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