Art of the good life in a beau­ti­ful fam­ily home

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Croft House, Oul­ton, Leeds. Price: £915,000. Con­tact: Carter Jonas, Leeds, tel: 0113 203 1090. www.carter­jonas.co.uk LOOK­ING GOOD: Croft House is a beau­ti­ful fam­ily home both inside and out thanks to its cre­ative own­ers.

WITH two cre­ative own­ers us­ing their com­bined tal­ents it’s lit­tle won­der that Croft House is so beau­ti­ful both inside and out.

Molly Brock­lesby, who was an in­te­rior de­signer, and her late hus­band Mal­colm, a well­known sculp­tor, bought the prop­erty 50 years ago af­ter be­ing se­duced by its set­ting and its po­ten­tial.

“It was an El­iz­a­bethan long house and cot­tage cov­ered in ivy, when we first saw it and I thought it was won­der­ful,” says Mrs Brock­lesby.

The cou­ple trans­formed the 17th cen­tury prop­erty and its ad­join­ing cot­tage into an idyl­lic fam­ily home, re­tain­ing its pe­riod fea­tures, restor­ing the five orig­i­nal open fire­places and dec­o­rat­ing in a style sym­pa­thetic to its long his­tory. The gar­den and one and half acre grounds, which are bounded by the River Dol­phin, have also been treated to a mag­nif­i­cent makeover with ex­ten­sive plant­ing, box hedg­ing and a ten­nis court.

“My hus­band called him­self the re­luc­tant lawn­mower so I did the gar­dens and en­joyed it im­mensely. He was very proud of them,” says Mrs Brock­lesby.

Mal­colm Brock­lesby, a former min­ing en­gi­neer, ac­tive mem­ber of the Cam­paign for the Pro­tec­tion of Ru­ral Eng­land and founder of the Oul­ton Civic So­ci­ety, was far hap­pier spend­ing his time sculpt­ing in his stu­dio above the garage block.

His sculp­tures were carved from poly­styrene blocks, which would be coated in glass fi­bre and a resin fin­ish. He also made smaller pieces from plas­ticine and wax to be cast in bronze.

His work is to be found in nu­mer­ous col­lec­tions in York­shire and beyond. His best­known pieces in­clude The De­fend­ers at Helmsley Cas­tle and his Madonna of the Cross on the high al­tar at Mount Grace Pri­ory.

Mrs Brock­lesby and her daugh­ters Ju­lia and Nicki have do­nated a sec­ond Madonna to Ripon Cathe­dral and it is now on dis­play there.

The fam­ily is sell­ing Croft House to down­size. The grade II listed prop­erty has a re­cep­tion hall, draw­ing room, study, din­ing room, break­fast room, kitchen with Aga, break­fast area, walk-in pantry, util­ity room, gar­den room, sit­ting room and a large bed­room suite with ad­join­ing dress­ing room and bath­room. The first floor has five dou­ble bed­rooms and two bath­rooms. Out­side, there is a walled fore­court with park­ing for sev­eral cars, a de­tached dou­ble garage block with stu­dio above, south-fac­ing gar­dens with be­spoke stone and tim­ber summer house, a bar­be­cue area, all weather ten­nis court and mead­ow­land with cherry, pear and ap­ple trees lead­ing to the river­side, which has a path and wood­land run­ning along­side it.

”It is go­ing to be very hard to leave here. It’s such a lovely house and beau­ti­ful set­ting by the river,” says Mrs Brock­lesby. “We have been here for such a long time and we re­ally have loved it and had a very happy life here.”

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