Beyond Dragons

An architectural romance

We’re often asked about the genesis of Belle Grove. How come the farmhouse chimney bears a denizen dragon? How did the beguiling barns come about?  Having one successful book under her belt (African Approaches), Jo decided to write it all down …

Beyond Dragons, published by Backbiting Beast Publications,  is all about the self-building of what some may say is our slightly eccentric farmhouse here at Belle Grove Farm and the parallel creation of Belle Grove Barns on the same site: a mix of anecdote, memoir and travelogue mean there is something in it for everyone…

Covering the inspiration for the house design, it explains how planning permission was (uniquely) achieved in the absence of conventional plans and, without being over-technical, includes the sort of unorthodox constructional detail of interest to aspiring self-builders or building fantasists. It provides geographical and historical context, explains how we came to procure materials and furnishings from overseas, and, last but not least, the why and how of the dragon sculpture.

Endorsees include James Bettley, architectural historian, Marc Allum, specialist with BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and Jason Orme, editor in chief of Homebuilding and Renovating Magazine.

[The house has featured in Channel 4’s ‘George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’ and HGTV’s ‘Extreme Homes’ as well as newsprint and magazines and was named Overall Winner of the Daily Telegraph’s Building Awards 2012.  It is included in the new (2015) edition of the very prestigious Pevsner’s Architectural Guides: Suffolk]

If interested in purchasing a copy at £12 + postage, please email

Beyond Dragons: an architectural romance   ISBN 9781999736200

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram