Published: 05:00, 27 May 2022
| Updated: 16:11, 27 May 2022
An abandoned building in a town centre, which was once a brothel, has now been fully restored.
Stone Court House, formally known as Stone Court Hotel in Maidstone, will open its doors once again to the public as an Airbnb-style business.
The 700-year-old historical building, found on Lower Stone Street, has a rather tainted past.
In 2012, police executed a search warrant on the premises as part of a bid to bust a drugs and prostitution racket.
There was a certain irony - back in the 18th century the house had been used as lodgings for travelling judges hearing the most serious cases at the town’s crown court.
By 2015, the hotel had shut up shop and the building started to fall into a state of disrepair.
The Grade II-listed property was bought by couple Saban and Belinda Demirbasa back in August 2019 for the guide price of £550,000.
Speaking to KentOnline in January, Saban said: "Many people didn’t go for it as the property was on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register and there was an enforcement order placed on it by the council.
"Another couple of winters and the house would have collapsed."
After more than two years of extensive renovations worth millions of pounds, Stone Court House has been successfully removed from the register and is once again a proud addition to Maidstone's streets.
Since we visited the family, they have been busy sourcing furniture up and down the country.
Saban said: "I was surprised actually, it's been quite expensive.
"The leather sofas we have in some of the living rooms - we chose to buy refurbished, period, leather chesterfields - because they don't make the new ones like they used to.
"Trying to get an antique, four poster bed from the 18th century is really hard to find.
"When you do find one, they go into the tens of thousands, it's ridiculous."
The 52-year-old added: "We also bought 93 cushions and 36 pillows, which is quite astounding.
"Every room has to have a coffee machine and a kettle, cups, etc. The list goes on and on at the moment.
"But we are just about there now, and are very happy with what we have chosen."
The couple spent hours searching online, on both eBay and Facebook Marketplace, looking for the right pieces.
Saban says he travelled at least 4,000 miles in total to pick up items.
His favourite piece, an 18th century French Tudor mirror, took him two days travelling.
He said: "I drove to Carlisle for the mirror. I did 1,600 miles, there and back.
"It's beautiful, around 300-years-old and sourced from a castle up there - it was worth the trip."
A lot of the period furniture is Georgian and Victorian, with the pair choosing regency colours for the rooms.
The entrance room for guests dates back to the Medieval and Tudor period, with it now housing its own suit of amour.
Multiple pieces that are from the 16th century are found in the front rooms, including a hand-carved oak coffer, which was once used to store bibles and blankets.
Saban and Belinda have been documenting the renovation on their Facebook page, and have now proudly posted the final looks of the suites that will be available for guests.
The page now has more than 6,000 members, all who have followed the couple throughout the process.
"It is really heart-warming," Saban explained. "It's so nice that people are really appreciating all the work we have put in to save this building.
"It has got us through the hard periods - we have had so much support from Maidstone, the surrounding areas and worldwide - lots of people from America have been sending in messages.
"This part of town has been slightly neglected and it would have been a shame to lose a building like this."
The couple will be using the property as a family home and an Airbnb-style business.
There will be six double rooms and a two bedroom flat available to book, with all the suites being named after judges - a nod to the building's past.
Saban says that after three years, he is very much looking forward to opening.
He said: "I am slightly anxious, but I think that's quite normal though?
"There will be little teething problems, and an initial learning curve - understanding what people like and what they don't like."
Stone Court House is set to be open for bookings when they launch next Friday (June 3) - see prices for each room below.
Room rates weekdays (Mon-Thurs) / weekends (Fri-Sun)
Double en-suite bedroom with small double sized four poster bed sleeps two (15sqm)
£90 per night / £105 per night
Large en-suite bedroom with double sized four poster bed sleeps two (42sqm)
£144 per night / £186 per night
Large en-suite bedroom with double sized four-poster bed sleeps two (37sqm)
£134 per night / £171 per night
Double en-suite bedroom with king sized four poster bed sleeps two (19sqm)
£98 per night / £117 per night
Large en-suite bedroom with double sized sleigh bed sleeps two (33sqm)
£126 per night / £159 per night
Large en-suite bedroom with double sleigh bed sleeps two (37sqm)
£134 per night / £171 per night
Large self-contained two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with private living room sleeps six (116sqm)
(Large bedroom with king sized four poster bed with separate bathroom, Large ensuite bedroom with super-king or twin bed and a living room with a leather Chesterfield Sofa double bed)
£292 per night / £408 per night
All accommodation has exclusive access to five living/dining rooms and a private courtyard - all rates above are inclusive of VAT @ 20%