Graham Heatley so loved the results of his city-centre town house development he bought one for himself. Brian Page takes a look.
“YOU could say I loved the houses so much that I bought one,” Graham Heatley says with a smile. “Well, I moved into one and I intend staying...”
It’s an old joke – but it does say something when a developer is so pleased with the results of his work.
Especially as in this case it was a very different project from those normally undertaken by Graham and his business partner Roy Darren.
The two run a housebuilding business called GR Homes, a company which has established a fine reputation for creating high-end (as in large and expensive) individual executive homes.
Peasholme Court was something completely different. The development had a troubled history. It was originally slated to be a landmark project close to York city centre and opposite the rapidly-expanding Hungate urban village.
Work started in 2006 and came to a grinding, inglorious halt in 2007 when the economic crash devastated the property market. With bank loans pulled, the development stalled. And then simply stopped.
The site was abandoned.
“It was in a terrible condition when we came to look at it,” Graham says.
“It was just a complete eyesore.
Horrendous.” And yet Graham could see the potential.
A Geordie, from Wallsend, Graham and his family had been living in Boroughbridge for many years and York was one of their favourite haunts. “We used to come for days out and my wife would say to me how lovely it would be to have somewhere here because we loved the city so much.
“When I saw this site I just felt that here was somewhere we could do something special – there was just a lot of potential.”
That potential has been realised and something special has indeed been create...
Peasholme Court, it has to be said, is the classic example of not judging a book by its cover – or a home by its facade. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with the external face of this collective, simply that it does not tell the true story of what lies within.
There are four, four-storey homes here, each with an astonishing 2,800-plus square feet of room space – and even that does not tell the full tale... because these are houses which have spacious rooms in all senses – with delightful high ceilings as well as plenty of floor space.
As Graham said, he wanted the houses to be something special. To that end he and Roy ripped out the past, stripped the homes back to the shell and started all over.
In came smart and stylish touches such as solid oak staircases, highend kitchen and bathroom fittings (including oak finishes and solid granite work surfaces and AEG integrated appliances) solid internal doors with decorative finish and high skirting boards.
“It just seemed the right thing to do,” Graham says. “We put this kind of character and style into the houses we build from scratch so it seemed natural to do that here.”
Now, having set the scene, let’s take a look inside and see for ourselves the size and style of these new homes.
Three of the four have the same layout so we’ll take you into one of these first. The entire ground floor is given over to a kitchen/dining arrangement which sets the tone for the rest of the house.
The kitchen area is substantial, 17ft 5ins by almost 16ft, fitted beautifully with a range of high white wall and base units and with an impressive central preparation island.
There is a separate utility room and cloakroom and a spread of French doors open to the courtyard at the rear, while there is hallway through to a front door.
The kitchen flows seamlessly into a dining room, with space enough to hold a very jolly dinner party or family celebration.
Next, it is up to the first floor where there is tremendous living room, a romper-stomper of a space with a Juliet balcony and a French door leading out to a good-sized terrace with fascinating cityscape views.
There is also a master bedroom with en-suite and a family bathroom on this floor.
Tripping upstairs we find a second floor which houses another bedroom with en-suite, a third bedroom and bathroom and a wide landing/office area. It’s from here that Graham’s team added a superb extra touch to the original plans.
“Originally this area just had a ladder going up to a loft space,” he says. “We took a look at it and knew we could do more.” So, a new staircase was added, sweeping up to a top floor where there are two more bedrooms – or a bedroom and very large dressing room (the layout Graham and his wife have chosen for their own home).
This area is, like the rest of the house, filled with character. None of the rooms have regular shapes (no simple boxes here) but have sweeps and curls which add individuality and charm.
And speaking of individuality and charm, the fourth house in the group – Graham’s personal favourite – has a somewhat different layout.
The kitchen and dining area are smaller than in the other three – but quirkily and attractively arranged.
On the first floor there is an enormous living room facing front and a bedroom and en-suite to the back.
The second floor has an equallyspacious master bedroom and ensuite and there is a third bedroom and bathroom.
And then there is the third floor – and a real wow. Here you step into a room which has a complete glass ceiling, and a further Velux window giving town and Minster views. It’s a brilliant room in terms of light and style.
“This was originally a roof terrace – but the wall was so high you couldn’t see over it, so it was a bit pointless.
We thought we could do something better with it.” And they have.
And while there is a dressing room and a bathroom as well as the glassroofed room, we agree fervently when Graham suggests this would make a fantastic spot for a home office or getaway den. Gimme...
Graham is delighted with my enthusiasm but then why not, these homes are definitely worth enthusing over.
“We’re pleased with the result,”
Graham says with quite modesty.
“That’s why we moved in. I can’t see myself living anywhere else now. I never thought we would take to city centre living but we have, we really love it.”
And so, there you have it. You couldn’t get a better recommendation.
The four town houses in Peasholme Court are all priced at £595,000 and a part-exchange package could be available on your present home. For further information, contact marketing agents Hunters. Tel: 01904 621026.