How two Rowntree houses became one beautiful home
4 Galtres Grove, Clifton, York. Price: £845,000. Contact: Blenkin and Co tel: 01904 671672, www.blenkinandco.com THIS beautiful family home owes its robust construction and glorious gardens to York’s best known benefactor.
It is a Rowntree house built in 1927 in accordance with the guiding principles of space, light and large gardens.
It started life as a pair of semis before being converted into one property 30 years ago and later remodelled by owners Paul and Avril Webster.
The Websters bought it 11 years ago after being seduced by its charm, its secluded plot and its proximity to the city centre and St Peter’s School, where their daughter was a pupil.
They also identified potential for improvement. Knocking two houses into one had created lots of space, but the property came with two front doors, two small kitchens and rear windows that weren’t in keeping with its architectural heritage.
The Websters, who moved from Hampshire to York, have completely renovated the house to reflect its Art Deco past.
The property was rewired, replumbed and now has a single front door. A rear extension created a large kitchen dining room with patio doors on to the garden and the other kitchen was turned into a study. They also had a porch and period-style windows installed, a new stair- case built and created new internal doors to link the two buildings. The result is one large, seamless house with 3,400 sq ft of living space and potential to convert the boarded and Veluxed loft space.
The house has an entrance and staircase hall, cloakroom, 28ft drawing room, study, rear hall and secondary staircase, kitchen/breakfast room, dining room and garden room, five bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attic room.
Outside there are two garages and off-street parking but the extensive wooded gardens are a main feature and Mr and Mrs Webster have cherished and enhanced them.
A broad sweep of lawn has a rose and honeysuckle arbour or pergola, there is a fishpond with water lilies, a flagged terrace close to the house and an orchard of apples and a greengage.
Specimen trees include the Indian Bean Tree ( catalpa bignonioides), a ginkgo biloba, and a zelkova.
“We have tried to be very sympathetic to the original houses when we did the work,” says Mr Webster.
“What we ended up with was a five-bedroom house with very large, spacious rooms.”
The properties built by the Rowntree family for themselves and their workers are soughtafter in York thanks to their wellconsidered design.
They feature large windows to maximise light and the principal rooms always overlook the garden. The object, according to Rowntree archives, was to: “secure an unusual amount of sunnyness, cheerfulness, brightness and openness”.
“This is an idyllic place to live. Although there are other houses around, you feel totally secluded and private and it is very quiet,” says Mr Webster, who is downsizing to a smaller property by the sea.
“We will be very sad to leave.”
IDYLLIC: The renovated house has extensive wooded gardens.