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December 10 2013 Latest news:
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The sitting room is Debbieâ€™s favourite winter room and looks particularly cosy with the Laura Ashley Cranberry wall colour. Debbie adapted a coffee table to create a footstool. A DFS sofa is teamed with an armchair bought through a trade supplier. The cushions and blind are made with a Mulhouse fabric. The rug is from Laura Ashley and the candlesticks and fireguard are from Serendipity.
Debbie Aarons has filled her North Yorkshire cottage with everything she and her busband love to create a very individual home, says Heather Dixon Photographs by Colin Poole
Serendipity, Wetherby 01937 585110
Barker and Stonehouse 0844 42042208 barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
BHS 0845 1960000 bhs.co.uk
And So To Bed 01423 709555 andsotobed.co.uk
Dorma 08449 800011 dorma.co.uk
TK Maxx 01923 473 000 tkmaxx.com
Debbie Aarons was amazed by the Tardis-like interior of a pretty country cottage in North Yorkshire. We saw the property advertised in the evening paper, loved the look of it and immediately grabbed our coats and went to see it, even though it was cold, dark and very late at night, says Debbie. It looked so lovely from the outside that the next day I knocked on the door and asked to look around. I couldnt believe how big it was, or how quirky. Within the hour we were negotiating to buy it.
The 200-year-old cottage, which is in a conservation area, had been extended into an adjoining hay barn to create a bigger kitchen with a bedroom above, but the white-washed exterior was overgrown with ivy and the interior decor was not to Debbies taste.
As soon as they moved in, they employed builders to remove the outer layer of brick and render and rebuild it, with insulation, and to restore it to its original style. More recently new wooden sash windows have been fitted and the cottage was reroofed.
We survived last winter with windows boarded over and scaffolding and plastic sheets over the house, says Debbie. We spent three weeks with rubble and dust inside the house, which was a bit of a nightmare because we had to re-plaster and redecorate around the windows as well as do a major clean-up job afterwards.
Debbie and David were in rented houses before buying the cottage in the village where David has lived most of his life. Their combined furniture, along with new additions, has created a cosy, eclectic look which, says Debbie, makes the cottage a perfect winter home.
I am a real home bird and love my nest, she says. I am very happy and comfortable here and there is an equal mix of both of us in the house. We both love being surrounded by things we like.
The house has evolved dramatically since Debbie started running her interiors gift shop, Serendipity in Wetherby, three years ago. It was a steep learning curve, but I soon discovered that the shop and our home were influencing each other. I love the bits and pieces which make a house a home, so it was easy to combine the two. I buy things for the shop which I would like in the house, and vice versa.
Debbie is particularly fond of sayings, signs and little items which have personal meaning. Its these things which make a home your own, she says. I never have a clear idea of the way a room will look it just evolves as I bring home the little things that make me smile and give it that personal touch.
The house is full of innovative ideas as Debbie adapts furniture and fittings to suit the rooms, painting fitted wardrobes and recovering chairs to develop warm colour schemes. But few things give her more satisfaction than cleaning. I might sound a bit old-fashioned, but I love cleaning, she says. When I come home and have a couple of hours to myself thats how I unwind. I open the doors and windows and I spend a very happy couple of hours tidying and moving things around, polishing and vacuuming. It gives me time to really appreciate what we have and reminds me that buying this cottage was one of the best things weve ever done.