Ian Morton’s long-time love affair with historic buildings has seen him protect, preserve and give productive new life to numerous properties. He made it his business after combining his skill as an interior designer with development fuelled by an entrepreneurial spirit.
“Whatever I do begins with falling in love with an old building and then working out how to transform it and bring it back to life while preserving its integrity,” says Ian.
The roots of this passion are in his own home, Brunswick House in Otley, which he bought in 1993 when he was just 25 years old. It is now for sale with Fine and Country for £1.25m. “People thought I was crazy and looking back, it was a brave thing to do as I had no money to do any work on it and it is a very big house.”
He has since lavished a small fortune on his much-loved home, a magnificent Victorian Gothic property with a great back story. It was built for the famous Bradford music hall owner Henry Pullan in 1870, just a year after the impresario had built and opened his renowned 3,000-seat Pullan’s New Music Hall on Brunswick Place in Bradford.
“I love Victorian Gothic architecture. It is the highlight of that period when the Victorians were really showing off,” says Ian, who uncovered and preserved many period features when restoring the property and bringing it into the 21st century. “Externally, the house was fine and it is so well built it is mind-blowing. It is solid as a rock and all the internal walls are solid stone or brick. Inside it was very dated and needed re-wiring and re-plumbing. Original panelling had been covered up with plywood in the 1960s and there was a lot of woodchip wallpaper.”
The house, which has views over the Chevin and Almscliffe Crag, has a grand hallway, three reception rooms, a Michael Moore kitchen, a conservatory, a utility and cloakroom.
On the first floor are four bedrooms and two bathrooms and on the second floor is a suite with a bedroom, sitting room, kitchen and bathroom.
The basement has an entertainment area with a bar, a hobby room, kitchen, bathroom and storage. Outside is a triple detached garage and fabulous gardens plus a heated outdoor swimming pool.
Ian is selling to downsize and admits that there will be tears when he leaves. For details contact: Fine and Country, tel: 0113 203 4939, www.fineandcountry.com