The best laid plans often go awry, which is why Stephen and Kevin Gowland-Mahon are saying goodbye to what they thought would be their long-term home.
“We’ll both cry when we leave here. We love the house and the village and the neighbours are wonderful and really thoughtful,” says Stephen.
The couple are selling to move closer to Stephen’s new job and are taking on a major property renovation project.
It will be a brutal change from the comfort of their Victorian terrace, which they have completely transformed since buying it three years ago.
They were on the hunt for something bigger than their cottage in Hebden Bridge when they found the four-storey house in the sought-after village of Ripponden, near Halifax.
“We loved it straight away. The views over the valley are stunning and there is amazing countryside on the doorstep, where we can walk our dogs.
“It is also good for commuting because there’s easy access to the M62,” says Stephen.
While the property had been refurbished to a high standard, the minimalist decor didn’t suit their tastes.
Most of the walls were painted pale grey with a lower ground floor in white.
Rather than rush in, the couple took time to assess what they wanted to do with each of the rooms.
“We waited for six months before redecorating because we wanted to get a feel for the house and how it worked,” says Stephen, who adds: “I suppose you’d call our style eclectic. We like period features and we like colour and pattern. We are definitely not minimalist. A friend once called our style a mix between a Victorian seance and a bordello.”
They began with the Farrow and Ball colour chart and led by Kevin, who has a flair for choosing great colour combinations, they went for a rich off-black for the chimney breast and alcove in the main sitting room.
The other walls are in a complementary light grey and together they have the “mellow and calming” effect the couple were looking for.
There’s an oriental theme inspired by a velvet cushion featuring a geisha. It cost £75 and was made by Nottingham-based www.wildricedesigns.com.
The matching velvet sofa is from Tetrad and the display cabinet and parasol were bargains found in a charity shop.
The fashionable retro drinks trolley is one of their best finds and cost just 30 Euros at a brocante on one of their one of their regular trips to France.
The furniture and furnishings reflect the couple’s love of mixing vintage and new items. Stephen’s interest in antique taxidermy is also in evidence.
“Kevin’s forte is paint colours and mine is styling. He also has an amazing eye. I’ll walk into a shop and do a quick sweep of the room and he pays attention to detail so he’ll look through a box of pictures and find something beautiful that I have missed.”
The couple off-loaded a lot of their furniture when they moved so they could buy items that suited the Ripponden house.
“Every home has its own personality,” says Stephen, whose favourite shopping haunts include antique shops and auctions. He and Kevin also like Homely in Hebden Bridge, which has painted vintage furniture and stocks Annie Sloan chalk paint. Heopa Interiors in Hebden is another go-to for vintage homeware.
For new items, they like TK Maxx and HomeSense, lampshades from Lush Designs and anything by designer Emma Shipley.
The couple gave the lower ground floor a whole new look.
The Shaker-style kitchen units are painted in Farrow and Ball’s Brinjal pink and Studio Green then topped with a hard-wearing lacquer. The walls are in Green Smoke.
The adjoining dining area is a bold statement thanks to Ubud Palm wallpaper by Graham & Brown. A Chesterfield sofa adds comfort and the dining table and chairs were a bargain buy at £80 from a charity shop. Stephen upcycled it with Annie Sloan paint.
The two top floors of the house have lighter decor. Framed monochrome prints featuring English duchesses set the palette for the main bedroom.
It has soft grey walls with a feature wall of Passepartout wallpaper by Rasch.
The guest bedroom is also designed to be relaxing and its standout feature is the vintage tapestry behind the bed.
The bathroom was treated to a new high-level W.C and an Edwardian-style basin with a splashback of antique Minton tiles.
The whole of the top floor is decorated in neutral shades.
“The house gets lighter as you go up. We use the attic bedroom as a dressing room and those light, bright colours are great in the morning when you want to feel awake,” says Stephen.
Leaving will be a wrench though they are looking forward to renovating the next property.
“We are sad to move but we will definitely come back to the village,” says Stephen. “It has some great bars and restaurants.”
*Stephen and Kevin’s house is on Rochdale Road, Ripponden and is on the market with Simon Blyth for offers around £250,000.
With views across the valley to the rear, it has a ground floor entrance hall, a cosy sitting room and a study/second sitting room. The lower ground floor has a large breakfast kitchen, w.c. and dining room.
On the first floor, there are two double bedrooms and a bathroom. The second floor has a large bedroom.
For more details on the property contact the Simon Blyth estate agency, tel: 01484 651878, www.simonblyth.co.uk.