This handbuilt holiday home has been built to last, after its owners decided to create a timber lodge to their exacting specifications.
Timber lodges are now a familiar sight in the rural landscape and for good reason.
They make the perfect holiday retreat and provide a complete change from bricks and mortar while allowing us to play Little House on the Prairie.
These rustic buildings vary in quality and design, which is why, after extensive research, John Flinn and Steve Wilkinson decided to design and construct their own.
The result is a luxurious handmade holiday let, which screams “attention to detail”. Everything from the orientation and layout to the interiors and usability has been carefully considered.
“We did a lot of research and looked at what was on the market before we made a decision and we almost bought a Latvian log cabin but realised they didn’t conform to British building regulations. That’s when we decided to do our own,” says John.
The project began when John, a landscape architect with a degree in furniture design, and Steve, a surveyor, bought a farmhouse, barn and adjoining land in the beautiful Washburn Valley five years ago.
Both seasoned renovators, they were captivated by the rural location, which is close to both Harrogate and Otley. It offers a diverse landscape of moorland, grassland and woodland that provides habitat for a rich variety of flora and fauna. Less well known than the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales, it is more tranquil.
The idea was to renovate the farmhouse for Steve and his family and turn the barn into a HQ for Steve’s architectural and surveying practice, Dryden Wilkinson. The potential for two timber lodges was also apparent but was dependent on getting the go-ahead from the local authority.
“We had to get bat and newt surveys and we used planning consultants to advise us as neighbours had concerns. Nothing had been built in the valley for a long time and there are only two roads in and out of the area. That’s why it is so quiet so we completely understood the worries,” says John.
The application got unanimous approval thanks in part to the council’s aim to encourage tourism.
The base for the first lodge was laid at the end of 2016 and construction began in spring last year. It took a year to complete and most of the work was done by a joiner.
The timber frame is clad with Siberian larch and packed with insulation. It is topped with a reconstructed stone, which fits in with the barn and farmhouse roofs.
“It wasn’t the cheapest option. An off-the-peg lodge would’ve cost about £50,000. This has cost well over double that but it has been worth the expense. This lodge is built to last,” says John, who took charge of the layout and interiors using his architectural skills and his design degree to great effect. Both he and Steve project managed the build and John’s wife Hannah and Steve’s wife Sandra also got involved with the project. They helped source some of furniture and accessories and made curtains and blinds.
“The budget for the interior fit-out was £30,000 so we hit the sales and spent £20,000,” says John.
The property now has an open plan living space with three floor-to ceiling, aluminium windows and a glazed door from Warmcore, which deliver natural light and exceptional views.
The flooring is engineered oak and there’s a cosy wood-burning stove. The kitchen units are from Howdens and are topped with a Carrara quartz worktop from Omega Stone.
John made the kitchen shelves with oak and the dining table and chairs are from Barker and Stonehouse. The leather sofas from John Lewis were a sale bargain.
“We really wanted to get the furniture right as comfort really matters so we invested in quality and we went for leather sofas so that guests don’t have to worry about spilling or marking then,” says John.
To add a homely feel, there are plants and plenty of soft furnishings, including sheepskins, throws and cushions.
The artwork is a mix of vintage prints, along with originals by artist artist Rebekah Burgess and printmaker James Green.
There’s also a custom-made print of an Ordnance Survey map with Norwood at its heart.
The ground floor also has a shower room, two bedrooms and a clever double-height entrance with stairs by Holme Valley Joinery and a feature light from Robinsons Lighting in Knaresborough.
On the first floor is an enormous master suite with a decked balcony, a large bathroom and a laundry room.
“We could have got another bedroom up there but we didn’t want to encourage large groups of people to use the lodge, so we made one large master suite with a balcony instead. That balcony is the star of the show. Sitting out there and looking at the view is wonderful,” says John, who had a Scandinavian look and a relaxed, restrained palette in mind when he planned the interior.
Outside, there is a decked verandah with a hot tub.
The second lodge is for sale off-plan for holiday use with a price of £399,950, and John and Steve will build it to the buyer’s specification.
“We really enjoyed this project. It was hard work but we are all delighted by the way it looks,” says John.
White Willow Lodge, Washbun Valley, holiday let, visit www.www.gorgeouscottages.com/property/white-willow-lodge/
For details of the lodge for sale, which is £399,950, contact Walker Smale, tel: 0113 284 3048, www.walker-smale.co.uk
Artist Rebekah Burgess, www.rebekahburgess.bigcartel.com
Printmaker James Green, www.jamesgreenprintworks.blogspot.com
Omega Stone, Leeds, www.omegastone.co.uk
Robinson Lighting, Knaresborough, www.robinsonlighting.co.uk
Holme Valley Joinery, www.holmevalleyjoinery.co.uk
Barker and Stonehouse, ww.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
Howdens kitchens, www.howdens.com
Watermark, York, bathrooms, www.watermarkplumbing.co.uk
Boundary Mill, Colne, for rugs and cushions, www.boundarymill.co.uk