Hard work of a self-build was worth it, say couple
Victoria House, Cooper Lane, Holmfirth Price: Offers around £435,000 Contact: Simon Blyth tel: 01484 689689, www.simonblyth.co.uk ALAN and Liz Whitehouse got more than they bargained for when they went in search of a renovation project.
The couple started from scratch on a self-build after being seduced by a plot close to the centre of Holmfirth.
“We had never considered selfbuild before and the site was like a rain forest when we saw it.
“There were trees everywhere and it was very overgrown, but the views across the Holme Valley were spectacular and it was just two minutes’ walk from the centre of town,” says Alan, who is business and transport correspondent for BBC Look North.
They bought the land in 2000 and worked with plans produced by local architects One 17.
Although the design was for a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a full-height atrium, Liz and Alan reconfigured the space to suit their lifestyle.
“It was re-designed to suit the two of us. Our daughter was about to go to university so we need didn’t an enormous number of bedrooms,” says Alan.
“We ended up with with three bedrooms and a large study/library area at the bottom of the atrium.
“Most people buy houses for the number of bedrooms but we thought we’d break the mould.”
It took 18 months from reapplying for revised planning permission to moving in to their new home, but the wait and the inevitable stresses of self-building were well worthwhile.
“It’s wonderful though there were hitches.
“The weather was against us and we had to build a retaining wall because next door’s garden started moving when we began the build. That cost us an extra £8,500.
“We over ran our budget by a huge amount and our dreams of being mortgage free went out of the window, but it is a bit like childbirth. It’s hard work at the time, but well worth it.”
The property now has an inner hall with a library/study, utility room, bathroom and two bedrooms.
The upper ground floor has a studio area, lounge area, sitting bay with views, dining area, kitchen and full building height atrium.
The top floor has a bedroom, dressing room and en-suite bathroom.
Alan and Liz are selling because Liz now works in York as chief executive of the Quilters Guild.
“We intended to stay here forever, but life has taken us to York,” says Alan, who is a volunteer at the National Railway Museum and a volunteer engine cleaner on the North York Moors Railway.
“We love it here and we are very sad to leave.
“I don’t think we’ll find anything like it in York.”
The exterior of Victoria House in Holmfirth, and right, the striking full-height atrium.
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