Growing family means it’s time to move on from this former barn
Red Barn, Bedale Price: £195,000 Contact: Lawsons Residential tel: 01677 422400 WHEN Janet and Kevin Stevens decided they wanted a better work-life balance, a property presented them with the perfect solution.
The Red House in Bedale’s picturesque market place gave them the chance to open their own shop, and the detached barn behind had the potential to create an ideal home.
That was seven years ago and now the Red House is now a successful business specialising in quirky vintage homeware while the barn is now a twobedroom home.
What they didn’t factor in to their live-work abode was three young children, twin girls who have been blessed with a little brother.
So the stylish conversion they worked so hard to create is now too small.
“We love living here. It’s seconds from the back of the shop and it’s very central but we really need more outdoor space for the children,” says Janet.
Kevin, a former architect and furniture designer, and Janet, a stylist, used all their skills to renovate and convert the grade two listed barn.
He helped plan the space and came up with a cleverly thoughtout conversion that maximises light and space.
It took eight months to complete.
“We were lucky because the shell was solid, we just needed to organise the internal space,” says Janet.
“It was obvious what to do. We wanted to make the most of the space, so we made it into an upside-down house, which also means that we make the most of the view of the rooftops.”
The two bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs and the newly-created first floor in the roof space is a large open plan living area with a kitchen on one side of the stairs and a sitting room on the other.
“People think it’s strange when they come through the door and we lead them upstairs, but when they get up to the first floor they totally understand,” says Janet.
The decor reflects her flair for interior design and the couple’s eclectic taste that mixes old and new and puts a contemporary spin on vintage finds.
The original dark beams and roof frame have been painted to make them less oppressive, and there is a balcony off the kitchen that acts as an area for growing herbs and flowers.
The sitting room features book shelves and large, comfortable sofas covered in throws so the children, Maddy and Jess and Ned can bounce, play and spill without harm.
“We’ve got a relaxed attitude. We like the children to be able to run around and play,” says Janet.
Kevin designed the oak staircase, shutters for all the windows and the enormous oak front door, which was made by a local joinery.
The master bedroom is an oasis of calm, while the en-suite is another mix of old and new.
The old bath was restored and the new Belfast sink fitted on a wooden plinth.
An antique, wall-mounted cabinet acts as storage. “We like to keep things fairly simple, especially in a building like this that has character.
“So we kept the floors and walls neutral and added a few statement pieces,” says Janet, who favours James White paint from Farrow and Ball for the walls.
The couple initially planned to sell home and shop together but are now keeping their business, which has boomed thanks to the fashion for vintage and Kevin’s intrepid stock finding.
That’s perfect for the next owner of the barn, who will no doubt be popping in to the Red House for inspiration.
LIGHT AND SPACE: The barn is an “upside-down house” with a large living area upstairs.
ROOM TO PLAY: Comfy sofas in the living room.
WORK/LIFE BALANCE: The Red Barn at Bedale.