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

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