THE traditional image of a 21-year-old student is digs with pizza boxes, piles of dirty dishes and grime. Chris and Joanne Wilde, however, spent their early 20s in a home that many people aspire to all their lives. Now – both only 27 – they have decided to trade in their city lifestyle and head to the country to start a family.
Chris, a history teacher, told homemaker they were able to secure the dream property in Lanesborough Court, Gosforth, after cashing in on the shares he had in the once-family business – Regal Sunderland Greyhound Stadium, now Tetley’s Sunderland Stadium.
As students he and partner Joanne, a primary school teacher, looked at the homes being developed from the Grade II Listed former 18th Century St Nicholas Hospital. They fell in love with the former governor’s quarters as soon as they took a look at the grand entrance hall – which features an original mosaic and quarry tiled floor and original carved wooden staircase, all under an extravagant skylight.
Chris said: “We bought the property when I was nearly 22. We had gone down to the development when it first started and fell in love with it there and then.”
The ground floor comprises a dining room, separate living room, breakfasting kitchen, utility room, washroom and rear door with access to the courtyard.
Steps lead to the basement room – which Chris and Joanne use as a games room.
The grand staircase leads to the first floor which has two double bedrooms – one with en-suite and another with an ornate stone balcony – a family bathroom and dressing room.
Through an archway is a staircase to the second floor, providing a further bedroom and bathroom.
There is a garden and two allocated car parking spaces behind electronically controlled gates.
Chris said: “Although it is an old building it had new build interior.”
Of course, being a young couple there was one thing that had to be done – converting the basement into a games room.
“Our friends loved it,” says Chris. “There was many a party to be had. ”
Chris said that when the property was being developed an extra staircase was discovered – to two extra rooms that now act as a bedroom and bathroom. In addition to finding extra nooks and crannies there are other benefits of having an older property, says Chris – huge rooms, high ceilings and thick walls.
“It is quite a quirky property – you just seem to find rooms as you are walking around.”
It is also ideally situated for Chris and Joanne’s many nights on the town: “It’s just 10 minutes into town, 10 minutes into Jesmond – £6 or £7 in a taxi. I have even been known to stumble home from town when the weather is nice.”
Now the pair feel that it’s time to think about their future, and hopefully start a family.
They have fallen in love with another property near Hexham: “There is only so long that you can go out in town every weekend. We have pretty much done ourselves in with it! Basically we are wanting to try country life.”
29 Lanesborough Court is for sale through Rook Matthews Sayer at £715,000, tel: (0191) 284-7999.