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A light and airy home in Copmanthorpe, near York
12:38pm Thursday 31st May 2012
ROY and Mary Collier found their ideal home by accident.
They had been looking at other properties when they spotted a for sale sign outside White House, an imposing property in an imposing lane on the edge of Copmanthorpe.
They arranged to take a look and liked what they saw – so much so that they have been here for 21 years!
“It needed work,” Roy recalls today, “but there was definitely something special about the place...”
That something special remains today. Gradually improved and refurbished by the Colliers over those two decades, this now stands as a house on a grand scale, managing that clever trick of being a comfortable and cosy home yet with elegant showcase rooms.
And how much of a family home it has become over the years can be seen when you stand on the spacious landing and look at a gallery of the family memories Roy and Mary have put together.
There are pictures of their children, Nick and JoJo, of their respective families and friends – and a striking one of Roy and Mary on their wedding day, her veil flying in the wind.
“Clifton Church,” Mary says with a smile. “I was 21 and Roy was 23. The picture was on the front page of the Evening Press.”
The couple are York born and bred, Roy a policeman, Mary a nurse – but they did spend some time in Hong Kong when Roy was seconded to the Royal Commission. “We went for two years and ended up staying for ten,” Roy says.
“We really loved the life out there.”
Even so, the call of Yorkshire proved strong and the couple returned to the UK – and it was partly the legacy of their Asian life that led to them choosing White House (not The White House Roy points out – “we’ll leave that one to that Obama chap”).
“We had a collection of lovely rosewood furniture,”
Mary explains, “and we needed somewhere big enough to house it!”
White House certainly fitted that criteria. This is a home that does not do small rooms... the dining room, for instance, is a big, bright and classically stylish spot with windows to two sides and space enough to seat a party around the dining table.
And the living room across the way also has a grand air about it, with light streaming in from windows to front and side, dancing down from a high ceiling to the solid oak flooring underneath and illuminating a charming period style fireplace.
On one wall a clock ticks quietly...and that’s an important point.
Some people might be deterred by the fact that the house is a short distance away from the A64, although you can’t see the road beyond a sheltering wall of fence and high hedge. Is traffic noise a factor? Well, yes, it is – in the front garden.
Once inside the house itself, however, you can hardly hear a murmur (and as the front garden has been laid to drive and hard-standing parking areas the discomfort is minimal).
The advantages, Roy reckons, outweigh the disadvantages – you are just a skip away from commuting routes to east and west and five minutes from the park-and-ride into York at Askham Bar.
“And when we are in the back garden we just don’t notice any noise,” Roy adds.
Ah, the back garden. I get a peep of this colourful delight to come as the Colliers show me into a music room at the rear of the house.
There’s a big window and beyond that the collective dash of reds and greens and golds of a garden in full Spring plumage.
There is a similar treat in the breakfast kitchen, another bright and airy space, comfortable and cosy and delightfully fitted with a range of wall and base units and a handsome Rayburn set within the chimney breast.
The range, as it turns out, has been turned off. “Too hot for this time of year,” Roy says. “That’s why we have the second cooker.”
It’s certainly a toasty room, and when Mary says they spend a lot of their time sitting around the table here it’s easy to understand why, particularly as there are more glimpses of the garden.
But first we’re to take a tour of the upstairs, with its three big double bedrooms (one with a shower and a range of fine built-in wardrobes and drawers) and a smart house bathroom.
The views from the windows here are pleasant. The front bedrooms look across the A64 and towards York and the golf club where Roy is very much an active member. “We thought about trying to persuade the road men to build him a bridge,” Mary jokes.
The back bedroom, meanwhile, looks across the garden and, at last, we’re going to traipse back downstairs and outside for a proper view.
All the teasing looks were well made – this is a super garden, definitely a highlight. South-facing and private, it has long lawns, walkways, flower beds and vegetable and fruit plots, screened at the south end by tall mature trees.
There is a big garage and beyond that an extended car port running down the side of the house “a blessing in the winter”, as Roy describes it. And there is a patio area to a courtyard area which, says Mary, is “an absolute sun trap, adding “we have breakfast, lunch and dinner out here because it gets the sun all day long.”
Like everything else at this property, the garden is a result of the couple’s teamwork. “Mary does the plants and I do the lawn and the veg,” Roy says.
Roy, however, is solely responsible for the flags... Today a flag of St George is fluttering at the top of a tall pole, but Roy has quite a collection to run up at rhyme or reason, depending on the occasion.
Well, we should all run a flag up for White House, a delightful, imposing yet light and airy home with a wonderful garden.
“We have been happy here,” Roy concludes. “But it is perhaps time to let another family enjoy it.” And so there it is, White House waits for another lucky finder.
at a glance
White House,Tadcaster Road, Copmanthorpe
Reception rooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1 (plus in-room shower and ground floor cloaks)
Gardens: Long drive and hardstanding area to front, pretty private gardens to back, includes garage and car port
Wow factor: That beautiful rear garden – the stylish sitting room and a lovely, welcoming breakfast kitchen
Contact: Hudson Moody
Phone: 01904 650650