<< Back to Home & Style, March 2014

One for the Ages

  • Mairi Beautyman

When a 200-acre parcel in North Yorkshire, ­England, came up for sale, a local couple in their early 40s jumped at the chance to own a piece of history. The couple, fashion entrepreneurs with a penchant for minimalism, recognized a unique opportunity to combine their contemporary tastes with structures that included a 400-year-old barn and a roughly 250-year-old manor house that is listed as a Grade II historic building by the British government’s English Heritage commission. Carving out a home for themselves and their three young children, however, proved no easy feat.

Link to the Past

The Herculean project of renovating the estate was already one year under way when friends of the owners recommended Fiona Barratt-Campbell, the founder of the design firm Fiona Barratt Interiors. The designer, who was retained for both the interior and the completion of the architecture, says that before the project started, the house “hadn’t been touched since the 1940s.” She quickly determined that preserving the past—and the property’s Grade II historic status—was critical to the master plan. “It was that bad—a one-lightbulb-in-each-room situation.”

Barratt-Campbell, who recently debuted a furniture line and a London boutique called FBC London, spent two years on the construction and interiors before completing the estate in 2010. The finished property’s various structures—the original home, a contemporary glass-and-steel addition, and the historic barn—now total 24,000 square feet of interior space.

The main home is “mostly Georgian,” Barratt-Campbell says, but also incorporates various Tudor and Victorian design elements. The stone house features a spruced-up facade and a walled terrace on the outside, and five bedrooms and separate cinema, dining, reading, television, and living areas inside.

The 4,000-square-foot addition incorporates a small stone house where resident monks once brewed beer. This new space adds an industrial-size kitchen, a dining area, a bedroom, a floating mezzanine with a living area, and a 200-foot-long enclosed walkway with poured concrete floors and steel columns. The walkway opens to the home’s new main entrance and connects to the 10,000-square-foot barn, where, instead of livestock, Barratt-Campbell added a 1,400-square-foot indoor pool, a pool lounge, a small kitchen, changing areas, a gym, and a bar.

Ties That Bind

Like the architecture, the interior melds past and present, with a mix of ample furnishings framed by neutral walls and polished-concrete or stained-oak floors. “With such a big house, a lot of the furnishings are also just huge,” Barratt-Campbell notes.

Sourced from Northumberland, railroad ties are prolific, used for the table and benches in the stone courtyard, the addition’s coffee table, and its more formal dining table, all of which were custom made in the north of England. “I’m from the north of England and very proud of Northerners,” Barratt-Campbell says, “so I like to promote industry there.”

In addition to two 6-foot-long custom blackened-steel pendent lanterns and leather bucket seating, the formal dining area includes an 11-foot-tall painting of one of the client’s thumbprints, produced in text phrases. A more casual dining area is located adjacent to the addition’s kitchen and features a deep-grained oak veneer oval table, leather bucket seating, and an LED pendent light from Refer + Staer.

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