Tom and Jeanette Grant have turned an old woolshed into their own ''utopia''. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
An old woolshed on 20ha of land in Old Brighton Rd has given
Tom and Jeanette Grant freedom, income and, most importantly,
the opportunity to meet new people.
Mr and Mrs Grant bought the section and woolshed about 20
years ago and, after living in their mobile home for the
first two years of ownership, decided to convert the woolshed
into their home, at the suggestion of Mrs Grant's brother.
''We converted half of it into our own accommodation ... and
we subsequently converted the top into a self-contained
apartment for family to stay in,'' Mrs Grant said.
''About 10 years ago it was under-utilised as a family
apartment, so we started doing B and B.''
And so Grant's Farm Bed and Breakfast was born.
As the couple was farming earthworms at the time, a name was
needed for their business and Grant's Farm was chosen, Mrs
It had nothing to do with the historic farm and former
property of Ulysses S. Grant in the United States.
At the time the name was chosen they had never heard of
Grant's Farm, she said.
There were still sheep on the property and the couple
generally had a ''handful of cows'', which provided guests
with a snapshot of rural New Zealand.
Despite being in his 80s, Mr Grant was still a keen pilot and
he kept two home-built single-seater planes on the property,
which provided another attraction for visitors.
But the greatest benefit of the property was the chance to
meet new people, Mrs Grant said.
''We have never had a dud, you know, a nasty person. They
have all been wonderful guests,'' she said.
''We have seen some really interesting people from
The business had provided the couple with the lifestyle they
desired and they ''couldn't have a better arrangement than
what we have got''.
''We feel that we are in utopia, in a way,'' Mrs Grant said.
''And that's how Tom describes it. We have a little business,
we have got plenty of space and we have got something to keep
our minds and bodies active, so we think we have got it