a NEW Phas E
With its long, narrow layout, this outdated house did not lend itself to modern family living until Laura and Mark Stubbs began to work their magic
A once-dilapidated Yorkshire mill house is now fit for modern living thanks to a radical redesign
When Laura and Mark Stubbs first viewed their dilapidated mill house, it had been on the market for six years, and the one-acre garden was so overgrown they couldn’t even get to it. ‘ We knew we could transform it into something special but the vendors weren’t willing to negotiate on the price,’ says Laura, who runs interior design company Epitome Styling. ‘In the end, we paid slightly over the odds because we loved the house so much.’
The couple had renovated their previous home, and this time decided on a phased approach. They also rented a house before phase one of the 18-month project began. ‘Rethinking the long and thin layout to make it flow better was key,’ says Laura. ‘At the start, we had plans drawn up for a radical open-plan design but, in the end, we felt it wasn’t quite right, as there were some original stone walls, which we were really keen to preserve.’
Previously, the front door led straight into the sitting room, so the pair created a separate hall, while the kitchen was moved to the front of the house and opened up to a dining room. The conservatory was knocked down and three outbuildings were joined together form a large sitting room and rear hall leading to a playroom, office and garage.
Gutting and renovating the entire house was very challenging, especially with baby Charlotte, now four, in tow. But Laura and Mark managed to make the place habitable just in time for Christmas. ‘The range cooker was fitted on 22nd December and we hosted 14 for dinner that year,’ Laura smiles.
‘It helped that we worked well together, as it was totally consuming and a lot of pressure,’ continues Laura. ‘ We have slightly different approaches – Mark is more conventional while I’m a bit more daring, but we can always reach a compromise.’
The second phase, which involved converting the barn, and creating two extra bedrooms and bathrooms over the garage, was completed just in time for the arrival of baby Jack, now one. Then, after a brief respite to gather ideas and finances, the final phase got underway, which included creating a main bedroom and en suite in the loft above the end barn. ‘This is now my favourite room as the glazed gable end gives fantastic views over the garden,’ says Laura.
With the major works now complete, the family can enjoy a more relaxed Christmas this time round. ‘I love dressing the rooms,’ Laura enthuses. ‘This year my decorations are mostly white and black, with lots of greenery.’
Next, the pair want to create a studio for Laura’s business. ‘ We’ll never be finished,’ she laughs. ‘This house is always evolving.’
KITCHEN The couple chose classic Shaker-style units for their timeless appeal. The pale colours enhance the original stonework. Rusty metal NOEL letters, £5 each, RE. Ogilvy rise-and-fall pendant, £79, Made.com
rear HALL Exposed brickwork lends a rustic feel. Ivy and pussy willow wreath, from £ 40, The White Company
SITTING ROOM ‘i love fresh foliage at christmas, and quite often we’ll have two trees,’ says Laura. woodcroft colonial grey balustrade coffee table, £1,795, hadley rose, is a close match. Large Crumpet sofa in cobble fabric, £1,395, Loaf, is similar. Floral arrangement, price on request, bloom & bridal