Yorkshire Interiors - North Yorkshire farmhouse

PUBLISHED: 17:05 27 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:33 20 February 2013

Comfort was a key element in the design of the sitting room. Chimney breast painted Farrow & Ball Hardwick White, walls Slipper Satin estate emulsion; Barletta sofas, chair from Marks & Spencer; lamp from Oka; stone fireplace made by local craftsman Chris Simpson of Killinghall, Harrogate

Comfort was a key element in the design of the sitting room. Chimney breast painted Farrow & Ball Hardwick White, walls Slipper Satin estate emulsion; Barletta sofas, chair from Marks & Spencer; lamp from Oka; stone fireplace made by local craftsman Chris Simpson of Killinghall, Harrogate

Versatility was vital as one couple transformed a dated North Yorkshire farmhouse into a stylish family home – and a film location. Heather Dixon reports

Three young children and two boisterous dogs are bound to make lots of mess, so when Andrea and Gordon Bethell started to decorate their newly-renovated farmhouse it was with practicalities in mind.

I definitely wanted stone floors wherever there were doors opening into the house from outside, said Andrea. We live in the country so the hall and kitchen, which gets most traffic, had to stand up to muddy boots and wet weather. But we also wanted the house to be homely and comfortable, so its definitely shoes off for anywhere carpeted.

Light colour schemes could have also posed a problem with an active young family, but Andrea took a philosophical view about the dcor by choosing colours which would be easy to freshen up if they were covered in finger marks.

But there was another reason Andrea wanted the house to be as versatile as possible she is offering it as a location property for photography and films.

Its in an ideal location with 10 acres of land so there is plenty of space inside and out, said Andrea. I can cope with upheaval. Gordon and I renovated four houses before this one so we are used to living surrounded by total chaos.

When they came to renovate the farmhouse, however, they had no option but to live in their old house while the main structural work was done.We were taking it back to a shell and with young children one of them less than a year old - it would have been impossible to live in, said Andrea.

We stayed in the last house for six months before we sold it, by which time this house was ready to move into. It wasnt finished and we had to use the utility as a kitchen for a while, but at least we had somewhere comfortable to eat and sleep.

When Andrea and Gordon first saw the property it was a working four-bedroom farmhouse which hadnt been modernised for many years. The property stands on a wind-swept hilltop and good insulation and heat sources were top of Gordons wish-list.

So the first task was to install a ground source heat pump, which meant digging up the floors and putting new joists in upstairs to accommodate the compressed heat pipes. Extra thick insulation, new bespoke, engineered wood windows and a new roof came next, followed by rewiring, new plumbing and re-plastering. In the process, some walls were blocked up and others opened out to create a better flow of rooms through the house. The staircase, which had been in the study, was moved and new fireplaces were installed.

There was a lot of structural work going on in the first few months, said Andrea.

We hadnt realised just how much needed doing but we decided that if we were going to go to these lengths it was worth going the extra mile to get exactly what we wanted, rather than try to save money here and there only to have to re-do it later because it wasnt right.

Once the rooms started taking shape, Andrea began to research furniture, colour and fabrics which would help her to achieve the look she had in mind.

Gordon was very happy for me to use my judgement, said Andrea. I could visualise the way every room would look, although it was really hard to pull together a whole house from scratch. Its one thing to do a single room, but very different when you are thinking about the whole house.

You have to make sure the spaces work together, which means choosing several colours in one go to make sure they follow on. I tend to go with my gut feeling. If I buy what I like it naturally falls into place.

Andrea wanted the house to be modern but still have a traditional edge, so she chose dark wood pieces to off-set the light coloured sofas and neutral wall shades. Although we had done up houses before this was the first time we had taken a home back to a shell and virtually rebuilt it, so it was exciting to see the house take on a new shape and identity, said Andrea.

I love the whole process, but the best bit has been decorating and furnishing it from a blank canvas. Now weve lived in it for a while I dont think there is anything I would change inside. It works really well. But we might find a way of creating a barrier against the wind outside.

When we moved in we took down a row of trees because we wanted to see the fantastic views, but we soon realised why they had been planted. It would be really good to be able to sit out on the patio and eat al fresco without everything blowing away.


Country Chic of Harrogate
07788 443619 country-chic.net

Atlantic Shopping
0121 230 1644 atlanticshopping.co.uk

Little London Kitchen Company,
Rawdon 0113 250 0169 littlelondonhandmade.co.uk

James Brindley of Harrogate
01423 560757 jamesbrindley.com

Waltons Mill Shop, Harrogate
01423 520980

01423 400100 lapicida.com

0844 8157380 okadirect.com

Chris Simpson of Killinghall
01423 528 956

The White Company
0845 6788150 thewhitecompany.com

TK Maxx
01923 473 000 tkmaxx.com

Laura Ashley
0871 2302301 LauraAshley.com

0844 8110069 monsoon.co.uk

Barker & Stonehouse
0844 42042208

The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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