Sharon Duncan’s dream kitchen has been 20 years in the making, but it has been well worth the wait, bringing harmony to the home and revolutionising the way that she and her family work, relax and spend time together.
“Before, there was a massive kitchen table that someone was always sitting at, with all the kids’ homework on it as well. Having the island has made everything more streamlined,” she says.
That island is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Brassica shade. Sharon says: “I knew, whatever I did, I wanted to incorporate that colour. I thought, ‘I’ve not seen a lilac one, I’m going to go for that.’”
Lawyer Sharon shares the house in Huby, near Harrogate with her husband, David, a financial adviser, their son, Alex, 18, and daughter, Isobel, 13.
She and David moved there from a three-bed terrace in Burley-in-Wharfedale. “We always assumed that when we grew up, we would move to Ilkley,” she says. “But my parents lived in York and we would go across and drive through Huby and see a row of three terraces and say, aren’t they lovely?”
Friends house-hunting in the village spotted a property on the market that they thought Sharon and David might like – a red brick, three-storey (plus basement) five-bedroom semi-detached, built in 1901.
“The first time we came to look at the house, it just didn’t sit with us at all,” says Sharon. “Afterwards, we had coffee at Bettys in Harrogate. We said, wasn’t it a shame that the house didn’t turn out to be everything that we thought it would be. In talking about it – that kitchen was a nice size, that garden was lovely – before we knew it, we had talked ourselves into going back for a second viewing.”
This time, they fell in love as soon as they walked in. Sharon says: “It was the owner who showed us round the second time, so we noticed all sorts of things that we had not seen before, like the original Edwardian servants’ bells. The manufacturer’s name on the bells was J Haigh, which was my dad’s name, and it was almost like the house was telling us to buy it.”
The garden was a blessing, especially a large sunny area to the side, which was south-facing and has proved to be a haven for flowers, strawberries and even grape vines. The kitchen, however, was too dark and so their first major alteration was a conservatory.
“In the 20 years, there is probably nothing we haven’t touched,” adds Sharon. They have two bathrooms, a large family one and a shower room. Both were refurbished 16 years ago and have recently had an update. “The big family bathroom had a revamp at Christmas when we put a new vanity unit in from Neptune,” she says. The roll-top bath is pink and the walls are in Farrow & Ball De Nimes.
The living room walls are in Farrow & Ball Green Smoke. “That was a complete punt,” Sharon says. “Normally I would buy 100 tester pots and deliberate over them for weeks. We started painting it and we loved it. In winter, it is a really lovely, cosy room.”
The master bedroom is in Farrow & Ball Setting Plaster. “When we moved in, it had very heavy fitted wardrobes, incredible for storage and beautifully done, but they took up so much space and weren’t what we wanted. In pulling those out, we found the original fireplace, and had the cast-iron insert replaced.”
Last year, they installed Amtico flooring, from Smiths The Rink in Harrogate, in the hall. “The beauty is, however much mud the kids trail in, a quick mop and it’s back to normal,” says Sharon.
David has always worked from home, so they had already converted the dining room into a library and office for him, but this sadly had to be sacrificed for the kitchen renovation, although they have included an office area within that. For lockdown, so that she too could work from home, Sharon set up in the spare room and now plans to create space above the garage they are building, which might eventually house her small business, The Calming Room, selling home and garden gifts, artwork and aromatherapy products.
The longed-for kitchen renovation began in September 2019 and Sharon started her Instagram account @my_yorkshire_kitchenspiration to document its progress. They turned to Chapel Kitchens and Furniture of Nun Monkton to help them realise their dream of opening the space and taking advantage of the south-facing light. Sharon especially wanted the kitchen sink set into the island. She says: “You seem to spend so much time washing up, and I thought, if I have got people sitting at the island, I can chat to them. My son is really into cooking, and my daughter will sit at the island watching YouTube and TikTok, so it’s a really sociable space.”
Follow Sharon at @my_yorkshire_kitchenspiration and The Calming Room is at www.thecalmingroom.co.uk
Smiths The Rink is at www.smithstherink.co.uk
Chapel Kitchens and Furniture is at www.chapelkitchens.com.
Tiles for the shower room and kitchen are from Lapicida in Knaresborough, www.lapicida.com.