a blaze of glory

Kate Sis­sons moved from the cap­i­tal to re­vamp an old coun­try fire sta­tion

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENT - Fea­ture Penny Bot­ting | pho­tog­ra­phy ROBERT San­der­son

Re­vamp­ing a former fire sta­tion in the Cotswolds has re­sulted in a unique home full of charm

Kate Sis­sons had lived in Lon­don for sev­eral years, but de­cided the time had come to leave the cap­i­tal for a leafier lo­ca­tion. ‘ We wanted a small, well-sit­u­ated prop­erty in the coun­try­side with more space and a gar­den,’ ex­plains Kate, whose son Jack, 19, of­ten comes home to stay. So when she found this end of ter­race in Charl­bury, she was thrilled. ‘The town has ev­ery­thing we need and is in the mid­dle of beau­ti­ful coun­try­side.’

As well as ful­fill­ing the re­quire­ments of hav­ing more space and a gar­den, the house also of­fered a few ex­tras. ‘Most of the other prop­er­ties in the vil­lage have quite small ground floors, but be­cause this one had a rear ex­ten­sion added dur­ing the Seven­ties, it’s ac­tu­ally re­ally spa­cious,’ she says.

In ad­di­tion, there were some un­usual fea­tures that gave a hint of the build­ing’s former life as a fire sta­tion, in­clud­ing the two big old fire doors and a long room for the fire en­gines, which is now the kitchen area. The only prob­lem was that another buyer was in­ter­ested in the prop­erty, too.

‘The sale took sev­eral months and at one stage we thought the other party would win – my com­pe­ti­tion was some­one who wanted to turn the place into a spa,’ says Kate. ‘ We per­se­vered though, and the house fi­nally came back to us later that year.’

Al­though the prop­erty was orig­i­nally an of­fice and came with a change of use to res­i­den­tial pur­poses al­ready in place, there were some tweaks to be made be­fore it could feel like a home again. ‘It had dry lin­ing on the walls, and gen­er­ally looked very func­tional and safe,’ re­calls Kate.

‘One of the first things we did was to rip the dry lin­ing away, which ex­posed the old, orig­i­nal stone and im­me­di­ately gave the

place char­ac­ter,’ she says. ‘The next step was to add a stair­case to the un­con­verted loft, which we then turned into a bed­room.’

Kate also added a mansard win­dow to the new bed­room at the front of the house and ex­tended into the gar­den at the rear. For­tu­nately, there weren’t any prob­lems when the changes were be­ing car­ried out, al­though there was one tricky mo­ment.

‘In­stalling the dec­o­ra­tive Gothic-style cor­nic­ing in the long room, now the kitchen, was a bit of a chal­lenge. It took a lot of time and ef­fort get­ting it to match up and mak­ing it look per­fect,’ she says. Af­ter this, Kate could con­cen­trate on the fun, dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments. ‘I’m not sure where I get my ideas from, but I like to keep things quite sim­ple, of­ten us­ing plain light greys, greens and oak browns, which I think work par­tic­u­larly well in a ru­ral set­ting. I’ve added kilim de­signs to this neu­tral back­ground and I think to­gether they give a feel­ing of be­ing smart, but not too for­mal.

‘In the sit­ting room, I’ve ins a ceil­ing lantern and log burner to cre­ate the per­fect re­lax­ing at­mos­phere in which to read the Sun­day pa­pers,’ she says. ‘Fi­nally, I’ve tried to put my own unique stamp on the place by in­tro­duc­ing plenty of one-off ac­ces­sories,’ she says. ‘I love my ever-in­creas­ing col­lec­tion of toy fire en­gines, which are a whim­si­cal ref­er­ence to the build­ing’s past.

‘It’s of­ten tempt­ing, with hind­sight, to con­sider how I might have done things a bit dif­fer­ently in terms of ren­o­vat­ing and dec­o­rat­ing, but I can safely say I wouldn’t have changed any­thing. This is a wel­com­ing house with a won­der­ful, calm feel and lots of light. And al­though it’s in the mid­dle of the town, it’s very pri­vate with a sense of peace and tran­quil­lity. It’s a com­fort­able and happy place to be, and I love it.’

MAIN BED­ROOM For a touch of lux­ury, the bed­room has its own free­stand­ing bath. The Nabis slip­per bath with chrome ball and claw feet, £796.51, wolse­ley, is sim­i­lar. Kalei­do­scope tiles, £32.60sq m, Tons of Tiles

GAR­DEN The court­yard ter­race is the per­fect spot for re­laxed al­fresco meals with fam­ily and friends.

BATH­ROOM Beau­ti­ful dec­o­ra­tive tiles add in­ter­est to this space. Me­trop­o­lis Star tiles, £27.42sq m, Tons of Tiles

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