homemaker featured property - 11 January 2014

From humble beginnings as a two-bedroom cottage, Coppy Lodge became a seven-bedroom guest-house and is now a family home


If the walls could talk, this home would have interesting tales to tell.

From its humble beginnings as a small, rustic two-bedroom cottage, to its time as a seven-bedroom guest-house in the 1980s, Coppy Lodge has seen many changes and has been home for Caroline and Martin Birchall’s home for the past three years.

Having lived in nearby Chester-le-Street for the best part of 13 years, the couple decided to up sticks and move to a property with a more countryside feel. And stone-built Coppy Lodge certainly ticked all the right boxes when they saw it.

Martin explained: “When we saw the property for the first time we fell in love with it. It was very different from our previous home with its countryside setting and I think that was part of the appeal.

“Our previous home was a detached 1940s home on a main road in Chester-le-Street. We wanted to escape the hustle and bustle, but at the same time, be within easy reach of amenities.”

Martin and Caroline, both 44, work in corporate sales for a North East vehicle dealership and made major changes to their now five-bedroom home. They have renovated it, put in a revamped central heating system, new kitchen and renewed pipework. They have also added cosmetic touches.

“It took around three months to complete the work and during that time we lived in a rental property,” said Martin.

The breakfasting kitchen, with its white units, spotlights and black granite-effect worktops is the piece de resistance to this large home.

The property is within the rural setting of Beamish Park, on the edge of Beamish woods.

With a grand central spindle staircase, spotlights throughout and neutral magnolia decor, the property offers a mix of modern and contemporary.

There is extensive living space with two lounges. The main lounge - which once boasted a full-size snooker table - is flooded with light from the galleried landing above. The second smaller lounge, meanwhile, is among Caroline’s favourite spaces.

Martin said: “We like nothing more than curling up in front of the open fire in the second lounge during the winter with a glass of mulled wine. In fact, that’s exactly how we spent this winter – in front of a roaring coal and log fire.”

Martin rates the master bedroom among his favourite spaces.

“It’s just such a spacious room and the en suite bathroom is great. There is currently a dressing room, but it could be turned back into another bedroom with ease.

“I suppose one of the property’s selling points is the fact that all five bedrooms all have en suites, due to the fact it was once a guest house. It also has its own bar.”

And space aplenty, the property certainly lends itself to entertaining.

Martin said: “The house can accommodate up to 80 people with ease, so it’s the perfect entertaining space for parties.”

As lovers of the great outdoors, come sun or snow, both Martin and Caroline enjoy nothing more than heading off into the countryside. And with an endless supply of forest walks and Beamish Museum close by, the property could prove a perfect base for a family, said Martin, who has two daughters, Elle, 13 and Tara, nine.

He added: “We often head out on our mountain bikes in the summer, while in the winter, it’s great for the girls who can go sledging.

“As well as plenty of green space, we also have some good restaraunts nearby such as The Black Horse and Beamish Hall and the golf course
is within easy walking distance
too. There’s also Beamish open air museum.”

The freehold property has a good-sized garden to the side and back and also patio areas. There is a large block-paved driveway to the side too, which provides extensive off-street parking for multiple vehicles.

Martin said: “We would ideally like to have a property with some additional land as we are thinking about building another home. It would be great to be able to stay in the area, although we are not tied and would consider the surrounding areas too if the right opportunity came up.

“Far from being sad about moving, we see it as taking on a fresh challenge and it’s quite exciting.”

:: Coppy Lodge, Beamish, County Durham, is for sale through Your Move Premier at £435,000, tel: 0191 388 2129.

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