As I mentioned yesterday we are in our new house so I thought I’d share some of it with you. Its a big house in the North Yorkshire countryside. Not the exciting bits of the Yorkshire countryside with rolling hills, dales, dramatic landscapes or Bronte’s moors but the flat, geographically uninspiring farmland with good motorway links that sandwiches the impressive bits together.
Historic England tells me in the house’s listing that it was built in the mid to late 18th century but wandering around it with my camera this morning I couldn’t really find anything surviving from this period.
These internal walls, holding up the archway, are probably from the original build standing at a full 16 inches thick. No wonder the phone signal struggles in the house with over a foot of solid wall to navigate between rooms!
We think that the flashier features designed to display the wealth of the home’s inhabitants like the imposing archway and intricate tiled floor were probably added a little later, although likely still well over a hundred years ago. Those steep, unadorned servants stairs head straight from outside the kitchen to the small bedrooms on the top floor completely missing the middle floor where the family would have slept.
When we have been thinking of the times when the house would have had a staff to maintain it we have wondered how much time would have been spent polishing the brass plate along the edge of the step and how much it would have gleamed. Its unlikely to reach those levels of shine during our time here!
And while I’m wondering the thought crosses my mind to think how many hands have held the banister on their way down the stairs
Speaking of the staff this is a lovely feature.
Bells in the main rooms which ring in the kitchen! The piece of folded paper in the bell is because the noise it makes is very loud. And my children are fond of pushing buttons!
And backing up to a previous thought about first impressions, the front door is very smart.
The house is on a working farm and for many years would have been the home of the landowners. It is still owned by the farm but has been rented out in more recent years. There are several nods to its agricultural past including this contraption which we think may have been used in some sort of dairy process
And of course every farmhouse kitchen has an AGA.
The whole house was remodelled and modernised in the 1960s and this was when most of the period features would probably have been lost. While it is impossible not to be sad that so much of what the house once was is no more, from my 21st century vantage point I find some of the 1960s features to be rather charming.
Like wallpapered ceilings
And wallpaper lined secret drawers in the kitchen table with 60s utensils still inside.
And even more wallpaper, this time inside a cupboard
And pink bathroom suites!
So we find ourselves in a big draughty old house which hasn’t been much updated in 50 years, with single glazing, no central heating to speak of, no mobile phone reception and very very slooooow broadband.
Why? Because this!
Our garden makes my heart sing. Just stepping out of the door lifts my spirits and wandering around I feel a weight lifted and my breath come easier. The flower beds are full of bees and butterflies and the air filled with the sound of bird song.
Yesterday morning I was lying in bed and a blue tit landed on the window sill and sat for a while before heading on his way and when I drew back the curtains there were squirrels and rabbits hopping across the lawn.
I am so looking forward to watching it change through the seasons and without any forethought, planning or negotiating with children about leaving the house just being able to reconnect with the outdoors.