This fabulous eco-friendly home was fashioned from a damp, dated bungalow

The open-plan living space suits family lifeThe open-plan living space suits family life
The open-plan living space suits family life
This eco-friendly property in Nun Monkton has all the elements for a perfect family home

Houses in the pretty village of Nun Monkton rarely come on the market, which is why Samantha Jacob despaired of ever finding a home there until an unlikely hero made her dream come true.

“We lived in London but wanted to move up to Yorkshire. My sister lives in Nun Monkton and we really wanted to buy here but I didn’t think we stood a chance until I mentioned to the local postman that I’d love to live in the village but couldn’t find anything for sale. That’s when he told me about a house that was due to come on the market,” says Samantha.

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The tiny two-bedroom bungalow he referred to was dated, damp and too small for Samantha, her husband and their three children, but it had plenty of potential and stood in a large plot of land.

What was a damp and dated bungalow is now a perfect family homeWhat was a damp and dated bungalow is now a perfect family home
What was a damp and dated bungalow is now a perfect family home

“We were very lucky as we ended up buying the bungalow via a private sale. We spent two weeks painting everything white inside and lived in it for 18 months before we did any work to it,” she says. "The idea was to experience the seasons and the light before we did anything at all to the building. We picked up that idea from TV’s Grand Designs, which I am obsessed with.”

Both Samantha and her husband work in the design industry. She is a handbag designer who worked for top brands, including Anya Hindmarch and Whistles, and is now design director at Troubadour. He is an illustrator, photographer and graphic designer who is creative director for Innovation Arts.

After meticulously planning how to extend the 1960s property to fit their five-person family, they applied to Harrogate Borough Council for planning permission. It took nine months and three refusals but they finally managed to get the go-ahead to extend and put rooms in the roof.

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York architect Paul Butler drew the plans and his father, John, a builder, did the work. “They did a great job and it was John’s last before he retired. It’s almost like a new property because we did everything from new steels to new floors, ceilings and insulation. There were seven to 10 people on site for six months so it was a big job but the craftsmanship is brilliant,” says Samantha.

The ply kitchen by The Main Company based in Green HammertonThe ply kitchen by The Main Company based in Green Hammerton
The ply kitchen by The Main Company based in Green Hammerton

Like almost all “grand designs”, it ran over budget – from £250,000 to £350,000 – but there are no regrets as this is a house or life and so opting for the highest quality is a sound investment.

There are now four bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, including a large dormer bedroom with glazed doors leading onto a balcony. Downstairs there is a large, open-plan living space with a kitchen, dining area and sitting area, along with a separate office and playroom, utility room and ground- floor bathroom.

The large and stylish open-plan living space is perfect for photography and filming, which is why the house is now on the books of Yorkshire-based Lifestyle Locations, which sources properties for film and photo shoots.

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The decor is mostly white so there is a blank canvas ready for experimentation with Farrow & Ball’s dark greens and greys. Some of the furniture includes old favourites such as the Ercol lounge chair and footstool, along with HEM shelving plus other design classics from one of their favourite stores, SCP in London. The ply kitchen was handcrafted by the Main Company in Green Hammerton and features a concrete sink.

The sitting area overlooking the gardenThe sitting area overlooking the garden
The sitting area overlooking the garden

“We like to save and invest in good-quality items but we’ve also got some bargains, including the Hay sofas from eBay, and we used Ikea furniture in the children’s rooms,” says Samantha, who likes Ferm Living for home accessories and who has a passion for houseplants. She has 72 plants and it takes her an hour and a half to water them each week.

One of the biggest but best investments was a ground-source heat pump. Its installation was possible thanks to the large plot the property stands in. The pump runs the heating and the hot water by using a loop of fluid-filled pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground.

This warmth is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into a heat pump. The system cost £25,000 but, thanks to the Government’s RHI, renewable heat incentive, it will pay for itself within seven years and the heat it generates is free, apart from the cost of maintenance and running the heat exchanger.

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“It is incredibly effective and it’s green energy, which is good for the environment,” says Samantha. “We want to be as eco-friendly as possible and are thinking about solar panels next as ideally we would like to be off-grid.”

The main bedroom with a balcony overlooking the groundsThe main bedroom with a balcony overlooking the grounds
The main bedroom with a balcony overlooking the grounds

The move to this house has been life-changing for the Jacob family. “It’s such a calm, peaceful place,” says Samantha. “The large amounts of glazing also mean that there are views onto the garden. It’s very therapeutic.”

Photography by Louise Bates

Useful Contacts

Paul Butler Architects, York,

The Main Company, Green Hammerton,

The Yorkshire Post would like to thank Lifestyle Locations for its help in sourcing this Real Home. The agency is dedicated to providing a diverse range of locations available to hire across Yorkshire and the North-West. All of the locations can be hired for advertising, filming, photography, TV shoots.

The family bathroomThe family bathroom
The family bathroom

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