Couple sink life savings into transforming £160k pie factory into dream home

A couple have spent their life savings transforming a former pie factory into their dream home.

Project manager Sam and plasterer Jimmy sold both their houses and poured their life savings into an extraordinary renovation of the former Holland’s Pies factory in Haslingden. The pair appeared on George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations last Wednesday and revealed they had bought the former John Street factory for £160,000 in 2020.

The Channel 4 programme features architect George Clarke who meets the people breathing new life into unused buildings and transforming landmarks into family homes. Presenter George Clarke called the couple’s aspirations of converting the 5,000 square foot building into a family home for themselves and their teenage son a ‘hell of a project’, but hailed the price of the Victorian building as a ‘bargain’.


The property once belonged to entrepreneur Walter Holland, who built the factory in the 1900s to expand his pie brand. The architectural expert asked the couple why they settled on the former pie shop instead of buying a new home.

Sam replied: “For the challenge, the individuality, to actually put your own stamp on something and make it your own really.”

The couple were so determined to turn their dream into a reality that they took out a loan, borrowed money from friends and sold Jimmy’s car as well as their individual homes. They set a budget of £250,000, however George warned their budget was going to be ‘challenged’ due to the size of the building.

The building featured only a ground floor factory, an office, a garage and a self-contained annex. The couple couldn’t afford to rent during its construction so they lived in a caravan and stored their belongings inside tents set up on the factory floor.

They were forced to shower and use toilet facilities at the homes of friends and family. George visited the couple 18 months later. Although the bottom floor of the building has not been completed, the couple had made astounding progress.

George was blown away to see the top floor’s transformation into a stylish open plan kitchen, dining area and living room and was overjoyed with the urban roof garden. The dark greys and metallics for fascias and work tops as well as the double island joined together by a bespoke L shape breakfast bar piece added a modern finish.

The couple worked with director of Furniture Components UK LTD in Rawtenstall, Ben Johnson to create a stunning vision for the room upstairs. Ben met Sam and Jimmy in winter 2021 when Sam came into the showroom to discuss the upcoming project.

Sam gave Ben the reigns to come up with a design that worked for the room size and shape. The company also provided a bespoke dining table in matching materials.

Ben said: “This was the biggest single room project I have taken on but I love the outcome. I feel what we ended up with worked perfectly.

“Slightly daunting and under pressure to pull it off, but so glad for the opportunity. To see it on TV was special and a proud moment.

“Stage two is on to the master bedrooms and walk in, so looking forward to getting together again.”

The annex was converted into a charming self-contained apartment with a bedroom and a comfy living space, shower room and entrance. Reflecting on their hard work, Sam said it was all ‘worth it’, although at one point she thought they would never get it done.

She said: “With all the troubles and turmoil there’s been times when we just wanted to literally pack in the towel and give up. It’s absolutely pushed me to the limit but then you push through to another day.”

They also revealed that they were looking at another six to eight months to complete the renovation – possibly taking them to the two-year mark.

At this point, the couple had spent £220,000, meaning they were remarkably well under budget.