Lancashire Interiors - a peek inside a stunning new house in the Scorton countryside
PUBLISHED: 18:26 06 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:42 20 February 2013
We take a look inside a stunning new house in the Scorton countryside where the only neighbours are cows and deer. Amanda Griffiths reports
Ask John Bullen to describe the hardest part of building their beautiful home and the retired landscape gardener just smiles. Is it with pleasure or pain? He and his wife, Wendy, have been living in this stunning oak-framed house for three and a half years.
The previous 13 months were not so idyllic, spent in a caravan while they project managed the build. With the passing of time it seems sources of stress have been mostly forgotten. John continues to smile and tells me the only hassles were dropping a mullion in the driveway after transporting from Rochdale. Oh, and having to make decisions on six bathrooms in one day.
Their adventure started when their son, Michael, was out walking. He saw this derelict barn and farmhouse with two caravans falling to bits, says John. I was ready for a project, it was something Id always wanted to do, but the whole family came together with ideas. I made a model of how it would look, which I think helped with the planning process because this is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The building hadnt been lived in for 30 years or more, so they basically knocked it down and start again. But we made sure we built on the footprint of the previous buildings and re-used stone and materials from the site wherever possible.
Examples of this include the magnificent fire in the downstairs lounge, nicknamed the summer lounge which was built from stone from the site. Theres also a lounge upstairs, with an open air balcony the couple use the majority of the time, with a cleverly concealed dumb waiter made by John from an old garage door - perfect for ferrying a gin and tonic from kitchen.
Flags from the old farmhouse kitchen floor have been reused as window sills in the bedroom and one of the bedrooms upstairs features a stunning stone wall lit by the reflection of the light showcasing the mirror hanging on it. The wall is the original outside wall of the old farmhouse, says Wendy, as she shows me around. We decided to light it like that to make a feature of it.
The large open plan kitchen and snug was once the farmhouse in total, the dining area an extension to the old house. The rest of the property, five bedrooms and that summer lounge with mezzanine above, sits in the renovated barn.
Because of the special location I just wanted to create something different, says John. Weve got a 360 degree view of the countryside, but you cant see a neighbour, just cows and deer.
You should have seen it when it snowed, you just saw the weather close in and swallow everything up before passing and leaving bright blue skies in its wake. It was stunning.
The building uses a green oak frame, put up in just 11 days and chosen because of its natural silver appearance and low maintenance. Its how The Oak House got its name. Everything from the frame to the front door, made by John from an old tree he cut down 20 years ago, is oak.
The windows are self cleaning, and the grounds have been designed to just need mowing, albeit in three hours!
Says Wendy: It was a bit of a shock going from cleaning the caravan to this place - Ive got six toilets to clean now! We designed the dcor to work with our furniture from our old house but also to work with a more contemporary style.
The bathrooms are all contemporary Villeroy and Boch fittings and modern dark tiles. That was what was stressful we had to find tiles and fittings for six bathrooms in just one day!
One of the most striking bathrooms features a sunken bath. John was adamant he wanted a sunken bath, laughs Wendy. The hole started off a lot bigger but gradually got filled in. I was concerned how wed get out of it, I had visions of some sort of hoist, but actually you just step right out.
A cast iron roll top bath also sits on the tiled floor of the en suite master bedroom which again has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the hills. An impressive, sparkling chandelier hangs above.
The house is what I call future proof, says John. Its got a high tech sound system and you can do things like run a bath or close the curtains all from your mobile. We dont know how to use it, but the technology to do so is all there, thanks to our other son, Richard.