Tony and Lori Handley moved to Knaresborough in September, 2007 with the original idea of opening an art gallery with artists residences at the Royal Oak.
Instead their time in the town saw them establish a self catering holiday cottage business, alongside extensive work to promote the town - Including their colourful displays.
Now 11 years on they plan to move to a new home near Morpeth, Northumberland in July, with hopes to establish a gallery, complete with a studio for the public to watch artists at work.
Looking back over their time in the town, including serving as Mayor and Mayoress of Knaresborough in 2014 Tony said: “The time we have spent here in Knaresborough has been fantastic, it is a lovely place and our year as Mayor and Mayoress was amazing. “Lori and I have been together for 11 years, and when we first bought the place we wanted to have it as an art gallery, with the cottages for artist’s residences. “We even got to the point with the Art Council where we had ticked all of their boxes to do it.” He added “I think everything has been down to fate, with us now able to go to Northumberland. By coming here and doing this first we are in a position where we are able to do something we always wanted to try. “I am convinced there is someone up there looking out for us.”
The couple say they have already settled on a name to mark their years of work towards this project, Catchee Monkey, from the old expression meaning don’t flurry, patience gains the day.
Originally decorated with red spots for the Grand Depart in 2014, the house has also seen red hearts to mark Valentines Day. As they look forward it is hoped that the new owners will continue the tradition at Spotty House.Tony said: “I am sure they will love to carry it on, it is relatively easy to do. You just need a ladder and some artistic direction.I think it might be something they do once they are involved in the scene.”
The four-bedroom house, along with two holiday cottages, has been on the market since November 2016. After the couple decided to sell the house independently online earlier this year they attracted four offers, within three weeks.
After more than a decade the move will also mark another long term goal for the couple, Lori reminded Tony.A home by the seaside.