Good prospects in Whitby
SEASIDE SPECIAL: A basement conversion and rooftop terrace have helped create the perfect East Coast getaway. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by Jeremy Phillips and Gerard Binks.
FTER almost two years of searching for a holiday home in Whitby, Kate Sharpe was suffering from property fatigue.
“I spent hours trawling the internet and looking in estate agents’ windows and we almost bought but there were issues with the properties and so I’d just about decided that it wasn’t meant to be,” she says.
She had almost given up hope when she spotted Rooftops Cottage. Down one of Whitby’s characterful yards, it certainly looked the part outside. Inside, its Tardislike proportions were a big surprise. The ground floor had a large sitting room and kitchen and on the first and second floors, were three bedrooms and a bathroom. It also had a coal cellar with access from inside the house.
“Our home in Retford is quite modern so I wanted the quintessential seaside cottage and this was it. It had the beams but it was also very roomy and had a lot of potential,” she says. “It all happened very quickly. I came straight down to see it, reported back to my husband Matt and put an offer in straight away, which was accepted.”
The couple bought the house in December 2009 and with the help of her father Robert, an electrical engineer and keen DIYer, Kate set about modernising and extending. It took eight months and the first job was to find local contractors and suppliers.
“I didn’t know where to start but I spotted a house nearby that was being done up and asked to look round. That’s how I found Stuart Brown, a cabinet maker, who is fantastic. He then recommended other tradespeople,” says Kate, who made the four-hour round trip twice a week to oversee the project.
It’s a wonderful place to sit and look out at the rooftops and the harbour.
The1970s panelling, internal doors, stairs, radiators and windows were all ripped out to make way for cottage-style fittings. The fire, which was just a square hole in the wall, was replaced with a wood burning stove and a proper fireplace made from reclaimed bricks and a beam that Kate found at Fenby’s reclamation yard.
The kitchen, which had a toilet in one corner, was completely revamped. The units came from Howdens and Matt came up with the idea of creating bench seating with hidden storage. The bespoke cushions are made with striped linen from the Natural Curtain Company.
The cellar, reached via a wooden step ladder, was tanked and converted and is now a TV and games room with its own