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Homes for sale: South Cottages, off Shipton Road, York
1:41pm Thursday 8th March 2012
“I LIKE the spectacular,” says Carol Jackson. “I like dramatic…”
Dramatic and spectacular are good words to use when it comes to describing Carol’s home, a delightful period cottage on the end of a row of six similar properties tucked away in a private lane just off York’s Shipton Road.
Carol and husband Chris have been here for a little over nine years and have transformed the place in that time, adding and extending and improving.
And at the same time creating a very individual dash of style.
Against a backdrop of sober traditional features such as period fireplaces, ceiling roses, decorative coving and sash windows, Carol has added a tipsy riot of vibrant colours, fascinating and eye-catching ornamentation, beautifully made curtains and voiles and carefully chosen artworks.
Should it work? Probably not. Does it work?
Carol’s style has filled this house with a wonderful sense of exuberance. And nowhere more so than in the dining room, a light and bright space which, washed by light from windows to front and side, manages to blend its Victorian origins with a lighter contemporary look.
“I like the mix of old with the new,” Carol explains.
“And I like a colourful look, I think you can see that here.
I always feel like it’s Christmas when I come into the dining room.”
Certainly the reds and silvers and golds in which the room is dressed carry a festive feel.
And it’s easy to imagine this being a jolly place for family celebrations; it’s a good size – “it’s actually bigger than the living room”
says Carol – and is warmed by a working fire in a period style fireplace with polished wood surround set in a feature wall with picture rail and corniching above, an alcove to one side, a window to the other.
“I wanted this to have a very dramatic decoration because I think it’s a dramatic room,” Carol adds.
So, I ask, admiring her handiwork, have you ever thought about going into design professionally?
“I did once think about it,”
Carol says. “One woman who came to look around the house asked me if I would go and do the interior design on her house, she liked what we’d done so much.”
Professional or not, Carol does have an eye for what works. After the dining room, we step into the sitting room, a more sedate mix of gentle golds and bronzes and cool creams, a good place to relax and while away a quiet afternoon.
It’s another light, bright room with a window to the front and opening up to a conservatory, one of the additions Carol and Chris have brought to the house.
It makes for a nice tranquil spot – just how tranquil, you notice, when taking a quiet moment and realising there is not a nip of noise of any kind.
“Well,” Chris says, “this is a private road and we are the end house so you don’t get much noise, there are no cars going past or people – although, apparently, there is a covenant somewhere that says the Archbishop of York can walk up and down the lane anytime he feels like it. We haven’t seen him yet, mind.”
The covenant hints at the house’s origins. South Cottages were built in the early 1900s and were originally homes for doctors working at the nearby Clifton Hospital. When Carol and Chris came here nine years ago the house needed a little bit of attention, well, more than a little, actually.
There were no doors downstairs, for instance. Chris sourced new ones from a church in Leeds – they fitted well into the period style of the home, as did the conservatory when it was added.
Other changes made by the Jacksons include turning an understairs storage area into a cleverlyconcealed ground-floor shower room and WC. The kitchen, too, has been upgraded. While very much retaining a cottage kitchen feel thanks to overhead beams, stocky solid wood cupboards and tiled floor, it also has a modern set of light, cream-coloured wall and base units and integrated fridge/freezer and a double oven and hob range cooker.
It’s another very light room, too, with three windows to two sides.
While we are in the kitchen it’s worth mentioning that Chris and Carol’s son Paul is well known as the landlord of the Crown Inn at Great Ouseburn, and has featured several times in The Press for his award-winning food (The Crown was also voted the pub of the year 2011 in the Yorkshire White Rose Awards).
“He’s always in The Press,” says Chris. “It will be nice for us to be in for a change!”
Time now, to press on, as it were, and have a look upstairs.
It is while we are on the way up that I spot another secret to Carol’s design eye – that of attention to detail. The stairs have exposed polished wood treads with a central carpet strip held in place by stair rods.
“Yes,” Carol says. “Little details do matter and I think this is much more interesting than just having carpet down.”
From little details to big exhibitions, walking into the first of the two bedrooms here is a real jawdropping experience. The main bedroom has been set up as, in Carol’s words, “a boudoir room”.
She laughs as I gaze around.
“It’s got a very French influence,”
she says. “The bed is French and we have set up the furniture in French style. We got the furniture and painted and then rubbed it down to give it that distressed look.”
The room has solid wood flooring, a period cast-iron fireplace, an overhead chandelier-style light – and lots and lots of colour... purples and lilacs and creams abound around that canopied bed.
“I like stuff that stands out,” Carol says. And this room is certainly outstanding. It helps that it is yet another light room, with windows to two sides letting in the sunshine.
Joie de vivre indeed for the French bedroom.
Across the landing there is a second bedroom which, mirroring the living/dining room contrasts on the floor below, is somewhat less flamboyant but every bit as light and bright.
A big, bright house bathroom with free-standing Victorian style bath and corner walk-in shower unit, wrapped with head-height runaround ornamental shelving completes the upstairs tour.
And now, after enjoying Carol’s world, it’s time to take in Chris’s realm, in the shape of the gardens.
Here is very much a major selling point for this home; there are great gardens to the front of the house and to the back.
The front garden is a tidy, easyto- maintain section with a gravelled area, a couple of mature trees and plant pots spread liberally around.
From here a path takes you to the back of the house and, having tripped across the access road, you run into a long second garden.
This garden is laid out in two sections, the first having another gravelled area and raised decking areas – ideal for barbecues and picnics – and the second section is laid to lawn and runs down to a copse of mature trees.
There’s the bonus of a summer house with power and light and a lock-up shed. And despite being a short walk from Shipton Road and buses into the city centre just over a mile away, it’s a very quiet spot.
“This is a great garden on sunny days,” Chris says. “We’ve had some good family parties here and the grandkids love running around.”
You’ve got a really nice house and a great garden, I say, as I prepare to leave. Chris smiles. “Thank you. We’ve really enjoyed living here. I hope that the people who come in will enjoy it as much as we do.” Why wouldn’t they? This is, after all, a spectacular and dramatic home.
at a glance
Reception rooms: 2
Gardens: Low-maintenance garden to front, long split-level garden to rear (accessed across access path)
Wow factor: Apart from Carol’s dramatic interior design, it is the brilliant gardens
Contact: R M English
Phone: 01904 697900