This gorgeous house in the country is a creative hub and the perfect home for children. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by Gary Longbottom.
If you were to imagine the perfect place to raise a family, it could well resemble Georgie Pridden’s idyllic country home.
The property sits in a tiny hidden-away hamlet surrounded by North Yorkshire’s finest countryside. There’s a green in the middle where the children can meet and play, and a shallow stretch of the River Rye that is perfect for paddling, catching sticklebacks and spotting otters.
Inside the Pridden house, there’s plenty of space for running round and playing hide and seek, an enormous living kitchen, a “grown-up” sitting room and a garden full of chickens, organic veg and roses.
“We love it here. I couldn’t think of anywhere nicer to live,” says Georgie, who has eschewed buying in favour of renting from friends.
The six-bedroom property appears to be the quintessential period home with spacious rooms, nooks and crannies and Georgian-style windows and doors. In fact, it is an energy-efficient new build constructed by a local landowner 14 years ago.
“We decided to rent when we moved to Yorkshire from London and it suits us. We know we can stay here as long as we like and there are lots of advantages. The best thing is that we have no maintenance worries,” says Georgie, who has three children, Lottie, nine, Taggie, eight, and Bertie, six.
The owners gave her free rein to redecorate the house, near Nunnington, knowing that whatever she chose would look good. Artistic and creative, she has an eye for design along with an indefatigable energy.
It was no surprise to anyone when she stayed up all night re-painting the walls downstairs, while her husband, Ben, was away on business.
“I must admit I have wallpapered and painted quite a lot as I tend to change my mind about what I like. I’ve repainted downstairs again in neutral colours as I think it’s a good backdrop for pictures.”
Her first job when she moved in was repainting the kitchen units. They were cream and are now Burlington Arcade blue by Mylands, which makes the large space feel much cosier.
In the adjoining dining area, there’s a Habitat dining table, teamed with chairs that she painted. It is used for everything from entertaining to curtain making.
“That started when I wanted a fabric noticeboard. They were quite expensive so I decided to make my own and then I made them as presents. That led to me making curtains for myself and my family and friends. I put a trestle table up against the dining table and that gives me space to lay them out. It’s a good skill to have and it has saved me a fortune over the years,” says Georgie, who was taught to sew by her mother who had a tapestry business.
Her top tip for textile buying is from the Stead McAlpin mill shop in Cummersdale, near Carlisle, where she finds many of her bargains. It stocks slight seconds by top brands including Colefax and Fowler and Nina Campbell.
She also buys vintage curtains from eBay and charity shops and upcycles them with trims and interlining.
The busy living kitchen is also the HQ of her business, Pridden PR and Events, which specialises in representing artists and makers. One of her clients is Durham-based Lindsey Madden, who paints oils on chalkboard. Her picture of the Pridden children is the stand-out feature in the dining area.
“It is absolutely amazing and I am so thrilled to have it. I put it in the dining area so I can enjoy it more because that’s where I spend a lot of time,” says Georgie, who previously worked at Christie’s in London and has eclectic tastes. Opposite Lindsey’s picture is a pop art painting she picked up in a junk shop for £10.
In the separate sitting room, there’s work by Mima Urquhart, whose contemporary paintings of racehorses were a big hit at a recent show. The curtains are homemade, of course, with Schumacher fabric she found for £9 a metre, a substantial cut from the RRP of £200 per metre.
Upstairs, she has redecorated the children’s rooms and made fabric headboards and rugs. The house bathroom walls and the bath have been given a new, colourful coat of paint and she fitted her storage room out with old laundry shelves. They house her collection of textiles and other items she can’t bear to throw away.
“I’m a hoarder and I am very sentimental about keeping things so those shelves come in very useful,” she says.
Some of the furniture, donated by their families, also has sentimental value. The velvet Chesterfield sofas belonged to Ben’s parents and Bertie’s bed belonged to his great grandfather. The accessories are mostly vintage buys. The Anglepoise lamp was from a reclamation yard near Georgie’s mother’s home in Taunton and she has a treasure trove of items from her favourite shopping haunt: The Shambles in Malton
It’s where she picks up her crockery and glassware and she has kitchen cupboards bursting with her finds.
“I love shopping at The Shambles. I’ve bought all sorts, including the rug for the hallway and a fabulous bedspread. Vintage pieces seem to suit this house,” says Georgie, who adds: “I feel very lucky to live here. It’s a wonderful place with a lovely community.”
Pridden PR and Events, priddenprandevents.com