Artist in residence

Kate with her children

Kate with her children

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Artist Kate Lycett has plenty of space for painting, resting and playing in the converted pub that she calls home. Sharon Dale reports.

Pregnant with twins and feeling poorly, Kate Lycett wasn’t in the best frame of mind when her husband, Daniel, persuaded her to view a former pub on a busy main road.

“We lived in an over dwelling and wanted extra space but I thought this house would be noisy and dark. It was a big surprise when we got inside. It was sunny and enormous,” says Kate.

The couple, who also have a six-year-old daughter, Hattie, immediately agreed to buy it despite its many faults.

The mid 18th-century property in Hebden Bridge had been converted in the 1970s but was in desperate need of more work, not least because of fire damage that had been covered up.

“Everything needed doing from the roof down. You pulled off wallpaper and half the wall came with it and the floor joists needed replacing too,” says Kate.

It was a shock but there were some surprises in store too. When the roof came off, it revealed an attic complete with hidden spaces, which they were able to open up to create a bedroom, bathroom and storage space.

The old function room, still sporting nicotine-stained wallpaper, has become a perfect playroom for Hattie and her twin siblings Daisy and Robin, two-and-a-half.

The house now works perfectly, thanks to Daniel, a dab hand at DIY, and his helpful parents.

On the ground floor there is a barrel- vaulted kitchen, plus a dining room with snug, a study and a bathroom. Although the road is on the doorstep, you can’t hear it thanks to the triple-glazed windows.

The function room is on the first floor along with the bedrooms and Kate’s studio.

Furniture is a mix of revamped finds from Hebden Bridge flea market and eBay. The dresser, which Kate painted, cost £40 and is trimmed with paper bunting fashioned from triangles of paper, decorated by the children and strung together with ribbon.

Kate, who loves to sew and craft, says: “Most of what we have is second-hand. It started off as needs must but buying old pieces means you get something different, so that’s the main appeal now.”

The walls are decorated with everything from old circus posters to Kate’s own mixed media pictures. She paints them on watercolour paper and adds inks, gouache, gold leaf and stitching. The paintings have also been made into tea light lanterns, which are sold in nearby lighting shop Radiance.

“My studio is very ordered and I am very disciplined about work, which is funny because everything else in the house is chaos,” she says. “I have a childminder twice a week and Daniel looks after them one day so I can paint then and in the evenings. I sometimes work when Robin and Daisy are having a nap but it’s impossible when they are up and about.”

Kate has always been surrounded by art and grew up in Eye, Suffolk, where her mother had a gallery. She moved to Yorkshire for a degree in fine art specialising in textiles at York St John’s University and later worked as a designer for a corporate-wear company.

“I started painting for fun as a relief from the restrained colour palettes I had to use in my job. Then a friend suggested I take a stall at a craft fair and I sold everything that first weekend.”

Her original style and vibrant colours have since enabled her to become a successful, full-time artist.

Her latest exhibition, which is due to open at The Chantry Gallery in Ripley this coming weekend, features famous landmarks in North Yorkshire, including Bolton Abbey and Ripley Castle. “When I first started painting we were living in Sheffield and I did abstracts but when I moved to Hebden Bridge I felt compelled to paint the buildings and landscape,” says Kate.

“It’s a great, inspirational place to be and it is full of creative people. I can’t see myself living anywhere else.”

Kate’s exhibition Hidden Places Open Spaces runs from October 5 to 20 at Chantry House Gallery, Ripley. www.katelycett.co.uk

In the September 14 issue we featured interior designer Emma Birch. Her contact details are 01943 600920, 07768 696839

CHANGE IN LANDSCAPE INSPIRED KATE TO REACH FOR NEW HORIZONS

Kate has used the culture shock of moving from Suffolk to Yorkshire to create her best-selling paintings.

She says: “I remember, when I first moved up here from Suffolk, writing to my grandad about big grey skies and rainbows. I think, having come from the flat lands of Suffolk, that the Yorkshire landscape was very startling to me.

“I was staggered by the scale of the hills. While working on my latest painting of North Yorkshire, I have noticed that the landscape suddenly changes the other side of Keighley. The hills roll, the valleys aren’t as steep. The trees are larger, grander and the water is deep and still.

“I find that I am painting a lot of reflections. West Yorkshire is all about the power of the water. The valleys are steep and the rivers are fast. North Yorkshire is more sedate. It stays still. The light is also very different and the colours are softer.

“I sketch and take photographs but I also take notes on colours while I am out as photographs never capture them as I see them.”

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