YOU can live in one of the nicest, quirkiest houses in Kent but if it’s not right for the family, there’s only one thing for it – you’ve got to move on.
And that's just what Jim and Nancy Moir have reluctantly decided they must do. Readers of Hello! magazine will know that Nancy is expecting twins, after IVF treatment, in May and unfortunately the layout of the bedrooms in their fantastic schoolhouse conversion is just not suitable for babies.
Mrs Moir, better known as model and TV personality Nancy Sorrell and Jim, alias comedian Vic Reeves, are over the moon at the prospect of having two little girls. Nancy is really looking forward to dressing them up and with her fashion flair they are bound to look a picture.
The couple bought the house three years ago from friend and fellow celebrity Tom Baker, recently voted the country’s favourite Doctor Who and now enjoying yet another reincarnation as the voice behind Little Britain. He has moved over the Channel to Toulouse but is still a regular visitor to the charming Bell House, which dates from 1847.
Tucked away in Boughton Malherbe, near Lenham, the house has fabulous views over the Weald and a stunning dining room/reception room which was once the old schoolroom.
A beautiful portrait of Nancy adorns the wall on one side of one of the huge arched windows while a Hieronymous Bosch-style painting of Jim is hung on the other side. Nancy said: "It was painted by one of his friends and shows off all his different sides."
Jim, who is much more shy and retiring than his Vic Reeves persona, is not only interested in art but is also a talented artist and evidence of his hobby can be seen all over the house.
He was responsible for the stained glass door to the bathroom, decorating it with a multi-coloured "Splish splash" using glass paint and copying the typefaces from the internet. He is a keen internet tapper and was busy looking at wallpaper patterns for the twins’ new bedroom on the computer when I visited.
His study on the landing has a bird’s eye view through the floor-to-ceiling arched window overlooking the adjoining churchyard.
It is here that Tom Baker has his gravestone at the ready for his demise, controversially bought in advance, and now "covered in bird poo", according to Jim. He added that the old schoolmistress is buried there so her spirit is not far away from her old stamping ground.
Jim and Nancy have installed a new kitchen, with light wood units and granite work surfaces, and a stylish bathroom with shower, bath and loo, both with terracotta tiled floors. There is also a TV room, shower room, utility room and bedroom downstairs.
The master bedroom and study is reached by one flight of stairs while the other two upstairs bedrooms are in the south wing which was built in the Seventies. It is because they are accessed by a second flight of stairs that Jim and Nancy feel that the house, with its present layout, is not suitable for their two new babies.
Bell House, which was a school until the 1950s, would be ideal for a family with older children or perhaps an older relative. It also has a coach house which, as Jim explained, could easily be converted into a separate house.
At the moment there are two garages on its ground floor and a bar and music room on the first floor where Jim has a double bass and Nancy a drum kit. Luckily, there are no neighbours nearby.
Nancy explained: "I want a bedroom with a bathroom en suite and a bedroom next door for the twins."
The family also includes a rabbit, chickens, fish and Alan the chameleon who lives in an aquarium in the TV room. Alan chomps away on revolting beetles which would not look out of place in I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me out of Here which Jim and Nancy famously appeared on.
"No, I wouldn’t go near any of the jungle insect challenges," shuddered Nancy.
Now she and Jim are keeping their fingers crossed that they can move from Bell House before May which is when the twins are due. They have their eye on a house in Charing, which is where they used to live.
Nancy, who comes from Essex, and Jim, originally from Leeds, both love Kent and want to remain in the county. Nancy said: "It’s so handy for London and you get a lot more for your money here."
Bell House, Boughton Malherbe, Sandway
Agent: Cluttons on 01622 756 000.