For sale: this fabulous mid-century house is a lesson in design and why it pays to save up and invest in quality

Hidden away at the far end of a cul-de-sac in West Yorkshire, this three-bedroom house for sale with a one-bedroom annexe is a truly exceptional example of mid-century architecture.

The layout has been brilliantly thought out and the interiors are so good, they make you drool, though some may question whether the location listing is a mistake.

Certainly the property looks like it is owned by a design conscious hipster in a fashionable part of London.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In fact, it is in Knottingley and was designed by renowned local architect Fred Taylor in 1964 for himself, his wife Kathleen and their children.

The first floor sitting areaThe first floor sitting area
The first floor sitting area

It is now on the market for the first time and looks set to attract attention from those who adore mid-century design at its best.

“My dad bought some land in a limestone quarry from Bagleys Glassworks and put the living accommodation upstairs where we could make the most of the views,” says the Taylor’s daughter Jessica Good, who enjoyed growing up there.

Heavily inspired by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, Fred Taylor began his architectural journey aged 14 in Knottingley Urban District Council’s surveying and engineering office.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

During the height of the post-war social housing building boom, he was responsible for the layout and building designs of many of the local housing estates. After this, he used his talent to design one-off homes for individual clients and local developers.

Hill Top houseHill Top house
Hill Top house

Fred’s family recall his tireless work ethic and how prolific he was: “He designed and built so many houses in this area that it was impossible to drive him anywhere in a 20-mile radius without him pointing out several of them on the journey,” says Jessica.

His own home, named Hill Top, is a lesson not just in top class architecture but in buying well and buying once when it comes to fitting out and furnishing a property.

The kitchen is the original one installed in the 1960s. It’s solid wood, still going strong and looks as fabulous and fresh as ever, painted in jaunty yellow.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“My parents were always very modern and interested in new things. We would have a trip to London every year where they would buy a piece of contemporary furniture that they had saved up for and then they would start saving up again for the next trip.

The dining area with hatch to the kitchenThe dining area with hatch to the kitchen
The dining area with hatch to the kitchen

“Furnishing the house was a labour of love for them. They saved for these things and they treasured them,” says Jessica.

“I can remember we had a hole in the bathroom floor for a while because they wanted to save up for a particular bath.”

Hence the property is blessed with quality fixtures and fittings and timeless design classics, including an Eileen Gray table, a Corbusier lounge chair and Bauhaus furniture, along with carefully chosen artwork.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fred and Kathleen also attended the Ideal Home exhibition every year and as a result they were among the first to install cavity wall insulation in the early 1970s and were also among the first to invest in a waste disposal system. It is still there and still works though it never became mainstream.

The kitchen with original 1960s cabinets still going strongThe kitchen with original 1960s cabinets still going strong
The kitchen with original 1960s cabinets still going strong

“They would often get things that people had never heard of before,” says Jessica.

The 0.75 acre grounds of the property also benefited from great design courtesy of Kathleen, who planted it to look perfect while ensuring a great deal of privacy.

Lovingly tended, the garden wraps round the house with a rich array of plants and biodiversity with goldfinches and chaffinches frequent visitors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There is also a two car garage and parking for around six cars on the drive.

As for location, Jessica says: “The house is just off the main street and in easy reach of the train station with services to Leeds but few people realise it is there, it is so private and secluded.”

Selling will be a wrench for the family but Fred passed away recently and Kathleen is planning a move to the coast so the For Sale sign is up.

The house has a central entrance hall on the ground floor along with a workshop and studio/office. Two workshop/hobby rooms lie behind while the integral garage has parking for two cars. There is also storage space beneath the house.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Spiral stairs wind up to the first floor which, thanks to its location, is full of natural light. Here there is African hardwood flooring, exposed brickwork and flush plywood doors all beautifully maintained.

The heart of the house is a set of open-plan areas to relax, dine, cook, play and study in, cleverly delineated from one another while maintaining a sense of flow.

Opening from the hall is the dual-aspect dining space, adjacent is the kitchen, while a chimney breast separates the lounge from the dining space.

The library/play area is alongside, screened by metal fretwork and on a raised dais. There are two double bedrooms, one single bedroom, a bathroom, separate W.C. and a utility room with the la tter opening onto the upper level of the garden.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The one bedroom annexe has a kitchen, living and dining space, a double bedroom and bathroom.

Hill Top is £530,000 with Knottingley near Leeds has water ways and a railway station plus Ofsted “outstanding” rated schools.