They say that the Seventies was the decade that style forgot, though that is a matter of opinion. What is certain is that some buyers would have dismissed the unreconstructed version of this 1970s end terrace home as too dated, not pretty enough, not period enough and/or too reminiscent of the era that gave us flares, ponchos and a riot of supersize, colour-clashing patterns.
Matthew and Helen Cimmermann, however, were immediately alert to the property’s strong points and its potential when they spotted it for sale nine years ago. They also observed the first principle of house hunting: “location, location, location”. Set in a prime spot in the sought-after Harrogate village of Pannal, the house backs onto open countryside, has beautiful rural views and is within walking distance of a railway station with links to Leeds.
When they bought the property, it was tired and ripe for a makeover but they knew they could make it into something special. Now on the market for £400,000 with the Modern House, their much-loved home has been transformed into a stylish des res.
The couple had all the right credentials for the job. They founded and run Harrogate store Cimmermann, which specialises in design classics with furniture and lighting by the likes of Ercol, Knoll and Vitra, along with work by 21st century brands such as Hay and Danish company &Tradition. They also share a love of mid-century design and employed it to great effect when modernising the house, which is now an exemplar showing what can be done to make a dated building stylish and relevant while not wiping its architectural heritage.
“We were looking for a renovation project, something we could do something with when we saw this,” says Matthew. “We loved the area and the views over fields at the back of the house. Another appeal was the size of the rooms, which are big.”
Even better was the chance to extend. The property sits on a large corner plot and the conservatories on the side and the rear of the house were crying out to be replaced. This provided scope to create a single-storey extension, which now houses a study/family room, along with a large extension at the rear, which is used as a dining area and has glazed doors onto a sunken terrace. Both additions are rendered in dark grey anthracite.
The new dining area allowed Matthew and Helen to improve the flow of the internal space downstairs, making it largely open-plan to the kitchen and the sitting room and uniting the areas with parquet flooring. The new kitchen cabinets and shelving are bespoke and were handcrafted in plywood by a local carpenter and the white tiles accented with black grout.
The wall opposite has String shelving and cabinets, which are a famous Swedish design by Nils Strinning. Other design classics in the home include the dining table by Alvar Aalto for Artek, Ercol chairs that once belonged to Helen’s grandmother and lighting by Foscarini.
Upstairs, the bathroom has bespoke ply cabinetry and cork tile flooring and there are three bedrooms, all with pendant lights by Japanese designer Isamu Noguchi.
Helen was in charge of choosing paint colours and the walls of the sitting room are in Claybrook’s 1974, a deep golden brown, and Little Greene’s Vincent, a soft grey. The green in the hallway is Little Greene’s Invisible Green. In the main bedroom Farrow & Ball’s Olive Green teams beautifully with the Iguana wallpaper by Timorous Beasties. The guest room is painted in Earthborn’s Sunday Stroll and son Harry’s room is in Smalt blue from Little Greene.
The finishing touches include lots of houseplants. “They were very popular in the Seventies when the house was built and we find them relaxing, plus they improve the air quality,” says Matthew.
Thoughtful changes included swapping the panelled internal doors for one that are flush, while adding a glass panel above to allow the transference of natural light. All the old windows have been replaced with picture windows in aluminium frames, which look perfectly in keeping. The archetypal Seventies staircase has been retained and the front of the property has been refreshed and the door replaced but it has lost none of its original character.
Outside, the large corner plot now has three terraces in a garden planted with bee-friendly herbs and wildflowers, while the trees attract an abundance of birdlife. To the side of the garden is a shared hard-standing and secure off-street garage.
Unlike many major renovations with extensions, this one ran smoothly. “We moved in straight away and did it over time and nothing dramatic happened, maybe because we weren’t in a rush,” says Matthew who adds that the family is moving because “we fancy a new change and a new challenge so we are looking for another project”.
For details of the sale of the Cimmermanns home at Pannal Green, Pannal, visit the Modern House and search for homes in Yorkshire. https://www.themodernhouse.com. The Cimmermanns’ furniture and lighting shop is at 10 Regent Parade, Harrogate, HG1 5AW.
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