orders just flooded in.
“We did the National Garden Scheme for around 10 years and it was an enjoyable experience. We worked tirelessly on the garden so it was great to share it with the public and raise money for charity at the same time. There is a lifetime of fond memories here for me, which is why I never want to leave.”