Old school gets top marks for its style and flex­i­ble liv­ing space

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sharon Dale The Old School, Whix­ley Price: £865,000 Contact: Knight Frank, tel: 01423 530088, www. knight­frank.co.uk

WITH boomerang chil­dren, el­derly par­ents and home work­ing fea­tur­ing in many of our lives, flex­i­ble liv­ing space has be­come much sought-af­ter.

The Old School in Whix­ley has it in abun­dance, which is what at­tracted own­ers Heather and Neil Si­mone.

The cou­ple, who are both artists, bought the prop­erty in 2003 when it was part an­tiques shop and part home.

“It was per­fect for us. At the time we were liv­ing in Har­ro­gate and had a sep­a­rate stu­dio, the Old School had space for us to work and have a gallery. It suited us down to the ground.

“We were lucky to get it be­cause al­though it had been on the mar­ket for a while, the owner was about to take it off when a friend told us about it,” says Heather.

The school had been con­verted by the pre­vi­ous own­ers, but she and Neil have added their own touches, in­clud­ing a new house bath­room and a re­vamped kitchen.

They have also ren­dered the back of the prop­erty, in­stalled elec­tric garage doors, a new heat­ing sys­tem and re­dec­o­rated throughout.

“It had a tra­di­tional look when we bought it but we have given it a con­tem­po­rary twist. It’s much lighter and brighter,” says Heather.

The prop­erty has 3,700 sq ft of space with three bed­rooms and three re­cep­tion room, in­clud­ing a 30ft draw­ing room with French doors out onto the gar­den. It also has three bath­rooms and a break­fast kitchen. The stu­dio, of­fice and gallery can be used as a self-con­tained an­nexe.

Out­side, there is ex­ten­sive garag­ing and a work­shop in low main­te­nance gar­dens.

The Old School’s ver­sa­til­ity has proved in­valu­able. The for­mer 1960s class­room was orig­i­nally used as a play room, but the Si­mone’s made it into a self-con­tained hol­i­day let with its own kitchen and bath­room. The ad­join­ing of­fice was turned into a bed­room. They later turned the space into a large stu­dio, where they cre­ate their paint­ings.

Neil’s work fuses fact with visionary fan­tasy, while Heather is best-known for her larger-thanlife flower paint­ings.

Their pic­tures are on dis­play throughout the house and Neil’s have been known to cause dis­trac­tion.

“When we’ve had work­men in they do get dis­tracted. You find them get­ting lost in Neil’s paint­ings and try­ing to work them out. We call it ‘think­ing man’s art’,” says Heather, who is sell­ing to down­size.

She adds: “We will miss this place when we go. It’s such a joy to live in.”

The vil­lage of Whix­ley is be­tween Knares­bor­ough and York and a few min­utes drive from the A1M.

It has a church, cricket club, vil­lage hall and shop.

www.neil­si­mone.com

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