Masterpiece in miniature
NEW HORIZONS: Russell Lumb was an architect for 40 years before turning his attention fully to becoming an artist. Both talents are greatly in evidence in his home. reports.
IX years ago Russell and Susan Lumb left their home near Huddersfield and made a clean break with the place that had been their nest for decades. They’d brought up their sons and enjoyed life while Russell ran his own architectural practice and Susan a stationery shop. When retirement beckoned, they decluttered, downsized and moved to a cottage in Snainton, five miles inland from Scarborough.
Alongside designing hotels, shops, schools and a host of other buildings, Russell had spent many years learning to draw at life drawing classes led by the celebrated Yorkshire artist Tom Wood at Red Brick Mill in Batley. A few years ago, he moved on to painting, and since then a world of colour has opened up as he continues to explore both abstract and figurative work. He takes part in North Yorkshire Open Studios and exhibits at shows across Yorkshire – including the month-long Great Northern Art Show, which opens at the end of this month.
The property the Lumbs found in Snainton was a three-bedroom cottage from around the late 19th century, which had originally been a storage barn for a cut flower smallholding. It had been converted previously, but was in need of radical change, in their view. It came with a near-derelict barn, destined eventually to become Russell’s studio, with a utility room and guest accommodation for four on a newly installed first floor.
The two buildings were connected by a curiously raised courtyard covered entirely by tarmac, from which you stepped down into the cottage. After excavating, red bricks from Heritage Stone and Oak at Guisborough were laid, and a compact but glorious cottage garden was created in raised beds.
The conservation regulations were tight, but Russell’s plan to extend the kitchen by a metre and bring in light via large panelled windows and louvres was approved.
It took nine months for the house to be gutted and converted into a flowing, modernised, energy-efficient and snug home which nods to tradition but is not overly deferential to it. Builder Derek Burton worked with Russell to realise his plans, which included reroofing using the old tiles and creating a glass half wall between hallway and living room.
Russell and Susan found their glossy white kitchen at Magnet, but upscaled the look with beautiful Westmoreland
We have a perfect space for two people, using a smallish space
to the maximum.
A simple palette of Dulux Heritage shades Linnet White and Green Earth are used throughout the cottage to provide a perfect backdrop for stunning pieces by the likes of Tom Wood, Carole Tyler, Rob Moore and Bren Head. Upstairs the master bedroom, guest room and bathroom are simple, almost monastic spaces brought to life by paintings.