THE couple behind a High Legh water tower’s incredible renovation almost missed out on the chance to buy it.

Michele and Andrew Gibbons’ project to turn the 80-year-old water tower into a six-storey family home was featured on Channel 4’s Restoration Man last week, but the couple told the Guardian they missed the auction where it was initially sold in March 2013.

Having kept tabs on the property for a while, Michele and Andrew went to view it before missing the auction and only buying it after it came back on the market later that year.

Former estate agent Michele, whose dad was a builder, said: “We went to see it before it went to auction, and we actually missed the auction and were gutted.

“We went along to the estate agents that day and we were gobsmacked about how much it went for – we were going to offer more!

“They were doing viewings before the auction and we had gone to see it, and then again when we offered. Andrew used to play golf at High Legh and always said he wanted that tower.

“We didn’t think we would ever get it but one day we saw it was for sale, got straight onto the agent and offered straight away. It was meant to be.”

Michele says the couple have taken on projects before, including a recent renovation of three Georgian properties, but described the water tower project as ‘quite a large one’.

The transformation was met with widespread amazement when the finished project was unveiled last Thursday night, and the couple are now settling in to ‘vertical’ life having moved from Tabley.

Michele, who took on the role of project manager, said: “It’s an amazing place to live, and the reaction has been amazing. Most people have said it’s an incredible transformation and one of the best they’ve seen.

“[Restoration Man presenter] George Clarke was quite blown away and did something he never normally does – he didn’t go and look at it first, so on the reveal day he hadn’t seen it. It was his genuine reaction.

“It’s a different way of living, vertically rather than horizontally, but it’s brilliant and I can even say I use the stairs more than the lift – all 99 of them.”

The hour-long programme showed the highs and lows of the project, which was made difficult by waterlogging and the sheer scale of the plans – including installing 24ft windows in the top-floor living room.

Michele said: “I have to say there was a low point, with the windows and then the water. It was a water tower that didn’t want to give up being one.

“I think I am quite an optimist. There are always ways of doing things and getting around problems. I never doubted that we would do it, just how long it would take us.

“Towards the end it was completely mad, but I have never seen a group of people work so well together as a team. That’s testament to everyone that was there and worked so hard. We owe them a huge debt of thanks.”