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This elegant period home has become the ideal backdrop for a life-time's collection of antiques as Heather Dixon discovers Photographs by Dave Burton
Garry and Roger havent had what some would call a proper holiday for years. They would rather spend days off looking for antiques for their elegant Victorian home near Bradford. We love going to fairs and seeing what we can find, said Garry. We dont have holidays we would rather look for antiques. In fact they are so keen that when their collection grew too big for their last home they decided to move house rather than get rid of any of their treasured possessions.
We live and breathe antiques, added Garry. We love their history, the stories behind them; the idea that someone else has used them. We dont like parting with things and our last home, which was smaller than this, was becoming rather crowded.
There was another reason for wanting to find a larger property. Roger is a trained chef and loves to cook, so he desperately wanted a home with a dining room. We really enjoy having friends and family round, but we didnt have a dining room or a guest room so people could stay over, said Roger. Whichever way we looked at it, we needed more space.
But finding a house which ticked all the right boxes wasnt as easy as they had hoped. We wanted to live in a period property with a double garage in a good location, said Roger. We were looking for years until we met someone at a christening party who asked whether we had looked at this property. When we came to view it, we recognised the owners from the same party.
Garry and Roger knew the house was right from the moment they went upstairs and saw the large, open sitting room on the first floor. We loved the high walls which were perfect for all our pictures, the high ceiling and the large windows which let in so much light, said Garry. Although it was decorated in a modern style, and not to our taste, we loved its character. Best of all, it had a dining room and three bedrooms.
They moved in straight away and within six weeks had put new doors on the kitchen units, changed the white and cherry red kitchen decor to soft Farrow & Ball shades, exposed old floorboards, installed a fireplace where there had been a plasma television, transformed the grey and yellow bathroom and then decorated the rest of the property to create a calm, neutral backdrop for their collection of antiques.
The house certainly solved the problem of where to put everything, but it is almost four times the size of their last property and the furniture they owned looked completely out of place in the spacious rooms. Our last house was like a dolls house by comparison and the furniture was scaled to match, said Roger.
We suddenly found ourselves with lots of space to fill. They searched sale rooms and found two large sofas and a coffee table for the centre of the sitting room, which created a focal point. They filled the rest with antique tables, chairs and shelves where they could display their collections.
We share the same taste so its very rare that one of us brings home something the other doesnt like, though I dont have the same enthusiasm as Roger for Victorian tiles, said Garry. What we want to avoid is the house becoming a museum. We mix old and new. We like the fact that they can work so well together.
It took Garry and Roger a long time to get the home as they wanted it. We spent ages moving furniture about, trying to get the balance right, said Garry. The bedrooms on the ground floor work well because its cooler down there, and we like the fact that all the main living areas are linked on the first floor so that it becomes a very sociable space.
Roger and Garrys passion for antiques extends outdoors, where their tiny courtyard garden is full of antiquities and stone statues. Inside and outside are linked by a room on the ground floor which used to be a bedroom, but was transformed into a stylish garden room.
We dont have a large garden but love plants, so the garden room was the perfect halfway house, added Garry. We still have a guest room but weve gained another area where we can socialise, which is what this house is all about fine food, beautiful things and socialising. Its the perfect place for all three.
Home and Garden 01423 524650
Parker and Farr 0115 925 2131 parker-and-farr-furniture.co.uk
French Finds 01538 370052 frenchfinds.co.uk
Christopher Pratts 0113 234 8000 cpratts.co.uk
Newark Antiques Fair 01636 702326
Fikkerts 01535 692800
And So to Bed 01423 709555 andsotobed.co.uk
Barker & Stonehouse 0844 42042208 barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
Salts Mill 01274 531163 saltsmill.org.uk
Lapicida 01423 400100 lapicida.com
Garth Antiques, Harrogate 01423 530573
Magnet 0113 245 7990 magnet.co.uk
Harrogate Interiors 01423 503 000 harrogateinteriors.co.uk
Shirley Madden 01423 564989
The print version of this article appeared in the March 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life
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