This riverside retreat in the Yorkshire Dales has been given a new look and a new life by its latest owners. Sharon Dale reports.
It seems that Lawn House and Cherrie McCarron were destined to be together and their story has all the elements of a classic romance. Girl sees handsome Georgian house, falls in love, never forgets her dream home and beats seemingly impossible odds to buy it 16 years later.
Cherrie and her husband Paul first spotted the grade II listed property in a hamlet near Low Row when on an annual pilgrimage to the Yorkshire Dales.
“I did my Law Society finals in York and had fond memories of visiting the Dales for days out. When I met my husband, I insisted that we go on holiday there and we went back every year from then on,” says Cherrie, who lives in Suffolk. “We were on a lovely walk when I first saw Lawn House and I was absolutely smitten. I thought it was the most beautiful place ever but I never imagined I’d be able to buy it.”
The property, which has a private river frontage on the banks of the Swale and a waterfall in the grounds, was put on the market four years ago but was out of Cherrie and Paul’s price bracket. Last year the ‘For Sale’ sign went up again and when it didn’t sell, the house was listed for auction at a lower guide price.
“It was still too much for us but we made a last-minute decision that this was where we wanted to spend the rest of our days and so we made an offer, managed to get a commercial mortgage and bought it prior to auction,” says Cherrie, a former property lawyer.
It is now a luxurious holiday let managed by Yorkshire-based Gorgeous Cottages but Cherrie and Paul are preparing to make it their forever home within the next two years. The couple spent several months working on the grade II listed property, which had been partially renovated by the previous owner.
“She spent a lot of money on structural work and she had moved what was a small galley kitchen to a larger space on the lower ground floor. She also had stone-flagged floors laid and had floorboards upstairs restored. Everything she did was beautiful with no expense spared and it enhanced the house but there was still work to do,” says Cherrie.
There were no kitchen units installed, and although walls had been re-plastered, they hadn’t been painted. There were also some unexpected issues with the plumbing, electrics and flues. None of it fazed Paul and Cherrie, who are seasoned historic house renovators, who have restored their Tudor home in Suffolk and a cottage in Norfolk.
The country kitchen on the lower ground floor is now home to cabinets from Neptune teamed with an antique butchers block and a Belgian bakers’ cupboard. There’s evidence of creative upcycling in the lamp made from an old fire extinguisher and the pop crates made into shelves.
The decor throughout is a mix of classic and contemporary design with most of the walls in Farrow and Ball’s Cornforth White, Elephant’s Breath, Pointing and Slipper Satin. There is a diverse collection of art, ranging from a ‘Turnerseque’ landscape by Jo Lawrence to the After the Disco print from Rockett St George.
The dining room reveals Cherrie’s love of vintage homeware and design classics, and includes some of her favourite finds. There’s a 10ft, 18th century Irish linen table with four Eames chairs, along with a French vitrine cabinet, which came from a Cotswold cottage via eBay.
“We also brought up some furniture and accessories from our house in Suffolk and I like to support designer makers and small businesses, if possible,” she says.
One of the four bedrooms features a contemporary canopy bed made by an artisan blacksmith and the lampshades are covered in screen-printed fabric by Emma Purdie.
What was the library is now a book-themed bedroom with king-size French bed and bedside tables that started life as Hungarian milking stools. Pages from old books have been framed to add character and interest.
The master bedroom is the most sensational thanks to spectacular views of Swaledale. Along with style, there is an emphasis on comfort so the super king-size bed boasts a Hypnos mattress and White Company bed linen. An original fireplace and huge en-suite give added wow factor.
Outside, there are gardens, a terrace by the river and an Indian Kadai fire-pit to warm the cold Yorkshire nights.
“Buying this house was a heart over head decision but I don’t think anyone could love it more than we do. The plan is to move here full-time within a couple of years,” says Cherrie, as she plans her “happily ever after”.
Lawn House is available for holiday lets through Gorgeous Cottages, gorgeouscottages.co.uk
Neptune kitchen and homeware store, York ,and online, neptune.com
Emma Purdie, contemporary hand printed lampshades and interior textiles, emmapurdie.co.uk
Homeware by designer makers, notonthehighstreet.co.uk
Graham and Green, grahamandgreen.co.uk
Rockett St George, rockettstgeorge.co.uk
The White Company, bed linen, thewhitecompany.com
Hypnos mattress, hypnosbeds.com