A regular on ITV’s Dickinson’s Real Deal, antiques expert Tim Hogarth knows a Chippendale from a Hepplewhite all right but he’s no snob when it comes to furnishing his own home. While there are some exquisite antiques, they sit alongside more affordable collectables and even some well-crafted Titchmarsh & Goodwin, period style furniture from the 1980s.
“There is lots of stuff in here that’s old but not very valuable and we’ve bought it because we like the look of it,” says Tim, a lifelong dealer and owner of the renowned Red House Antiques centre in York.
The result is that the barn conversion he and his wife, Nicola, bought 14 years ago is beautiful and packed with interest but feels relaxed and homely. “The decor is country house style, which we both like and never dates,” says Tim, who is preparing to say “goodbye” to his much-loved home.
Low House Farm in the village of Queensbury, close to Halifax and Bradford, is on the market for £495,000 as he and Nicola have bought a renovation project in North Yorkshire. The couple and their daughter, Hester, now 19, looked at “hundreds of houses” before buying the pretty barn in a quiet rural spot with exceptional views.
“As soon as we saw this place we knew it was the one and it has been wonderful in lockdown,” says Tim. The property is one of three period dwellings in a cobbled courtyard and has 1.69 acres of land including a hen house, a small barn, a potting shed and a tree house. Inside, there is a hallway, wc, front sitting room, open plan kitchen/dining area leading to a second sitting room plus a mistal with potential to convert into a home office/annexe. On the first floor are five bedrooms and two bathrooms.
When the couple got the keys to the impressive front door reclaimed from Kirklees Hall, they immediately made some big changes. The separate kitchen and what was a sitting room next door were combined to create the open-plan kitchen and dining area with French doors leading out to the rear courtyard garden.
The original stone-flagged floors in the adjacent rear sitting room have been topped with sisal and a wood-burning stove ensures that the room is always warm and cosy. Most of the furniture is old or handcrafted. “You can pick up a Georgian chest for £200 at auction so why would you buy from Ikea?
Plus antiques are the ultimate in recycling,” says Tim. The walls are painted in Zoffany neutrals and are full of art, including framed antique needlework and a plethora of prints and paintings. One by Hungarian artist Laszlo is a favourite and his lady with a fan looks splendid between two chairs in the front sitting room.
Blue and white 18th and 19th century, Chinese decorative ceramics are another passion. “I love the way they look. They don’t have to be expensive and they can be broken, I don’t mind,” says Tim, 53, who fulfilled a childhood ambition to be an antiques dealer.
He grew up in Haworth, which at that time had lots of antique shops. By the age of eight he had begun bottle digging and striking his first deals: “Even as a young child I knew I wanted to work in antiques but I needed some money behind me so my first job was in the Airedale springs factory in Haworth.”
In the 1980s, he had a stall at Covent Garden and a shop in Haworth and he bought Red House Antiques in York seven years ago. “Back in the 1970s, antiques were the nation’s hobby. Everyone collected something and there were loads of antique shops but they died off as we became a throwaway society. That is changing and people are becoming interested in antiques again,” he says.
His most impressive finds include a Fabergé egg bought from a street market in Budapest. His most interesting was a silver cigarette case in a mixed lot he bought at auction. “I love researching the history of objects and I was thrilled when I found that the case was English silver and had been commissioned by the Romanovs as a thank you for the crew of HMS Marlborough.”
The British ship carried 17 members of the Russian Imperial family to safety and exile. “It’s probably worth £10 but the value doesn’t matter. It is a piece of history,” says Tim, whose most interesting career move was into TV after he answered an advert in the Antiques Trade Gazette.
He was hired for the pilot series of Dickinson’s Real Deal and has worked on it for the last 15 years. His tips for good investments at the moment include antique wrist watches, including Omega and Longines; prints by leading artists, such as Lowry and Dame Laura Knight and brown furniture.
Apart from very sought-after brown furniture like Chippendale chairs, it is ridiculously cheap and the only way is up. You can buy an antique chest for £300 that would’ve fetched £2,500 in the 1980s but whatever you do don’t paint it. Chalk paint has a lot to answer for.”
Low House Farm is on the market for £495,000 with Charnock Bates, www.charnockbates.co.uk; www.redhouseyork.co.uk
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