Yorkshire Interiors - a period cottage in York

PUBLISHED: 18:41 03 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:49 20 February 2013

Yorkshire Interiors - a period cottage in York

Yorkshire Interiors - a period cottage in York

Serial house-mover Tracie Jarvis has finally found a place to call home in a period cottage in York. Heather Dixon reports Photographs by Colin Poole


The Design House; 01904 628202 thedesignhouseyork.com

Oka 0844 8157380 okadirect.com

Pavilion Rattan 01623 847030 pavilionrattan.co.uk

Symphony Kitchens symphony-group.co.uk

Calverts Carpets 01287 634397 calverts-carpets.co.uk

TK Maxx 01923 473000 tkmaxx.com

Christopher Wray 0207 751 8701 christopherwray.com

Dunelm Mill 0845 165 6565 dunelm-mill.com

Tracie Jarvis and her family moved house 20 times when she was growing up and by the time she settled in York she had single-handedly renovated six homes in 11 years. No one was more surprised than Tracie herself when she decided to put down roots and stay in the cottage she calls her very own oasis. I love the sense of achievement you get after renovating a property but it requires a lot of energy and I have two businesses to run, so I thought it was time to settle down, says Tracie.

My life changed when I came here. Although I love to travel and keep busy, this is my oasis. There is a small, friendly community and I feel completely at home. Although were on the edge of the city, no one really knows we are here.

Putting down roots hasnt stopped Tracie ringing the changes. In the past eight years she has not only renovated the property from top to bottom but also decorated the dining room three times and the sitting room twice. I am always discovering new fabrics and wallpapers which I want to use in my own house so nothing stays the same for very long.

Tracie has created a modern look in a period house - a former doctors cottage built in 1905 - but it took months to strip the property back to basics, re-wire and re-plumb, support sagging floor joists, replace the kitchen and bathroom, install French doors in the sitting room and expose the brick fireplace before re-plastering throughout.

Tracie sold her last house within a week and slept on a friends floor for two months until the sale of this was completed and she could move in. I started working on it two days after moving in, beginning with the bathroom because I wanted somewhere to sit and relax with a good book at the end of the day, says Tracie, who did most of the plumbing herself.

She also took down all the orange pine cladding which looked like a Swedish sauna and reconfigured the bathroom so that there would be a double-ended cast iron bath in the middle of the room. For three weeks I had to stand in a washing up bowl to shower, using a pipe coming out of the wall which was attached to a mixer. It was a feat of endurance. The wind used to howl through a gap in the wall where the toilet had been so it was freezing as well.

But Tracie wasnt bothered by the upheaval. I love DIY but it can be quite tough coming home and starting again after a day of renovating other peoples properties, she says. Fortunately my partner, Ollie, loves cooking. The only time there was a problem was when Ollie came home the day before he was due to cook a big meal for friends and found everything from the kitchen packed up in the dining room. We were up until 3am getting everything back to normal again.

Tracie is passionate about art and collects contemporary paintings, ceramics and pottery which she teams with natural textures and colours to create rooms which are layered and sumptuous.

I like organic things and tend to buy things I really love because I know they will all work together, says Tracie. I particularly wanted an opulent bedroom which is why I chose wallpaper with a shimmering effect and used lots of velvet. I can also afford to choose expensive fabrics because the house isnt very big.

The final room to be renovated was the kitchen which was completed last year and the finer details of the house are almost complete. But its unlikely to stay the same for long. I shall always change the decor and swap furniture around to keep it fresh and interesting, says Tracie. Much as I love it as it is, I am always itching to try new fabrics and exciting new wallpapers. The house will always keep evolving. Its the next best thing to moving.

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