Like all creatives, furniture designer George Gold is adept at visualising, so when an estate agent showed him a house that was the complete opposite of what he asked for, he immediately understood why.
“The plan was to buy a place out in the sticks but the agent persuaded us to look at a property in Kirkbymoorside and the thought of not having to drive the children to school every day suddenly started to appeal,” he says.
The late Victorian terraced house, which started life as a shop, looked small from the outside but fears about lack of space were soon banished when George and his wife, Katharine, realised it was a five-bedroom Tardis full of potential.
The couple, who have three children, have since transformed it. The biggest job was to add a contemporary rear extension designed by Malton-based Bramhall Blenkharn architects. The space is now a large dining kitchen, which steps down into what was a dark internal sitting room to create one enormous open-plan living space. “Mark Bramhall was very clever. The house isn’t square so he designed a curve to join the new extension to this old building. It was the right thing to do and it also created space for an outdoor shed sat within the curve. There’s also a lot of glazing so we get lots of natural light,” says George.
The property was replumbed and rewired and a bedroom was turned into a large bathroom. The original bathroom is now a laundry room.
Retaining the character of the historic home was important to the Golds, so all the period features have been retained, including the original fireplaces, most of which were manufactured in Kirkbymoorside. These fixtures are complemented by pre-loved finds, some of which were bought at local antique shops. They include a dining table and chairs and a coveted daybed, all by Ercol.
“I really admire Ercol. It was one of the few firms allowed to manufacture during the war because what they produced was made to last and was good value.
“The daybed was in the house when we viewed it. I said we’d buy the house if they left the daybed for us,” says George, whose own handiwork features heavily.
He did all the internal joinery and designed and made the kitchen himself. The base units include curves and he made the shelving above. Light comes from LED strips and Anglepoise wall lamps. He also redesigned the upstairs loo, adding a reclaimed sink and new shelves that hold his collection of World of Interiors magazines.
George’s hand-crafted RKO standard lamps in the sitting area and by the dining table are among his best sellers. Made in his workshop in Pickering, they fold up so are easily transportable.
Although he studied fine art and sculpture, most of what he made looked like furniture and his tutor suggested he try his hand at the real thing.
“I did a City and Guilds in furniture making and found that it was every bit as satisfying as making art,” he says.
After making furniture for family and friends and a stint as a builder, he and Katharine, a paper conservator, moved to America where he worked on the restoration of a ship in San Francisco Bay. When they moved home, George made sets for TV and film before setting up his own business while teaching Design Technology. His range of products include the lamps, a flat-pack bookcase, trestles and wooden storage crates that can be used as bedside tables, storage units or seats.
“I like the idea of my work being utilitarian and built to last,” says George, whose influences range from the Arts and Crafts era just before Bauhaus and mid-century design. He also likes bright colours thanks to the stint in California and he and Katharine have used them both in and outside their home
Most surprising is the use of turquoise for the Velfac window frames on the new rear extension. It’s a colour loved by another Yorkshireman enamoured by California – David Hockney.
“We like Californian sunshine colours. They make you feel happy,” says George.
The blue frames make for an uplifting view from the far reaches of the enormous garden, where an old garage has been turned into a studio for Katharine.
“The garden is amazing. It’s one of the main reasons we bought the house,” says George, who has never regretted giving up his dream of a rural idyll for life in a market town. “We all love living here and it’s the best of both worlds. We have everything we need on the doorstep, you don’t have to drive miles for a pint of milk and we are surrounded by countryside.”
For details of George Gold Furniture visit www. georgegold.co