When Joan and Allen Telford talk about their characterful family home in the countryside they describe it as ‘The Mission’.
And the stone-built property, which dates back 150 years, has certainly taken them on an exciting journey.
From its humble beginnings as a single-storey, two-bedroom cottage to the grand two-storey, seven-bedroom home it has become, Farm Cottage in Thropton, near Morpeth in Northumberland has proved its flexibility.
The property has even been used as a bed and breakfast by its owners - opening up a potential venture for any future buyers.
Having lived in the house all his life, Allen, now 73, has many happy memories, including the time when he shared his bedroom with his two brothers.
Joan said: “The house has always been in Allen’s family. I was living in Whitley Bay to begin with, and though I used to come to Thropton and Rothbury on day trips as a child, I never imagined that one day I’d end up living here.
“Back then when I first visited the cottage, it was small, hunble and quite quaint. These days we describe the property as ‘The Mission’ because it truly has become a mission of life. We have slowly refurbished it over 30 years.”
After moving in, the first thing Joan did was add a new bedroom.
She said: “We needed another bedroom for my daughter from my previous marriage. The cottage originally had a lean-to kitchen with a concrete roof and the worst thing was that it didn’t have any central heating.
“Allen was a joiner before he retired and he project-managed the redesign of the kitchen, which included fitting bespoke pine units and of course central heating. We went for a very natural theme,” said Joan.
She added: “There was no dining room, so we created one and extended the space so it overlooked the garden. We also altered the structure of the property with an additional entrance hallway at the front which we now use as a snug.”
Accommodation now includes a reception hallway, sitting room, dining room, kitchen utility and seven bedrooms, five of which are en suite. There is also a summerhouse which was designed by Allen.
And despite the home growing in size, Joan has been keen to retain its cosy cottage feel and kept its abundance of period fixtures and fittings.
She said: “I do have a passion for the Victorian era and we wanted to retain the property’s charm and character, so we have gone to great lengths to make use of certain features.
“There is an exposed stone wall in the dining room, while the rest of it has rich, dark plum, mauve and cream wallpaper. It certainly adds warmth to the room.
“The wallpaper was imported from Canada after we spotted it one day in a shop in Morpeth.”
The property itself has thick stone walls and wooden beams to the ceiling adding to its character.
Joan and Allen who have been married for 37 years, have added their own touches too with Victorian mirrors, chandeliers and wall lights. The piece de resistance is a Florence Nightingale-inspired stove.”
Joan said: “I think the property’s selling point is the fact that it has quirky little corridors, it’s not just a rectangualr shoe-box style home like many are today.
“While the property has a village feel, it is also easy to commute. It takes 40 minutes to get to Newcastle, 20 minutes to get to Almnwick and around 25 minutes to reach Morpeth.
“There are also a range of excellent places to eat and drink in the local area. We occasionally go to The Three Wheat Heads Inn, while there’s also the Cross Keys pub.”
So why move?
Joan, who has two children, Caroline, 42, and Steven, 35, added: “Both of the children have flown the nest now and though they still live in the North East, they have careers and don’t want a village lifestyle any more.
“We are a little sad to be moving, but we are now looking to downsize with the prospect of some travel in Europe. Although we want to stay in the local area, we are now looking for a property that has already been refurbished and one that is more modern.
“The cottage would ideally suit a family and there is certainly potential for anyone who has live-in relatives. There is also around a quarter of an acre of green space in the form of gardens.”
Farm Cottage, Thropton, Morpeth is being sold at Pattinson’s auction on December 23 at the Falcons Rugby Club in Kingston Park, at a starting bid of £320,000, tel: 01670 568099.