Newly-weds Fiona Ellis and Cinzia Hardy will be starting married life in a barn conversion in the Northumbrian countryside near Hartburn, but will be sad to say goodbye to their current home, just six miles down the road in Whalton.
They have lived in the double-fronted Victorian home since summer 1998 and consider themselves lucky to have chanced upon the conservation village near Morpeth.
“We moved up from London and didn’t know the village at all,” said Fiona, “but we’ve come to know it and really love it. We looked at lots of places and this was, I think, the first one we actually saw.
“We liked it from the start but you can’t buy the first house you see, so you look at lots of other houses and find yourself coming back to the first one you saw.
“It’s a very pretty house. For me it’s beautifully-proportioned and has a really lovely aspect. It has really gracious-sized rooms – I don’t know how an estate agent would describe them but that’s what I think anyway – and plenty of room.
“We’re in a conservation village which means the outside look of the place has to be preserved but that’s what we like about it.”
Brunswick House is in the centre of Whalton. It is a stone-built period property with original features including door handles and doors. “We’ve got a lovely fireplace which isn’t original but looks like it is,” said Fiona, who works as a director for a charitable trust. “It was put in by the people before us, so the downstairs in particular looks as though it is a period home.”
The fireplace is an ornate cast-iron edifice in the dining room, which also has fitted cherry veneer bookcases, picture rail and wooden floors, as does the spacious sitting room.
This room, again with a fitted bookcase, is warmed by a woodburning stove, one of the improvements undertaken by Fiona and Cinzia, a director of the Morpeth-based November Club theatre company.
Other refurbishments they undertook include the breakfasting kitchen. Fiona said: “We love our kitchen, we will miss this room – it’s a good entertaining kitchen, we’ve had many parties there. I think the kitchen and the drawing room are probably the main selling points because the drawing room is very warm and attractive.”
Double glazing, with windows to match the style of Brunswick House, was also installed by the couple. The property has five bedrooms, the master en suite, and a bathroom. There is a south-facing front garden with wrought-iron gate and steps to the front door.
The back garden includes two greenhouses next to the detached garage and is on two levels. “It breaks it up for the eye,” said Fiona. “There’s a nice bit to play on and a bit for grown-ups and a bit of vegetable patch as well. The gardens are very nicely laid out.”
Fiona and Cinzia were able to discover a little bit about the history of Brunswick House from a couple of Whalton residents.
“When we first came, there were two old ladies living directly opposite who were sisters,” said Fiona. “It turned out that their uncle had built the house at the turn of the previous century, about 1900. In fact, we got an email once from some people who said they had been born and brought up in the house and they would like to come and see it.
“I think it was a girl and two of her brothers who arrived and they recognised things that had changed since they lived there. They recognised some of the internal door handles, which was quite funny. Other people, not us, had extended out the back so it was slightly larger than our visitors remembered.
“We’re very fond of the house, we’ve come to love it quite a lot, we love our woodburning stove. There’s a nice feeling in the house, it feels warm, a house where you can have a good time and be happy.”
- Brunswick House, Whalton, Northumberland, is for sale at £500.000 through Rook Matthews Sayer, tel: 01661 860228.