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The Sunday Times Home - 17 December 2017

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December 17, 2017
IT’S BLING
UP NORTH
THE HARROGATE
PENTHOUSES ON SALE
FOR £12M
10
Travel
INSIDE
Pet à porter
Perfect Christmas presents for dogs and cats 7
2 December 17, 2017 The Sunday Times
£395,000
19
%
NORFOLK
£1M
On the site of a medieval
castle where Elizabeth I
spent part of her childhood,
eight-bedroom Shelton Hall
is in Shelton, between
Norwich and Diss. Built in the
17th century, the moated
house has 6,000 sq ft of
living space, including a
library, a games room and an
open-plan kitchen/breakfast
room/living space, warmed
by an Aga and a woodburner.
The price was reduced in
October by £150,000 —
and the buyer will now get
20 acres, rather than five.
01284 769999,
bedfords.co.uk
13
%
NORTH
YORKSHIRE
Perfect for a downsizer — or
perhaps just anyone with
delusions of grandeur —
a two-bedroom apartment
in stately Gargrave House,
five miles from Skipton,
was reduced from £495,000
in two stages over the
summer. On the edge of the
Yorkshire Dales National
Park, the house was built in
1917 and is surrounded by
five acres of communal
parkland. Trains from
handy Gargrave station will
take you to Leeds in less
than an hour.
01423 523423,
carterjonas.co.uk
DO
WN
BY
£895,000
20
%
KENT
DO
WN
BY
MAKING
MOVES
Put on the market in the
spring for £1.1m and reduced
to its current price in
October, semi-rural Bramble
Farm House is in the village
of Wye, a half-hour drive
from Canterbury. It has all
the hallmarks of a historic
farmhouse — there’s
exposed timber framing
and brickwork, as well as
fireplaces — but was bought
in a near-derelict state by
the vendors. They have
transformed it into a
rustically chic home with
four bedrooms, two
bathrooms and calming
countryside views.
01227 473707,
struttandparker.com
DO
WN
BY
Home
CURRENCY SERVICES
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to family abroad?
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The Sunday Times December 17, 2017 3
£2.5M
TIMES +
Subscribers can
join us in York on
February 3 for a
masterclass with Tim
Moorey, crossword
setter for The Times
and The Sunday
Times. Book at
mytimesplus.co.uk
VICKI COUCHMAN; ALEX HOLLAND
LONDON SW1
As the driving force behind
the interior design firm
Taylor Howes, Karen Howes
is used to handling £20m
budgets for the glitterati’s
London crash pads, country
estates and yachts. In her
907 sq ft raised-ground-floor
flat, part of a row of grade II
listed white stuccoed
townhouses off Sloane
Street, she came up with
bespoke solutions to make
the most of the small but
high-ceilinged spaces. The
two-bedder has pale stone
floors, lacquer doors and the
ultimate in girlie handbag
and heel displays.
020 7235 9959,
struttandparker.com
INSIDE THIS WEEK
North Yorkshire’s
priciest pads
10
Reinventing the
bunk bed
12
Raymond Briggs:
where I’ll be hiding
from Christmas
18
PLUS Home Help 4
Going Places 8 Overseas 14
WE WANT... PEACE AND QUIET THIS CHRISTMAS
£450,000
DENBIGHSHIRE
Nant y Ne Cottage, outside
Ruthin, takes its name from
the mountain stream that
supplies it with fresh water.
One of a handful of properties
on the slopes of Moel Famau,
it has two bedrooms and a
separate glass and cedar
eco-studio — the perfect
spot for stargazing on a
clear night.
01244 328361,
jackson-stops.co.uk
£3.75M
HIGHLANDS
Glenborrodale Castle lords it
over the southern shore of the
Ardnamurchan peninsula, on
the west coast. Built in 1902,
the 16-bedroom baronial pile
is 1hr 40min from Fort William,
and is cut off from neighbours
by 130 acres of land, but
there’s staff accommodation.
It has a boathouse, a jetty and
several islands.
01738 621121,
bellingram.co.uk
£1.95M
GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Three miles from the nearest
A-road, yet only 15 minutes’
drive from Stroud, the
Thatched House occupies
a peaceful hillside spot. An
artist’s studio, a study, a
workshop and a media room
make the two-bedroom
property feel like a home
and a bohemian bolthole at
the same time.
01285 883740,
butlersherborn.co.uk
4 December 17, 2017 The Sunday Times
Roll up a thick
magazine lengthways and tape
it well. Get someone else to roll
the string of lights onto the
magazine as you take them down
from the tree. Repeat the process
in reverse when putting them up
again next year — simple and
efficient, with no frustration.
Edie Westmoreland, Bristol
Wrap them around an old
kitchen roll or wrapping paper
tube when you put them away.
@RoomyHome, via Twitter
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q
My daughter is annoyed
that a bug ate her
dictionary. Do you know
what kind it might be: is this
the proverbial bookworm?
Emily Lakdawalla, Pasadena,
California
A
Bookworm is just the name
given to a woodworm when
it chews through wood pulp
(paper) rather than timber. The
“worm” is actually the larval
stage, which is when it does the
eating, burrowing a winding
tunnel, 1mm–2 mm in diameter,
through the pages; the adult is
a small cylindrical beetle.
The usual culprits are the
domestic woodworm (Anobium
punctatum) and similar species.
