New Vic­to­rian: the parkside home with a dou­ble iden­tity

Ar­chi­tect Chris Jones has given one of city’s most pres­ti­gious homes a 21st cen­tury facelift. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WHEN The Ellers was ad­ver­tised for sale seven years ago it was de­scribed as “the finest Vic­to­rian house” in Roundhay, Leeds, but when ar­chi­tect Chris Jones saw it, he knew it would ben­e­fit from a 21st cen­tury makeover.

Bring­ing the pe­riod prop­erty up to date was a chal­lenge he couldn’t re­sist, though his wife Sharon wasn’t so sure at first.

“She nearly killed me when she saw it be­cause it needed a lot of work. There had been some al­ter­ations in the 1960s and 70s but that was it and I saw it very much as a blank can­vas for us to re­design and re­model into our per­fect fam­ily home.

“We’d done a lot of work on our old house in Roundhay and I was look­ing for an­other pro­ject. This place was per­fect. It is very pri­vate, set back from the road and is in the most amaz­ing po­si­tion over­look­ing Roundhay Park.”

Al­though most ar­chi­tects dream of build­ing their own home, Chris, a founder and di­rec­tor at Carey Jones, prefers work­ing with ex­ist­ing build­ings and adapt­ing the space to suit a mod­ern life­style.

“That’s what I did with The Ellers, so it’s now like a new house within a Vic­to­rian shell, though we recre­ated a lot of the cor­nice work and we made sure that the new win­dows at the front were the same pat­tern as the orig­i­nal ones.”

It took al­most a year to transform the four-storey, stoneb­uilt house on Park Lane and it was done with en­ter­tain­ing at the heart of the plans.

The Jones’s de­vel­oped the lower ground floor, which was used as a garage, into an en­ter­tain­ment space with a games room, sun lounge, gym and a stylish and well stocked “pub”, which is firm favourite with vis­i­tors.

“I stopped short of putting draft beer and pythons in be­cause each bar­rel is nine gal­lons and you have to drink it in three weeks or it goes off and I didn’t think we could get through that much, but we have a good se­lec­tion of bot­tled beer and we have Sky TV and a trop­i­cal fish tank. We’ve had some good lads nights in there,” says Chris.

The big­gest change to the 19th cen­tury prop­erty is the stun­ning two storey, glazed ex­ten­sion ad­ja­cent to a new sin­gle story ex­ten­sion at the rear of the prop­erty. These lead onto a sunken pa­tio.

The ground floor has three el­e­gant re­cep­tion rooms and a kitchen that now opens onto a break­fast deck with a spec­tac­u­lar glazed wall. The rooms all in­ter­link via four feet wide, floorto-ceil­ing “slot” open­ings cut through the walls.

“We’ve al­ways tried to make our prop­er­ties party houses and in fact we’ve had 100 peo­ple here com­fort­ably,” says Chris.

A spi­ral stair­case leads up­stairs, where the mas­ter bed­room takes up half of the first floor and has a sep­a­rate dress­ing room and bath­room. The Jones could’ve had a sixth bed­room on the floor above but chose to have a cathe­dral ceil­ing in the mas­ter suite in­stead. The first floor has two more bed­rooms and a shower room, while the sec­ond floor has two bed­rooms and two bath­rooms.

“We also tried to cre­ate lovely spaces through­out the build­ing in which to sit and re­lax such as pri­vate sun ter­races ac­cessed from our ‘red room’ on the ground floor and from our mas­ter bed­room on the first,” says Chris, who had the house rewired, re­plumbed and re­plas­tered. He also de­signed new fire­places and be­spoke shelves and cup­boards for the house that now has 36 new fea­ture ra­di­a­tors.

Un­like many ar­chi­tects, who pre­fer white walls and a min­i­mal in­te­rior, Chris and Sharon like colour and pre­fer each room to have its own theme.

“Sharon wanted the house to feel homely. We like a sep­a­rate colour scheme for each space,” says Chris, who says there were a few set­backs with the pro­ject, in­clud­ing a dis­tress­ing pe­riod when Sharon suf­fered a heart at­tack and was forced to con­va­les­cence in a half-fin­ished house. They rushed to get the bed­room suite fin­ished so she could re­cu­per­ate there.

Now, af­ter en­joy­ing the fruits of their labour for the last six years, the cou­ple are down­siz­ing and plan­ning to tackle an­other pro­ject in Roundhay.

Chris says: “Our chil­dren have grown up and we want to down­size, but we’re very ex­cited about the new house, which is a 1970s prop­erty we can ex­tend.

“We’ll miss this house. We have loved it so much and it has given the whole fam­ily an amaz­ing qual­ity of life. The lo­ca­tion by the park is great. I al­ways say we’ve got a 365-acre front gar­den.”

The house has ben ex­tended to the rear and now has a stun­ning glazed rear el­e­va­tion that al­lows light to flood into the house. Chris and Sharon like to give each room its own iden­tity and colour scheme.

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