When you fall in head over heels in love with a property only to be told that another buyer has beaten you to it, it can be heartbreaking because however hard you look, nothing else quite measures up. That’s just how Azmat and Nick Ward felt when they were told Larpool Mill, near Whitby, was under offer.
The converted flour mill is in a tranquil and idyllic spot in a small valley surrounded by woodland and a stream. While it feels a world away from hustle and bustle, it sits close to the cinder track, which leads walkers and cyclists into Whitby within half an hour. It is also within easy striking distance of the vibrant village of Ruswarp.
Months went by and the Wards’ hunt for a home close to the coast continued without success until they got a surprise call asking if they were still interested in buying the mill as its sale had fallen through. With no time wasted, Azmat and Nick sealed the deal and set about turning the property into a luxury, five-bedroom holiday let.
The Grade II listed mill, which dates back to the early 1800s, had already been converted into a home, but was in need of updating. The Derbyshire-based couple, who own a hair salon and an antiques and craft centre in Chesterfield, are seasoned renovators with a passion for interior design and they relished the idea of another project.
“We bought Nick’s grandmother’s former home, Misty Cottage in Whitby, five years ago and turned that into a holiday let. We both love this area and were looking for another property here when we found the mill,” says Azmat.
After getting the keys two years ago, they persuaded a trusted builder from Chesterfield to help them tackle the modernisation and transformation, which included stripping the building back and tackling everything from replumbing and rewiring to levelling part of the three quarters of an acre plot.
“We were really lucky that he agreed. He brought a caravan to the site and stayed here for six months while he was working,” says Azmat. “We mucked in with everything. When the salon closed on Saturday, we’d drive up here and work on the property Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before driving back home. It was hard work but worth it in the end.”
The result is a stunning, five-bedroom retreat that can also double as a wedding venue. The Wards spotted the opportunity for erecting a marquee on their land and managed to get a wedding licence, while neighbouring landowners agreed to provide parking when necessary. “We are holding our first wedding with 100 people here in August, all being well, and that will be my daughter’s wedding,” says Azmat.
The interiors theme for the mill is modern rustic with a mix of vintage and new buys in keeping with the character of the building. On the ground floor is a kitchen that opens into a dining area. The units are from Howdens but the island has been clad with old scaffold boards to add interest.
The dining area features panel-effect wallpaper by Andrew Martin, flooring from LRS and the table is from Chesterfield-based H and F with the lights above it from Next.
While the redbrick fireplace in the enormous, separate sitting room looks as though it’s been there forever, it is a new addition made to look rustic by Nick, who is a dab hand with Frenchic chalk paint. He painted bits of the brick and waxed them to give an aged look. Nick also used off-white Frenchic on previously ugly fire doors and on many of the beams.
On the first floor landing there are two ensuite bedrooms and a snug with everything from board games to games consoles. Up on the top floor are two further ensuite bedrooms. A separate garage was converted into an annexe and now provides a fifth bedroom and ensuite.
Vintage finds from the couple’s store, Olympia House, add character and interest throughout and include period sofas, original tin advertising signs and a trestle sewing machine base topped with wood, which now houses a bathroom basin. Next was the go-to place for many of the curtains.
“The project took longer than we thought and we went way over budget but it was worth it because we love it,” says Azmat. “It is an amazing place with a lovely, relaxed feel.”
Larpool Mill, near Whitby, www.beautifulescapes.co.uk; Olympia House Antiques and Craft Centre, www.olympiahouse.co.uk; H and F, Chesterfield, www.homeandfurniture.co.uk; LRS flooring, Chesterfield; Howdens kitchens, www.howdens.com; Frenchic chalk paint, www.Frenchicpaint.co.uk; Next, www.next.co.uk; Eve Photography, www.evephotograohy.co.uk
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