Love at first sight is a phenomenon.

Sometimes the enchantment can have far reaching consequences.

On what turned out to be a fateful Friday in 2002, surveyor Ian Leek hadn’t expected to be bowled over when he and one of his professional colleagues went to look at a mill complex with potential for development.

By the time he got home after work, his enthusiasm for the 400-year-old paper mill in North Mill Road, Bledlow convinced his wife she’d like to see it before anyone else snapped it up. Helen is a geologist working in the oil industry.

“We needed to make a quick decision,” she remembers. “We only had that weekend to decide whether or not to buy it or risk losing it.”

To avoid dithering, they agreed that each of them would write on a scrap of paper yes or no according to whether, deep down, they wanted to buy the complex or not.

Bucks Free Press: PICTURED: An aerial shot of the stunning propertyPICTURED: An aerial shot of the stunning property

“If one of us wrote no, that would be it, we wouldn’t go ahead,” she added.

When the moment came to reveal what they had written, both slips of paper said yes.

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At the time, the couple were living in a house they had built themselves at Ibstone. “It was intended to be our long term home. We had only recently finished it. We had been living in it for just over a year,” they said.

Notwithstanding that, the prospect of a new project had them in its grip.

Helen added: “We went to see the mill buildings with Ian’s surveyor friend and his wife. We decided to form a company to do the development.

“The existing buildings are thought to date from the late 1700s. There’s the old mill house where the miller lived, a wooden cladded building now known as Millbrook Barn, which originally was where the rags were stored before the industrial process turned them into high quality paper, and three villas presumably where the mill workers lived.

“The overall site is four and a half acres. On one boundary is the stream, a tributary of the River Thame, which powered the mill.”

Each of the buildings is now a separate entity. All five have been transformed into stylish living accommodation.

Helen says the owners get on famously but don’t live in each other’s pockets.

The former mill owner’s house has a private garden of just under an acre. Today, it includes an orchard with apple, plum and wild pear trees.

Helen and Ian have extended their house twice – once before they moved in and again after they’d had time to work out what extra living space they needed to fulfil the potential.

Bucks Free Press:

The overall living area at the mill is now more than 5,000 sq ft.

The ground floor includes an open plan 34ft kitchen/breakfast room which flows into a conservatory with two sets of double doors onto the garden (this is the hub of the house where all the action takes place); there are two principal reception rooms - 24ft sitting room, 15ft dining room – also a snug leading into an office and a further office in one of the outbuildings.

Both Ian and Helen work from home. Each has their own space where they run their businesses.

Upstairs, spread over the two upper floors, are six bedrooms and three bathrooms (two en suite).

One of the suites is split level with bedroom on one level and dressing room and adjoining bathroom with freestanding bath and separate shower cubicle on another level.

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“It was important to us to retain the character of the house,” Helen says. “We’ve renovated and partially extended the interior but kept things like the intrinsic shape of the walls – the walls in the old part are not straight up and down as in a modern house, the surface is a bit wavy.

“There are inglenook fireplaces and exposed beams in the sitting rooms; the principal bedroom has floor to ceiling vaulted windows; the house was in quite a run down state when we bought it.

“We had it re-wired and re-plumbed - it probably would have cost less to knock it down but we would have lost its soul. It’s a quirky house with lots of different levels. ”

Now, after 19 years, Ian and Helen feel the time is right to move on. “Talking about it makes me feel nostalgic for what we are giving up,” admits the mum of two grown up children.

The couple who acted on an impulse when they bought the mill house and never regretted it. They won’t be leaving the area, just the six bedroom house in which they have put a lot of love.

The agents at Fine & Country in Hazlemere are inviting offers over £1.975 million.