Andrew and Lucy renovated the property as a single project, which Lucy managed by traveling from their home near York, with baby Iona, on a regular 80-mile round trip. ‘It was quite a feat,’ said Andrew. ‘She would feed Iona in the back of the car and then organise 10 builders to move a wall.’
The building was in a poor state of neglect. It hadn’t been touched for decades and wood chip wallpaper seemed to be literally holding the plaster in place on the walls. All the internal hardwood doors needed to come out, the windows were virtually rotten and the floors were stuck with lino.
Andrew and Lucy initially stripped the property back to a shell, hiring a farm labourer and his uncle to work on site. They demolished the interior with sledge hammers and removed all the rubbish – which had to be barrowed along a narrow path and up a set of steep steps – in the back of a transit van. ‘It was the biggest vehicle we could get up the narrow road to the back of the house,’ said Andrew. Rubble from an outside bathroom, which was also knocked down, was taken off-site in similar fashion and a decked area pulled apart because it was rotten.
With the building open and bare, apart from the load bearing walls, Andrew and Lucy could begin to rebuild the property in a way which made the most of its prominent cliff-side position and glorious views. They knew that by rebuilding most of the internal walls they could create the three individual properties they wanted, and still meet the planners’ approval.
‘It took about eight months to get planning permission, but during that time we were doing all the demolition work so it tied in quite well,’ said Andrew. ‘I have to say that the planners in the North York Moors National Park Authority were fantastic. They could see that we were going to transform the place for the better.’
The lowest levels were tanked but the section reserved for Andrew and Lucy’s own use incorporates two former bedrooms knocked into one large living area. An outside balcony was also incorporated into this open plan room and Argon-filled double glazed to create a south-facing, all-year-round sun-trap.