The stylish York house with more than a dash of French glamour
THIS Regency property might be quintessentially English on the outside, but inside it is typically French with a decor that ranges from chateau chic to simple country style.
The love affair with French furniture and furnishings began when Stephen Hazell, a property developer specialising in historic buildings, bought a second home in France.
Friends asked him to find pieces for them and he realised that there was a market. His business, The French House, was born in 1997 with a shop and a restoration workshop in York run by Stephen and a store in London run by his son Marcus.
There is also a storage warehouse in Sancerre, where Stephen and his partner Kathryn have a holiday property.
The couple, who make regular buying trips across the Channel, visit auctions, house sales and brocantes and bring home everything from beds and furniture to mirrors, lights and glassware. Their York home features many of their finds, including the huge copper bath from a chateau in the Loire valley and the Art Nouveau bed.
“Almost everything in here is what we have collected in France. We own The French House and we live in a French house,” says Kathryn.
“Fortunately, we had a large collection of lights, which we’ve used. We knew this house needed some special lighting and the French do beautiful light fittings and not just chandeliers. There’s nothing English that compares.”
They moved to the house, which needed modernisation, six years ago after Stephen fell in love with the staircase. It is an exquisitely crafted cantilevered spiral that winds up through three storeys rewarding you with a spectacular top to bottom view when you reach the final landing. The walls bordering the stairs are a trompe l’oeil, which look like huge slabs of sandstone. They were painted by Mark Ibsen, part of the French House restoration team. Other architectural features include sash windows, moulded plasterwork cornices and arches, doorcases with architraves, working shutters and deep skirting boards.
The house has a hall, cloakroom, first-floor drawing room, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, walk-in pantry, two galleried landings, two principal bedrooms each with ensuite, a house bathroom, third bedroom with dressing room and a fourth bedroom. The lower ground floor has a spacious hall, office, laundry, store room, wine cellar, coal store and log store. Outside, there is a walled rear garden with garden room and a detached double garage with billiard room above.
Stephen and Kathryn are selling to buy a property with a self-contained apartment for a relative.