Yorkshire Interiors - a Grade II listed Georgian property
PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 January 2014
A once almost derelict Grade II listed six-bedroom Georgian house is now a comfortable family home, reports Heather Dixon
‘If I had drawn my idea of the perfect house as a child it would have looked like this,’ says property stylist Marion Buchanan. ‘Everything is perfectly proportioned and completely in balance.’ No wonder she fell for the run-down Duchy of Lancaster estate property ‘hook, line and sinker’ even though it had been described to her as a ‘very big house which was falling down’.
‘With three young boys we were looking for somewhere robust with plenty of space, inside and out,’ says Marion, who had already spent 10 years restyling and expanding the family’s hotel in Pickering. ‘We knew it was going to take a lot of work to get it right, but our search for a new home stopped here.’
Victor and Marion sold their last house and moved into another estate house until the year-long renovation work was finished. The biggest task, which set them back six months, was re-roofing the house after discovering that a lot of the lead work had perished and rot had set into the woodwork. The house needed re-pointing, crumbling jam stones on the windows were replaced and new plumbing installed.
‘It was very basic,’ recalls Marion. ‘There was just an old oil stove for heating and a tin sink in the kitchen.’
It was also lacking a mains water supply, with all the fresh supplies coming from a brick lined water store built under the garden. ‘The house was virtually taken back to a shell and partitions between the rooms were taken out to return it to its original layout.’
Marion and Victor installed a new kitchen and combined a small bedroom with the original bathroom to create a large family bathroom, before having the whole house re-plastered.
‘A lot of the original cornice had been lost under layers of really thick paint so we did our best to salvage and restore what we could,’ says Victor. ‘We sought the advice of a specialist who recommended a special poultice to take off the old paint and reveal the original design.’
Marion and Victor were so keen to restore the house that they were delighted to discover that the original dining room and sitting room fireplaces, which had been taken out in the 1950s, were still intact – one in an outhouse nearby and the other installed in a house in Cheshire.
‘Someone actually stopped me in the street and told me he had the original fireplace in his shed. It had almost been put on a fire in the 1970s but a lady had rescued it and he was storing it for her. So we bought that one and reinstated it,’ she says.
Marion’s greatest joy came from furnishing the renovated house. As someone who helps others to furnish and decorate their homes in a ‘very personal’ style, she was determined to let her own home evolve in the same way, based on family pieces, antiques and a long standing collection of art.
‘I am not a big fan of buying furniture off the shelf,’ she says. ‘I like to find individual pieces, things which have a history to them or have been handed down through families and have sentimental meaning. In these days of bland and conformist interiors I think it’s essential to create a home that is comfortable and reflects the people who live there through their possessions and personalities. Who wants to live in a soulless one size fits all environment?’
The country house has certainly been built to withstand the wear and tear of their rural lifestyle, with flagstone and wooden floors, old comfortable furniture and plenty of space absorbing the inevitable knocks that go with three sons and two dogs.
‘There was a time when we were renovating the house that was quite stressful, when we were both working full time and raising three children,’ says Marion. ‘But you just have to get on with it. I never thought for one minute that we might have made a mistake. We knew from the moment we saw it that we would love it here and it’s lived up to all our expectations.’
Rohan Woodworking 01653 697333 rohanwoodworking.co.uk
Artist James Wedge jameswedge.com
The Rug Company 020 7229 5148 therugcompany.info
Indigo 01653 697400 indigo11.co.uk
The Conran Shop 0844 848 4000 theconranshop.co.uk
Oka 0844 815 7380 okadirect.com
The Stone Fireplace Company, York 01904 675777 thestonefireplacecompany.com
Boulton & Cooper, Malton 01653 692151 boultoncooper.co.uk
Rodgers of York 01904 610570 rodgersofyork.co.uk