‘James Bond’ house with a view to kill for of magical Ilkley Moor
This former pumping station is now a high tech home on one of Yorkshire’s best-known landmarks. Sharon Dale reports.
AS cheeky additions to Yorkshire’s unofficial anthem go, Ilkey Moor is where the ducks play football, the nuns play rugby and the sheep fly backwards.
It’s also where Susan and Lonnie Salmon call home after buying a former water pumping station perched at the bottom of the famous beauty spot.
“The chance to live on Ilkley Moor was one of the things that really appealed to Lonnie, that and the fact that this is a very different kind of property. As soon as he saw it that was it even though when we first viewed it was a dark, dismal day,” says Susan.
Although it is set back off Wells Road and just minutes from the town centre, it comes with kudos as one of just three properties on the moor. The others are White Wells, a visitor attraction best known for its icy plunge pool, and a cottage.
The couple, originally from Scotland, bought the Pump House in 2008 after relocating with work.
Built in 1848, it belonged to Yorkshire Water, which gained planning permission to convert it into a home. Developers Kingsford then bought it and carried out a sensitive conversion ensuring that the exterior of the building retained its original integrity. Inside, they installed a new first floor and created an “upside down” lay out. The upper level was a kitchen with a separate living area , while the ground floor had four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The conversion was almost complete when Lonnie and Susan bought it but they were keen to stamp their own mark on the interior and wanted to alter the space to suit their lifestyle.
Although they aren’t keen to say exactly how much they spent, it was a remarkable sum. “About as much as someone might spend on their first house,” says Susan.
“We wanted to change it to suit our tastes. One of the first things we did was to make the first floor completely open plan.”
A large chunk of the budget was spent on creating a basement that is now home to a cinema room, dressing room and workshop for Lonnie, who has an engineering background. More money was spent on underfloor heating.
Lonnie loves modern technology and so another £40,000 went on the sound and lighting system. There are overhead Linn speakers in all the rooms, which have LAN points.
Continuing the high tech theme, there are remote control blinds in the en-suite bathroom, which also has a Bette bath with mood lighting from where you can watch the Tilevision TV. GADGETS: James Bond would be impressed with the high tech house and it could be for your eyes only if you buy it. It boasts a £40,000 sound and lighting system including speakers in all the rooms and a cinema room in the basement. The owners made the first floor open plan and created an “upside down” layout of the rooms.
The garage has a German multi storey system with space on the lower ground and ground floor level and a hydraulic lift that can take a car between the two.
Estate agent Lester Hurst, of Hunters, Ilkley, who is marketing the property for sale at £675,000, calls it: “a house that James Bond would be proud of” and declares that the first floor parapet balcony is just the place for a vodka martini, shaken not stirred.
“We invested a lot in the lighting, which has been a real success and it looks really atmospheric at night,” says Susan, who also replaced the developer’s kitchen with a swankier version boasting gloss black cabinets and white Corian worktop plus Neff electric and steam ovens, wine cooler and the first Gutmann Futura extractor in Britain, which pops up from the centre island when needed.
The ground floor was also reconfigured to create three bedrooms, one of which is a sensational master bedroom with an enormous en-suite, a house bathroom and a utility room.
“We thought the master bedroom was too small so we knocked two bedrooms into one and made a giant master suite with a great view of the moor from the bath.”
The decor and furnishing was a challenge as the couple’s previous property was more traditional, whereas the Pump House demanded a contemporary treatment.
Some of the old furniture was used, including a Ralph Lauren cabinet, that was brought in through a sliding window in the basement that leads onto the lower ground floor of the garage.
The dining table is from Ponsford’s in Sheffield and sofas upstairs are from Bo Concept at Redbrick Mill, Batley. The white one featured in Quantum of Solace.
“We bought that because Lonnie is a huge James Bond fan but it took us a while to furnish the house because we’d never done anything modern before. We got inspiration from magazines and from looking round Redbrick Mill.”
The walls are painted in largely neutral colours but are decorated with large scale framed photographs featuring local scenes by Andy Savage.
“There is only one window on the first floor and so the photographs are the view,” says Susan, whose favourite spot is the parapet balcony at one end of the first floor, which overlooks the moor.
“I love sitting there with a cup of tea looking over the moor. It is amazing. It changes colour all the time. Sometimes it is purple, sometimes golden brown or bronze or green and all the shades in between.”
The couple are selling their home due to work commitments elsewhere, but Susan adds: “I love the house and I will really miss it. There is something very magical about it and we feel very privileged to have been part of its history.”
The Pump House is for sale through Hunters, Ilkley, and costs £675,000, tel: 01943 660500, www. huntersnet.co.uk
Susan and Lonnie’s useful contacts: Ponsford, Sheffield, www.ponsford.co.uk and Redbrick Mill, Batley, www. redbrickmill.co.uk for contemporary furniture. House of Elliott, Ben Rhydding for blinds and soft furnishings, tel: 01943 601936. Lapicida, Knaresbrough, for limestone and marble flooring, www.lapicida.com