When animal physiotherapist Frankie Bickerdike and husband Jack bought their home, a 19th-century detached property with five bedrooms and three bathrooms located in a village outside historic York in northern England, back in May 2018, it had been empty for three years, and there was a lot of damp.
The interior of the new house was taken right back to the bare brick, while the couple considered the new layout. They decided they wanted a large open-plan space downstairs with a big farmhouse-style kitchen, leading into a living room with comfy couches and a stove.
Their preferred layout meant big changes to the original footprint and the former garage attached to the house became the new kitchen.
‘It had such character with a beautiful high ceiling and beams, and we knew that we needed to make it the hub of the home – the large window in the kitchen actually used to be the garage door,’ says Frankie.
An addition with a conservatory was also knocked down to put in a pergola and outdoor kitchen at the back of the house. ‘We wouldn’t have used the conservatory so this was much more practical for us as we love to entertain,’ adds Frankie.
A homey feel was very important to the couple, and with three dogs, practicality was high on the agenda too. ‘The dogs are more or less allowed to go where they like downstairs, so wooden flooring was a must in the new open-plan space, and the rest of the rooms are tiled. Upstairs, it’s carpeted for a softer feel. I’d describe my style as modern country and I document everything on my Instagram, @homeatthemoat (opens in new tab).’
The range cooker is one of the few items left in the house that the couple have kept. Unsure about the colour at first, they have now embraced the deep red.
The luxury of a separate space for laundry (above) was a must for Frankie. She used the same units as in the kitchen for a feeling of cohesion.
The open-plan space can be divided by sliding across a large door, which was made bespoke by the joiner on the project.
An original chimney has been renovated and fitted with a woodburning stove.
Checked curtains and a matching throw create a cozy feel.
Panelling behind the bed adds color and personality.
An oversized mirror (below) and vase add drama to the scheme.
A piece of mirrored glass has been cut to fit the entire wall in the bathroom (below), helping to make the room feel more spacious.
Bathroom storage is hidden in the rustic bench that sits adjacent to the bath. The freestanding metal tap was handmade by Jack, while Frankie’s love of nature is showcased in the bird wallpaper.
The panelling throughout the house looks like it’s always been there but was put in by the couple to add character.
The land wraps around the house so there’s plenty of space for the three dogs. Being close to nature has been a big bonus of the house.
‘We get everything on the pond, from moorhens to ducks and herons. Bodhi our cocker spaniel sometimes tries to chase them but he never catches them. We get fantastic sunsets here too. The house and garden are lovely all year round and there’s always something to look at. We love it here and I can’t see us moving any time soon.’
Lola Houlton is H&G's long-term intern. Currently student of Psychology at the University of Sussex, she began writing content for Real Homes around the subjects of children's and teenagers' bedroom, in particular covering the psychology of teens and their approach to tidiness. From there, Lola expanded her knowledge of a broad range of subjects and now writes about everything from organization through to house plants while continuing her studies.
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