Celebrating brand new life for Queen Victoria’s jubilee tower
the turrets and making it watertight.
Barbara and Jeremy have added an en-suite shower, walk-in wardrobe, new windows to the extension and they have revamped the kitchen, treating it to a new Aga. Outside, they have sunk a new bore hole, installed a water treatment plant and have built a rose garden over the grotto, which is a cave once used for hanging game.
Set over four floors, it is now a spacious three-bedroom, twobathroom home that Barbara describes as “full of joy, warmth and laughter” and it certainly feels that way.
The family have used the grade two listed building for community and church events and for parties to celebrate everything from the Diamond Jubilee to Easter.
They’ve recently given it another makeover to prepare it for sale and engaged the help of home staging consultant Gill Wilkinson.
“We wanted to make sure we gave the house the best opportunity to sell and it has been a terrific investment,” says Barbara.
The four days of staging cost £175 a day and the Hydes spent £700 on paint and soft furnishings plus £375 on decorative accessories.
“Gill was wonderful,” says Barbara. “She advised us on paint colours and she also used many of my own things by rearranging them in a different way, which kept costs down. I’m thrilled with the way it has turned out.”
Among her suggestions were painting the stone steps from the kitchen to the basement in red and hanging curtains behind the glass of the kitchen cupboard to make it look pretty while hiding the clutter.
In the bedroom she added scented candles and made pictures from fabric stretched over a canvas and created cushions to match. While she kept photographs of Barbara’s native Zimbabwe, she took down a large wall hanging and replaced it with a fabric hanging fashioned from old curtains.
“She used the left over curtain fabric to make little pelmets for the windows and she created a little scene using Oscar’s cello. It’s the little things like that which have made a huge difference,” says Barbara. “Gill has a fantastic eye for colour and detail.”
The tower’s fresh new look has made selling it even harder. The family are leaving to buy a house with fewer steps for Jeremy, who has developed a health problem.
“We love this place but we now need somewhere with easier access for Jeremy and we also want to downsize for retirement,” says Barbara.
Oscar, who gives me a tour of the roof terrace on top of the tower, adds: “It’s wonderful up here on Bonfire Night. You can see everyone’s bonfires and you get an up close view of the fireworks.”
Barbara’s Useful Contacts: Homestager – Gill Wilkinson of GMWInteriors, Richmond, www.gmwinteriors.co.uk; Painter and Decorator – Nick Bailey, www.nbaileydecorators. co.uk TENANTS are now staying in rental properties for significantly longer periods, according to the latest research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
An upward trend has been firmly established with the average length of stay reaching 19 months at the end of 2012, compared with just 15 months five years ago.
Ian Potter, managing director of ARLA, said: “Tenancy agreements are a fact of life for tenants and landlords, but all too often they are not fully understood, if properly read at all.
“Before signing anything both tenant and landlord should always ensure they understand the agreement. Ignorance of the terms is no defence against losing a deposit.”
ROOMS WITH A VIEW: Jubilee Tower above Steeton, near Keighley, was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s 50 years on the throne and is now a stunning family home with an exceptional panoramic view over the surrounding town and countryside.