RICHARD SWEETING specialises in renovating period properties in Yorkshire – which is just as well because over the last two years he has put his heart and soul into renovating his own home.
Braithwaite Farm nestles at the heart of the pretty conservation village of Everingham in east Yorkshire.
Orginally a prime property on the Everingham Estate owned by the Duke of Norfolk, this mid-18th century farmhouse is part of the history of the village.
Richard has totally refurbished the property, carefully researching and restoring its distinctive architectural styles and features to create an impressive family home with a fine balance of the traditional and the contemporary.
He and his wife, Charlotte, who have two young children, bought Braithwaite Farm two years ago. Comparing photographs of then and now reveals the scale of the restoration work both inside and outside the house.
“It was run down but had tremendous potential,” said Richard. “Although not listed, the fact that Everingham is a conservation village meant that externally we had to keep the property as a white rendered house and restore, rather than change, the stonework.”
The result of Richard’s work is stunning, the exteriors both back, front and side look quite beautiful with the front set off by a peaked and curved porch while to another aspect there is a double twin-peaked roof over a smart set of windows and French doors… all set off with a flagged terrace running around the immediate outside of the property.
“I researched the history of the house and looked at old photographs and realised the importance of keeping the character and period detail of this house alive,” Richard adds. “The challenge was to ensure that it worked as a family home and fitted with today’s lifestyle.”
He has expanded the size of the house to create a spacious breakfast dining farmhouse kitchen with an added utility and cloakroom on the ground floor.
This is a quite stunning area, light, bright and gorgeously spacious. It has lime-washed oak flooring, elegant wall and base units with inset display cabinets and with contrasting solid oak wood work surfaces and beautifully clear lines to accommodate a host of appliances including a double Rangemaster oven, dishwasher and fridge freezer. There is a separate utility room for washing and laundry.
The ground floor also has a sitting room with a newly fitted feature fireplace with an open grate and smart shelving and cupboards and a dining room (currently in use as a playroom for the children).
The extra space added by Richard has transformed the first-floor master bedroom into an impressive suite with dressing area and an en-suite shower room. There are three further double bedrooms to this floor and an impressive house bathroom at the heart of which is a fitted Imperial claw feet bath, pedestal wash hand basin and WC.
Every room here is set up to make the most of natural light and is bathed in neutral tones, giving the house a contemporary feel while still having period touches like coving overhead and lime-washed oak flooring underfoot.
It has been refurbished with an obvious attention to detail and quality – such as those oak floors and the solid oak worktops in the kitchen and the utility room – while all the walls have been replastered and redecorated.
Richard has also made sure the creature comforts are in place, having updated the electrics and central heating, installed a new boiler and radiators and reinstated pine internal doors and traditional coving.
A beautiful house, then – and in beautiful surroundings, too, with a great open sense about the gardens and the views to the local countryside. Everywhere you look there seem to be blue clear skies and the greens and golds of surrounding mature trees.
The gardens make the most of all of this open-air joy with patio seating areas, lawned garden and a wrap-around terrace. There is plenty of space for parking, too, with not only a detached double garage but a gravelled driveway with room enough for several cars.
And all of this, house and grounds, sits brilliantly with the surrounding area – a credit to Richard’s hard work.
As a main part of the restoration, Richard has put back the decorative York stonework around the mullion sides, heads and sills of each window, which all have new timber frames, and he has sourced reclaimed slates to repair the original roof and to ensure the new roof on the extension matches perfectly.
In this, he it has also helped that restoring period properties using traditional materials is what Richard does for a living with his business RM Sweeting Properties.
He said: “I think more people are interested in making more of their homes, whether it is to make it fit for purpose for a growing family or with a view to selling it in the longer term. “Braithwaite Farm is a good example of making the most of what a house has to offer in terms of style and character while ensuring it is practical and comfortable as a family home.”
It is a labour of love that has had a warm welcome.
Richards says: “I have had great feedback and interest in the property, with people in the village welcoming the restoration. It is certainly a house that was built to last but now, I think, the restoration work and the quality of the materials we have used will ensure it remains a beautiful home for families to enjoy for many more years to come.”
At a glance
Reception rooms: Three
Bathrooms: Two plus ground-floor cloaks
Gardens: Gravelled driveway, double garage and pleasant lawned garden with patio areas and vegetable patch.
Wow factor: That superb farmhouse style kitchen breakfast room – a brilliant ‘heart of the house’ spot.
Price: Offers over £415,000.
Contact: Chris Clubley & Co, Pocklington. Tele: 01759 304040