I WAS quite looking forward to taking a tour of The Gatehouse. It had once been the home of friends of ours and I can (vaguely) recall having a very enjoyable, if slightly alcoholic, dinner party there some years ago.
So when the present owner Alexander Lister opened up the door and met me with a smile, I expected a sense of deja vu to sweep in. Er, not quite...
Alexander’s smile turns into a laugh at my bemused expression.
“Yes, well,” he says, “we have changed the house a bit, well quite a lot, actually.”
This is a house which has been utterly – and quite splendidly – transformed by Alexander and his fiancee Abbey with the help of Alexander’s parents. The family team bought the house and then spent ten months completely restructuring and re-forming it – and what a great job they have done with it, too.
The ground floor now boasts a brilliant (in all senses – this is a wonderfully light and airy space) breakfast kitchen and living room.
The kitchen – like pretty much most of the rest of the house – has been recently refurbished and refitted and now has a fine range of wall and base units in a mellow oak frontage with contrasting granite worktops and a delightful wide and comfortable breakfast bar.
From here you step across a dining area before then passing through into the living space. We really loved this spot – it has lots of light coming in from double doors and deep windows to the front and Velux windows overhead. It’s also very smartly presented, adding to its charm.
“We were finishing this off last year as winter started,” Alexander says. “We thought it was a nice, cosy room then but now that the lighter nights are coming in it looks even better – I think it will be tremendous in the spring and summer.”
They did think of extending it still further, into the space where there is a garage, but by then Alexander and Abbey were thinking of moving on and reckoned the garage would be a good selling point. They are probably right – especially as there is also a small(ish) but beautifullyformed patio garden and sunny seating area at the side to go along with it (and there is another garden area to the front of the house).
The ground floor is completed by a separate utility room and cloakroom.
Upstairs, in what was once a living room, Alexander and Abbey have created a superb master bedroom with lots of space and a new, contemporary, en-suite with walkin shower. “We wanted a big bedroom and it seemed a much better way to use the space,” Alexander explains.
Hard to disagree when presented with the results.
Next we move into another goodsized guest bedroom, also with a new en-suite, and there is a third bedroom on this floor. And then, taking a deep breath, we take a trip up another flight of stairs to find a set of two more rooms, sitting in the arch which helps to give this home its name – it very much is a gateway, to the small and highly des res collection of executive homes further into Lakeside.
These top bedrooms are, once more, generously proportioned and surprisingly light and airy, and served by a shower room set between the two.
A house with lots of room on offer, then, but also a house with lots of character, too, thanks to a series of swoops and curves in the ceilings and deep landing windows, one of which is an unusual porthole shape, another other deep and arched. There is also a natural flow to the rooms and the refurb work – carried out by local craftsman Steve Booth – has been completed to very high standards.
So why, I ask, after all that hard work, are they selling? “Well, we really love the house and we’re really pleased with the changes but...” And the but in this instance lies with Alexander’s work.
The Lister family have farmed at Healaugh, near Tadcaster, since the 1940s and Alexander is now playing his part – including the care of his own livestock. “It takes about 20 minutes to get to the farm and 20 minutes back. That doesn’t sound a lot but if you are doing a 120-hour week it can make a lot of difference.”
So, much as they like their present home, he and Abbey are now preparing to move closer to the family farm, leaving behind a superbly restyled home for some lucky purchaser.
At a glance...
The Gatehouse, Lakeside, Acaster Malbis
Reception rooms: 2
Gardens: Pretty patio garden to side, lawned garden to front, garage
Wow factor: Has to be the light bright ground floor trio of fitted kitchen, dining area and light and bright sitting room
Contact: R M English
Phone: 01904 697900