A coun­try cot­tage Christ­mas with all the trim­mings

The holly, the ivy and a cosy log fire. This coun­try cot­tage, near Mal­ton, is the per­fect house for Christ­mas. re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sharon Dale

HOUSE hunt­ing is all very well but some­times homes find you and so it was for Jen­nie and Luke John­son, who felt com­pelled to buy their cot­tage af­ter a friend dis­cov­ered it was for sale.

“We weren’t even look­ing for a house,” says Jen­nie, a per­sonal trainer

“We were liv­ing in Mal­ton and I was ex­pect­ing my first baby. Mov­ing wasn’t on the cards un­til a friend pointed out this house.”

The pe­riod prop­erty, on the Swin­ton Grange es­tate, needed to­tal ren­o­va­tion but the lo­ca­tion was ev­ery­thing they’d dreamed of. It was ru­ral, in a ham­let, fronted by fields and just two miles from Mal­ton.

“We took the plunge and bought it,” says Jen­nie, who was preg­nant with Archie, who is now 10.

She took nest­ing to new heights and within four months the cot­tage had been rewired, re-plumbed, had new win­dows and a full damp course af­ter they dis­cov­ered the kitchen tiles were laid onto soil.

The prop­erty, which had a liv­ing kitchen and bath­room down­stairs with three bed­rooms up­stairs, was re­con­fig­ured to give two bed­rooms and a bath­room on the first floor with a sit­ting room, kitchen and util­ity room be­low.

Both Jen­nie and Luke, a land­scape gar­dener who runs Ridgeway Ser­vices, were hand­son with the project.

“I re­mem­ber feed­ing the baby while try­ing to hang wall­pa­per,” she says.

It looked beau­ti­ful, but af­ter Billy, now eight, was born, fol­lowed by Martha, who is now four, the cou­ple needed more space and ex­tended the house, dou­bling its orig­i­nal size.

The ex­ten­sion was cre­ated from hand­made bricks from the York Hand­made Brick Com­pany and the cot­tage now has a break­fast kitchen, sit­ting room, cloak­room, util­ity room, and a fam­ily room lead­ing onto a gar­den room­din­ing room.

Up­stairs, there is a mas­ter bed­room with en-suite shower room, two large bed­rooms and a fam­ily bath­room.

Out­side, there is a 100 ft long gar­den and Luke has cre­ated a pa­tio with out­side light­ing, a park­ing area and a de­tached dou­ble garage, which has po­ten­tial for a first-floor ex­ten­sion to pro­vide ex­tra ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“The house is per­fect for us but we’ve de­cided to move be­cause Luke would re­ally like a small hold­ing. He grew up on a farm and wants the chil­dren to have that as they grow up,” says Jen­nie.

At least they’ll have an­other Christ­mas at Fallowfield Cot­tage and it’s the per­fect place to spend the fes­tive sea­son.

Jen­nie is keen on in­te­rior de­sign and the house re­flects her in­ter­est. The fur­ni­ture is a mix of an­tiques, fam­ily hand me downs and junk shop finds mixed with some hand-made pieces.

The pi­ano was Matt’s mother’s and the corner cup­board be­longed to her great-great grand­fa­ther.

“I got the jug on top too and that is ex­actly how it used to be in his house. I love it that it evokes happy mem­o­ries.

“We are lucky we have a cre­ative fam­ily and friends and we have lots of lovely home-made pieces. My mum made us blinds, cur­tains and cush­ions. My friend Zoe made cush­ions, bunting and blan­kets. The blan­ket on the sofa was knit­ted by granny for Archie when he was born,” says Jen­nie, who loves dec­o­rat­ing for Christ­mas.

The tree is trimmed with rib­bons and baubles that have been col­lected over the years from craft stalls or made by the chil­dren and Luke carved the wooden rein­deer.

“Billy was once a king in a school na­tiv­ity play and that pic­ture of him goes on top of the pi­ano ev­ery Christ­mas and the fairy is one that Martha made at nurs­ery.

“It’s all very tra­di­tional and per­sonal and I love that,” says Jen­nie.

Fallowfield Cot­tage, Swin­ton, near Mal­ton, is £320,000 with Boul­ton and Cooper Stephen­sons, tel: 01653 692151 www.boul­ton­cooper. co.uk

AT HOME: The house has dou­bled in size since Jen­nie and Luke bought it and is now the per­fect fam­ily home. Jen­nie, cud­dled up with Martha, uses a mix of home-made and nat­u­ral Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.

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