Why you won’t feel cooped up in this new-style coun­try house

Rein House has brought con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign to the York­shire coun­try­side. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

IN a hid­den-away spot just out­side Aber­ford, Jane and Neil McAn­drews have cre­ated a ru­ral idyll where happy-look­ing hens cluck-cluck round the gar­den and horses gaze lan­guidly at them over the fence.

All that’s miss­ing are the cot­tages and that’s be­cause they’ve been re­placed with one of the county’s most con­tem­po­rary coun­try homes.

With its white ren­der, huge ex­panses of glaz­ing and a stylish min­i­mal in­te­rior, the house would sit just as well in LA as it does in Leeds 25.

It’s cer­tainly very dif­fer­ent from Jane and Neil’s pre­vi­ous home, a pe­riod farm­house a cou­ple of fields away.

A friend gave them the chance to buy the plot, which housed three ram­shackle cot­tages, and they couldn’t re­sist the chance to self-build.

“The cot­tages were past ren­o­vat­ing, which meant we were able to come up with our own de­sign. We wanted some­thing to re­flect the 21st cen­tury rather than a pseudo Ge­or­gian or Tu­dor place,” says Jane.

Their own ideas were trans­lated by ar­chi­tect Gary Lup­ton and, af­ter a year of ne­go­ti­at­ing with the local au­thor­ity, they fi­nally got plan­ning per­mis­sion.

“We lived in a car­a­van on site for a year while the build went ahead and we were re­ally lucky in find­ing fan­tas­tic builders. Ev­ery­thing went smoothly,” says Jane.

The house, com­pleted in 2005, is a Ger­man-style con­struc­tion with a sin­gle skin of breeze block clad with Sto poly­styrene blocks and ren­der.

The cou­ple were keen to be as green as pos­si­ble so the win­dows are triple-glazed, self-clean­ing glass, Viess­mann so­lar panels heat the hot wa­ter and an air source heat pump warms the house, which also has un­der­floor heat­ing.

The McAn­drews also ar­ranged the space to suit their needs. It in­cludes an enor­mous open plan ground floor with three bed­rooms and two bath­rooms above.

There is also an at­tached twobed­room an­nexe, which comes with a 95-year-old ten­ant.

When they bought the cot­tages, the elderly lady in the end one did not want to leave her longterm home, so the McAn­drews tem­po­rar­ily moved her into an­other prop­erty and cre­ated a two bed­room home for her on the site of her old one.

“The an­nexe can stay sep­a­rate but we also de­signed it so that it can be in­cor­po­rated into the main house to cre­ate a five or six bed­room prop­erty. There is a fab­u­lous room above the an­nexe that is fully glazed on the cor­ner and of­fers dra­matic views, so that could be an­other bed­room or it would make a fan­tas­tic stu­dio,” says Neil.

The enor­mous pic­ture win­dows mean that the prop­erty is full of light and ru­ral views, in­clud­ing one from the bath.

The long slit win­dow is eye level with the top of an old bay tree and Jane en­joys look­ing at the birds while she’s soak­ing.

Com­pared to older coun­try homes, it is warm, draught-free and in­ex­pen­sive to run thanks to the green heat, high lev­els of in­su­la­tion and the fire­place they had built in the mid­dle of the liv­ing area.

“We had oil heat­ing in the last house, which was very ex­pen­sive. Our heat­ing bills have been halved since mov­ing in here,” says Neil, a com­mer­cial prop­erty de­vel­oper.

He and Jane also had a fresh start with their fur­nish­ings. The in­te­rior was fur­nished by Robert Ma­son in Leeds and the light­ing is by Du Luce.

“We brought al­most noth­ing with us from our old home,” says Jane. “It was very cathar­tic get­ting rid of most of our be­long­ings.”

Although it looks like the sort of house where shoes are banned and mud is feared, the op­po­site is true. It is homely and de­signed to be prac­ti­cal for its out­doorsy own­ers. There are no skirt­ing boards to dust and the ground floor is cov­ered in wipe-clean porce­lain floor­ing. There is also a cen­tral vac­u­um­ing sys­tem.

“I don’t like clean­ing, so I made sure this house was easy to look af­ter. I don’t even have cur­tains be­cause they get dusty,” says Jane, who is also known as Mrs Cluck Cluck.

Af­ter get­ting her first four hens as a birthday present 15 years ago she has saved a num­ber of former bat­tery hens from the chop and now runs cour­ses in chicken keep­ing for novices.

Her own hens have pretty houses in the rus­tic part of the gar­den, which con­trasts with the area at the rear and side of the house

De­signed by Marco Schrang to com­ple­ment the mod­ern house, it fea­tures a se­ries of beau­ti­ful re­flec­tion pools.

“It’s ab­so­lutely won­der­ful. I love the pools as they make it feel like the house is float­ing and Marco used the same porce­lain tiles out­side as we have in­doors for the pa­tio.

“When you open the doors it feels like part of the house, like you’re sit­ting in a field,” says Jane, who will miss them when she sells her home.

She and Neil are se­rial movers and are plan­ning to ful­fil a dream of liv­ing in the Dales.

“We love tak­ing on new projects and this is our eighth home in 25 years.” says Neil.

“It’s tes­ta­ment to this house that it’s the long­est we’ve stayed any­where. It’s very spe­cial and we know we won’t be able to find any­thing like it in the Dales but we hope to recre­ate the in­te­rior.”

Rein House, Lother­ton, near Aber­ford, is for sale for £1.3m with Bead­nall Co­p­ley, tel: 01947 580850. www.bead­nall­cop­ley. co.uk

FREE REIN: Rein House is an en­ergy-ef­fi­cient con­tem­po­rary home in Lother­ton, near Aber­ford. its mod­ern in­te­ri­ors are de­signed to be stylish and low main­te­nance. The house be­longs to Jane and Neil McAn­drews, and Jane is also known as Mrs Cluck Cluck as she runs cour­ses in chicken keep­ing and keeps her own hens at the prop­erty.

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