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A unique and individual home in Wigginton
12:00pm Thursday 14th June 2012
SOMETIMES you just know... It wasn’t the most glamorous of properties. A basic two-bedroomed bungalow, tidy enough but without much obvious attraction.
Nothing to tug at the heart strings.
But owner-to-be Joanne knew. This was the place for her. There was, as estate agents are fond of saying, potential.
And it was in an ideal spot, tucked away at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a peaceful position. “At the time I was a single parent and I wanted somewhere that would feel secure. The bungalow was in a hidden-away street and felt very safe.”
It still is. Westfield Grove, Wigginton is a long road made up of spick and span, respectable single-storey homes and dotted with smart two-storey houses.
That much has not changed.
But when it comes to Joanne’s own home all has very definitely changed.
The tidy but ordinary bungalow has become a fascinating contemporary conversion, with flowing openplan living and dining areas, a beautiful run of French doors letting in light and giving views over a raised decking area and the garden beyond, and a delightful fitted kitchen with central preparation island.
A solid oak and glass open staircase leads upstairs to where the one-time loft space has become a run of three bedrooms and a house bathroom – all brilliantly lit by a series of double velux windows.
Indeed, there’s a super sense of light and space throughout the whole of this imaginative, unique home.
But all of this did not come about without a great deal of not just inspiration but considerable perspiration.
It’s a tribute not just to Joanne’s vision but a great deal of hard work. She can still recall the run-up to Christmas 2004 which was spent on her hands and knees sanding and polishing the solid oak flooring which is such an eye-catching feature of the ground floor.
“I think on reflection I should have got them put in place already prepared,” she laughs now. “But you learn things as you go along...”
Joanne’s previous homeimprovement experience had been to replace the kitchen and bathroom in her former house – this was a project on a much grander scale.
“I did wonder, when the builders were pulling down ceilings, whether I might have bitten off more than I could chew,” she says. But, as Shakespeare would have it, all’s well that ends well...
But let’s walk you through the flow of the house to give you a picture of just how brilliantly it all came together. The designs for the refurbishment were provided by a friend’s father who came up with three different designs – all aiming to open up the rooms and provide lots of light and space.
We’ll start with the kitchen area which has a range of fitted wall and base units with contrasting granite worktops, integral equipment including dishwasher, fridge/freezer and microwave.
A preparation island sits between the cooking and dining area – the latter being a super space with solid oak flooring which flows around that open-plan staircase and into a good-sized lounge area with windows to the front.
This whole open-plan feel is given an extra dimension by a full wall length of hand-made and fitted French doors and windows giving out onto a raised decking area and the garden (with shaped lawns, hedges, flower beds and prettily private).
“When the builders put in the doors they rang me up and said I had to come round and have a look,” Joanne says. “I was stunned. It was just wow!”
Wow is the right word – but there are more wow factors to come. As we skip up the staircase we’re dancing in more light, coming this time from a double pair of the biggest Velux windows we’ve ever seen. “They were the biggest you could get at the time,” Joanne says. (We doubt you can get any bigger now).
Again it adds to the brilliant sense of light and space that really do make this home so special.
The double Velux theme is continued in the master bedroom, in this case augmented by a further window above the bed. “The architect designed it in for me so I could look up at the stars at night,”
Off this master bedroom is a smart en-suite shower room which, like the main house bathroom, has a highly contemporary feel. There’s another clever touch in the master bedroom where shaped doors open onto tucked away wardrobes; this is a house where every nook and cranny has been used to good effect. And with an eye to maximising floor space, Joanne had underfloor heating installed – no need for radiators (on the ground floor, incidentally, the radiators are special slim line versions installed vertically and horizontally).
There are two further bedrooms to the first floor, including one which took part of the old loft and was added to with an extension over a new garden store below.
Back downstairs, Joanne springs a final surprise in this house of surprises.
Bi-folding doors from the living room fold back and let you into another reception area, a roomy office/den which can be open or closed to the house depending on your needs (or moods!).
“There are no remote corners in the house,” Joanne says, “it’s a very light house, no dark corners.”
All as Joanne first imagined it, nine years ago when she stood outside that ordinary bungalow.
“I’m pleased,” she says, “with how it has worked. None of this could have been possible without a great team of builders, joiners - but most important of all a very special architect who I can’t thank enough for designing me such a beautiful house.
“It’s become a new home in an old shell. And I think it shows what anyone, if they have the drive and passion, can do.”
Perhaps. Perhaps not. We suspect that Joanne’s creative vision is unique. Just like the home she has created. Sometimes you just know...
at a glance
Reception rooms: an open plan flow throughout the ground floor gives you kitchen, dining, living and study areas
Gardens: hard-standing parking area to front, pretty lawned garden with raised decking area to the rear
Wow factor: the whole house is a wow factor combination of contemporary styling, light and space
Contact: William H Brown (Haxby)
Phone: 01904 769991