homemaker featured property - 27 July 2013

This old stone home thought to have been built around 1820 is packed with unusual features and gardens of about a third of an acre


Patricia Simpson has worked tirelessly to transform this former post office and village store in the countryside into a comfortable family home.

The mother-of-two has lived in the four-bedroom property in Colwell, Northumberland, since 1984 and has renovated it throughout, in keeping with its period charm and character.

The old stone home, thought to have been built around 1820, certainly captures the imagination with its unusual features, as well as gardens of about a third of an acre.

Patricia said: “I think I recognised the property's potential as soon as I saw it, it just had a lovely feel to it. “Despite it being overgrown with weeds, there was just something about it. It needed a lot of work as it hadn't had any done since the 1950s, but I was up for a challenge.”

Patricia, who lives with her daughter, Kate, 23, set to work exposing all of the property's period features, which include stone fireplaces and beamed ceilings.

She said: “The fireplaces had been boarded over, so it was quite exciting giving them a new lease of life again.

“The first of two phases of renovation work took a few months to complete, but we've done pretty much everything over the years.

“I also got to learn about its history from an old lady who used to live nearby. She actually worked in the store, so she came around when we moved in.”

The sitting room is decorated in warm tones and features exposed timber panel style doors and a sash-style window overlooking the front garden. There is also a striking Inglenook fireplace with sandstone surround and quarry tile hearth.

“I'd say the sitting room and dining room are probably my favourite rooms to unwind in,” said Patricia.

Other highlights include a grand formal dining room, study off the sitting room, which could be used as a home office, reading room, children's playroom or even a guest bedroom.

There is also a family room at the back of the property with its open-style archway to the dining kitchen. This informal lounge offers a warm and welcoming space for families and entertaining with its vibrant red walls accentuating the exposed sandstone feature wall which faces the garden.

The dining kitchen has an enamel-finish Aga with twin hot plates and two ovens resting within a traditional chimney breast.

The property's stunning countryside location was all part of the attraction for Patricia.

“It was always my intention to live in a countryside setting, away from it all, so the house was just perfect. It's just such a peaceful location with its beautiful views, ” said Patricia.

The Old Post Office has impressive gardens with mature shrubs, evergreen trees and a paved patio terrace overlooking the village green.

The village of Colwell has good transport links to Hexham, the A69, Rothbury and Newcastle International Airport.

There is also an excellent neighbourhood in the heart of Hadrian's Wall country with unspoilt walks and award-winning restaurants.

Patricia, a solicitor by profession, said: “In nearby Barrasford, there's the Barrasford Arms restaurant, while Tollerton First School has an outstanding report, so it's great for anyone with young children.

“It's only about a 20-minute drive to Newcastle, while it's about 10 minutes to Corbridge and 15 minutes to Hexham.”

Despite being a little sad to be moving, Patricia recognises the need to downsize.

She said: “I am sad about moving, but my son Edward, 27, is now living away and my daughter will probably move, so there'll just be me. I do plan to stay in the area though.”

The Old Post Office, Colwell, Northumberland is for sale at £525,000 through Fine & Country estate agents, tel: 0191 244 9536.


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