British group renovate ancestral property in Weligama
When the property caught the attention of interior designer Dean Sharpe in 2010 there was a tree growing through the roof, bats living in the rafters, termites eating the plaster and tiles falling off the kitchen walls.
What sounds like a restoration nightmare for many did not stop Sharpe, his partner Bentley de Beyer and friends Jenny Lewis and Richard Bleasdale from purchasing the mansion and two surrounding acres in 2011.
‘It was a ruin of what it once was but we walked in and fell in love with it,’ Sharpe told Insider.
Named Halala Kanda – and known locally as Firefly Hill – it is located on a Sri Lankan hillside near the town Weligama. The mansion was built in 1912 by the son of a wealthy plantation owner trying to woo his bride.
Renovations began in December 2012 – a century after the mansion was first constructed.
Demolition took four months to complete and there were pressures to move fast to get tarpaulin on the roof to protect the property from monsoon season.
Two years later in 2014, Halala Kanda was in livable condition equipped with air conditioning, plumbing and electrical.
Before, the mansion’s only water source was a well in the garden. ‘We didn’t do a big bonfire and burn everything,’ Sharpe said.
(Daily Mail UK)