Teepee entrepreneurs have turned a dated, two-bedroom bungalow into a sensational family home. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by James Hardisty.
When Amanda and Richard Monaghan were hunting for a family-sized house, a two bedroom bungalow was not on their wish list.
Yet it turned out to be the ideal home thanks to their design skills and the help of a top Yorkshire architect.
The couple spotted the property five years ago when it came up for sale in a pretty village, near York.
“It was ugly and damp but it was on a good size plot and we know and love the village because it’s where my parents live,” says Amanda.
They hired Bramhall Blenkharn architects to help them come up with a plan to turn the bungalow into a family-friendly eco home for themselves and their children, Finn, five and Orla, three.
“At first we thought we would extend it but it was single skin with no foundations so we decided to demolish and start again. Bramhall Blenkharn were brilliant,” says Amanda.
“They began by asking us to describe our perfect day and then they designed the whole house round that.”
The exterior is brick, timber, render and glass and is sensitive to its surroundings. The front facade is a blend of traditional and contemporary design, while the rear features a wall of glazing. Planners were also impressed with the decision to replace oil with an air source heat pump, underfloor heating and solar panels that generate both electricity and hot water.
It is also a live-work home with four bedrooms and an annexe with office and boot room.
The nine-month build ran smoothly, thanks to a project manager, and they came in on budget after negotiating a fixed price contract with the builder, Woodhouse Barry.
The couple, who run tepee and sperry tent hire specialists, PapaKata, were too busy to oversee every aspect of construction, though they kept a close eye on it as they were lodging with Amanda’s parents across the road.
The interior has benefited from their expertise and full attention. They both trained in product design and have lots of interesting ideas.
Richard was keen to have open-plan living so the ground floor includes a kitchen/dining room that leads onto a sitting area.
However, folding doors between the two spaces mean they can be separated easily. There is also a playroom and utility room.
“We wanted to avoid the place looking like a newly-built box so the architect suggested adding character with little touches like toggle light switches and the herringbone floor downstairs.
“We also used 1930s-style doors and it all made a difference,” says Amanda, who opted for a mix of Farrow and Ball’s Cornfield White and Felt from the Paint and Colour Library on the walls.
The kitchen is by London-based Roundhouse with marble and Corian worktops. The units are painted in Farrow and Ball’s Downpipe Grey and the metro tiles are from Fired Earth.
This is one of Amanda’s favourite areas of the house, along with her bedroom suite, which boasts a dressing room, an enormous bath and separate wet room.
“It was an extravagance, especially the bath, but we did make savings in other areas like using Ikea wardrobes with handles from Cox and Cox,” she says.
Furniture was all sourced specifically for the house and includes a dining table from France via eBay, which was just £300 including delivery, and a coffee table from Graham and Green. The sitting room sofa was from Redbrick Mill in Batley and the built-in storage is bespoke.
Reindeer skin rugs, used in the Papakata tents, add texture and warmth. Decorative pieces like the Amish star, said to bring good luck, and the sledge, which acts as a side table, came from Newark antiques fair. Other favourite shopping haunts included The White Company, Redbrick Mill, Aberford Interiors, Habitat and internet stores, Maisondumonde.com and Made.com.
“My best bargain is the concrete base candle holders from The Range, which were a few pounds each,” says Amanda, who enlisted help with sourcing and styling from friend, Lindsay Green, who runs Yorkshire-based gift and homeware firm, Green and Co.
Richard’s main input was to insist on three woodburning stoves, including one in the annexe.
The home office is now warm and inviting, which is crucial for working parents, although they have a separate HQ for their business. But in spring and summer, Papakata is a 24/7 operation. They started the company eight years ago after they struggled to hire a teepee for their wedding in York.
“The only place we could get one was in the South and they didn’t travel outside the M25 so we sourced our own from Sweden. We wanted to relocate from London to Yorkshire and thought there was a gap in the market for teepees,” says Amanda.
They have now added glamorous, American sperry tents to their offering and the company has grown from supplying 12 tents a year to 300, which have popped up everywhere from Jamie Oliver’s birthday party and VIP areas at festivals to Cowes Week and society weddings.
“We love what we do but it is full on. My favourite bit is dressing and lighting the interiors to make the tents look magical,” says Amanda.
“That’s what I have enjoyed most about this project. The styling is the icing on the cake and we’ve taken a lot of care over it because we see this as a home for life.”