Cake maker Lindsay Baines cooked up a whole new look for this farmworker’s cottage in Bedale. Heather Dixon reports. Pictures by Colin Poole.
The Baines family will never forget the day they moved into their house in North Yorkshire. “It was Jubilee weekend and the whole village was celebrating,” says Lindsay. “We were literally moving everything in, surrounded by piles of boxes and furniture, and people were knocking on the door inviting us to party. It was quite surreal.”
The warm welcome compensated for the amount of work they faced in the cottage, which they planned to renovate inside and out.
“It was very basic and the bathroom was in need of modernisation,” says Lindsay. “There was a very dated pine kitchen and we wanted to take up all the laminated floor and replace it with proper wood or tiles.”
Before they could start on the inside, however, they employed local tradespeople to lay a new roof, install new windows and refit the electrics and plumbing to bring the cottage up to date.
Lindsay and her husband Richard then agreed to live in it for a while until they knew exactly how they wanted it to look inside. “It’s so easy to rush into things and make mistakes, so in the first year we just decorated to freshen everything up,” she says.
The biggest decision concerned the kitchen. As a celebration cake maker, Lindsay wanted it to be of professional standard without losing the homely touch. “I certainly didn’t want it to look clinical,” she says. “It’s a family kitchen but it’s also where I make all my specialist celebration cakes, so I needed plenty of good work surfaces and storage.”
Lindsay finally found inspiration through friends who run The Forge Home Interiors in Bedale. They suggested that the wall between the kitchen and dining room should be knocked down to draw light right through the house, and create an open-plan living space. A small porch and utility room also became part of the new kitchen, and pipes that became exposed were encased in a faux lintel.
“I drew up a rough plan of the kitchen layout and Forge Interiors did the technical drawings and supplied the units,” says Lindsay. “The butcher’s block is one of my favourite things in the kitchen because it’s so versatile. I use it every single day.”
She sourced that from The Cook Workshop for £600, while the hand- painted kitchen cost £10,600 and the couple chose Farrow & Ball’s String as the main colour. The bathroom also had a major revamp when they replaced the fittings, added a new window in the ceiling and changed the layout.
As their daughter Emma grew older they also changed the way they used the bedrooms, swapping the nursery for Richard’s office and creating a den for their son Elliott in an already converted garage downstairs.
Their own bedroom was revamped with walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s Savage Ground, a headboard and blind that Lindsay made from Laura Ashley fabric and drawer from Pond Cottage Antiques, www.yorkshirepine.co.uk
She also added thick curtains to ward off draughts and create a luxurious window treatment.
In the sitting room they replaced an oil burning fire with a wood burning stove, and a combination of inherited furniture and pieces bought when they moved in create a comfortable, lived-in look. They updated a chair inherited from Lindsay’s father in Keyns tartan fabric.
The dining room, which they originally painted white, was transformed with Dulux Roasted Red to create a cosy, all-year-round place for dinner parties and family suppers. Fairfield Mills Annanas Curtains (£400), a table from CB Furnishings and chairs from Pond Cottage Antiques complete the look.
“White just didn’t suit the room because it’s naturally dark in there and it ended up looking cold and dingy,” says Lindsay.
The dining room also comes in handy for storing the cakes that she makes. “I have five or six large orders a week so the table is often covered with cakes that are waiting to be delivered,” she says.“It’s an ideal business to run from home because I can work round the children’s school hours.
“With dogs and children around, the house has to stand up to lots of wear and tear. It’s had to be practical as well as homely. But we love the house and it’s a fantastic family home.
“We have managed to do everything we wanted to do without changing the fabric of the building. It’s unrecognisable from the way the house looked when we bought it, but it still has all the character and history which made us fall in love with it in the first place.”