Moving to the countryside was a real breath of fresh air for Keith Edmundson and his wife after previously living next to a busy main road.
However, it was spotting a curlew with its mottled brown plumage in the garden of this 1930s art deco home that sealed the deal for avid bird-watcher Keith.
He said: “I know it sounds strange, but when I saw the curlew in the garden, I just wanted to live here.
“We had been living near a very busy main road in Sunderland and the noise of the traffic was terrible.
“So when we viewed the house, the peace and quiet and the wildlife was a major draw.”
After 18 years, the period property, which is set back from the road and offers a great deal of privacy, has become a labour of love for the couple who have painstakingly restored it to its former glory.
Keith, who was a builder for 37 years, said: “When we first moved into the property almost every room had been papered in Anaglypta and then painted over many times.
“We worked on it room by room and re-wallpapered it over the years. I also took the original door handles off, and with a bit of work had them looking like new. The flooring was fantastic, it was all oak, so I hired a sander to get it back into shape.”
The house itself is brimming with original detail from its high ceilings to cornicing, decorative fireplaces and even a porthole stained glass window.
“Despite it needing work done, it was still just ‘wow’ when we viewed it,” said Keith.
Highlights of the house include an unusual triangular-shaped red-brick entrance, bright and airy lounge with views over the gardens and cosy sitting room, both have feature fireplaces which add charm and character.
Keith’s favourite room however is the sunny garden room extension. This adjoins the breakfasting kitchen and has French doors leading out on to a patio and the back garden.
He said: “The garden room is just lovely in the winter. I have my armchair in there and my telescope, it’s a bird-watcher’s paradise! There is such a diverse range of birds coming into the garden, from nightjars to owls, hawks to a family of woodpeckers.
“The garden room is definitely the hub of the home and we often invite friends over for a takeaway now and again.”
Other features of the property include four spacious bedrooms, the master with stunning views out over the garden, and a family bathroom.
During the summer months, Keith likes nothing better than pottering about in the gardens.
A twisting pathway leads up to the front of the property with its sunken gardens, bushes, trees and flowering shrubs. Meanwhile, there is a split-level patio and extensive gardens which back on to a small nature reserve and open fields.
“The garden was overgrown and needed a lot of work when we moved in. You could say it was a real labour of love both inside and out, but I do love gardening.
“I’ve planted carnations, clematis and laurel hedging. I also have a ride-on mower to do the lawn of around half an acre,” said Keith.
Commuting isn’t a problem either as Durham city centre is around a 20-minute drive away, while Sunderland is about 35 minutes away. So who would the property most suit and why the move?
Keith said: “The property would be ideal for a family with children due to its privacy and green space, although it is also a great spot for anyone who has dogs as there are great walks nearby and there’s also a nature reserve.
“It could also suit cyclists as Hamsterley Forest is only 15 minutes away. You can see Crook golf course out of the window, it’s only about five minutes away. We are moving to Kent as that’s where my wife’s family live. After 18 years, we just feel the time is right to move on.”
Hadrian Lodge, 1 North Lane, Willington, Crook, County Durham, is for sale through Your Move Chris Stonock estate agents at £450,000, tel: 0191 386 2070.