The biscuit beetle (Stegobium
paniceum) and the cigarette
beetle (Lasioderma serricorne)
will also take a break from custard
creams and tobacco to have a go.
Book-boring beetles are
rather infrequent in temperate
zones, but in the tropics, the
list of library destroyers extends
to other species, including the
families Bostrichidae and
Lyctinae.
I am lucky: though I’ve
lived with woodworm in the
skirting boards in several
houses, they have never
attacked my books. I do have
several volumes of The Fauna
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING TIPS
Feeding a crowd this
Christmas? Here’s how much
of each favourite festive food
you’ll need for each guest.
l Turkey If you’re buying a
whole bird, allow about
500g per person, so
your turkey should
weigh at least 4kg to
serve eight.
l Roast potatoes Each
person will get through 250g –
so buy 2kg for eight.
l Stuffing You should allow
100g per person, so that’s
800g for eight people.
l Sprouts Serve 80g per
person, or 650g for eight.
l Carrots and other roast
vegetables Each portion
should be 80g-100g, so
go for a generous 800g for
eight people.
l Gravy A litre should be
enough for eight (125ml per
person) — but if your family are
real gravy fans, you’re going to
need a bigger boat.
l Cranberry sauce You
need 50g per person –
that’s 400g for eight.
(If you’re making your
own, a 300g pack of
cranberries should suffice.)
l Bread sauce We
recommend 75ml-100ml
per serving, so 800ml to
serve eight should be plenty.
l Christmas pudding A 900g
pudding is enough for eight.
l GHI tip Are you catering for
children, too? For kids aged
5-10, allow roughly two-thirds
of an adult serving.
INGRAM/ALAMY; MIKE KEMP/GETTY IMAGES
HOW DO I KEEP
MY FAIRY
READERS’ LIGHTS
CLINIC TANGLE-FREE?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
AT CHRISTMAS
HOME HELP
Home Experts
of British India (1910 and 1912),
bought in secondhand
bookshops, that were probably
tunnelled when they were on
shelves in the subcontinent.
That said, British readers
should not be complacent. The
warming climate has helped
wood-eating termites move
north through Europe: when
they arrived in Paris about 50
years ago, they wrought more
havoc by destroying archived
paperwork, legal documents
and historical documents than
they did eating building timbers.
Fortunately, you appear to
have only one worm. Check
books once a year to guard
against infestation: affected
volumes should be sealed in an
airtight plastic bag (to prevent
condensation) and placed in the
freezer for 2-3 weeks. There are
plenty of proprietary woodworm
treatments that you squirt into
boreholes or paint onto surfaces;
heavy outbreaks, however, need
to be tackled by professionals.
Richard Jones, author of House
Guests, House Pests (Bloomsbury
£9.99); bugmanjones.com
DO YOU NEED HELP FROM
ONE OF OUR EXPERTS?
Email your questions to
homehelp@sunday-times.
co.uk. Advice is given
without responsibility
The Su
Sunday Times December 17, 2017 7
Home Cover
Flip-Flop Yankers
tug toys are
capable of
withstanding
“nearly half a ton
of yanking”.
£20 for two;
studio.co.uk
Protect your couches from muddy paws with padded
sofa toppers from the Lounging Hound. Made to measure,
they come in dirt-resistant wool or velvet and microsuede,
in 20 colours.
From £126; thelounginghound.com
Pawsecco is the
most talked-about
Christmas launch
for pets: it’s an
alcohol-free blend
of elderflower,
nettle, ginseng
and limeflower.
£3 for 250ml;
ocado.com
Here’s a dog bed
humans will love
to live with. The
pillow bed, in
grey tweed with
olive-green velvet
pompoms, comes
in two sizes.
From £79.50;
muttsand
hounds.co.uk
SANTA
PAWS
MATTHEW FRIED; COLIN SMITH
Travel in style with
Love My Dog’s
Ada sofa and bed
protector. The
quilted throw has
a vintage Liberty
print on one side
and cotton
chambray on the
other, edged in
corduroy.
£118;
lovemydog.co.uk
Re-enact that scary
episode of Blue
Planet with your cat,
using a pink knitted
jellyfish on a stick.
It’s from Mungo &
Maud’s range of pet
and human gifts.
£22.50; mungo
andmaud.com
The intense expression is
because the pugs have been
put in charge of elf and safety
this year. Huge responsibility.
I hope it doesn’t spoil their
Christmas. The Rosewood pet
costume is from John Lewis.
From £11; johnlewis.com
Imagine the size of the crochet hook they have
to use to make these. Chunky wool cat beds,
from LoveCatCaves, are available in a variety
of colours and two sizes.
From £56; notonthehighstreet.com
The best Christmas gifts
for discerning pets.
By Katrina Burroughs
Insects are set to bug
out in 2018, so nurture
the wildlife in your
garden with an
Eco Bug Hotel.
Optional features
include a bird box
in the eaves and room
for stag beetles.
From £500;
gardendesignco.co.uk
Available from the Heal’s Christmas Market,
these quirky pet bowls are by Lush Designs.
They’re made from dishwasher-safe stoneware.
£17.50 (cat) and £25.50 (dog);
heals.co.uk, lushlampshades.co.uk
This knitted wool
burger toy is by
Ware of the Dog. The
Fairtrade product is
made by artisans in
Nepal; the range
also includes a hot
dog, a milk carton
and popcorn.
£25;
conranshop.co.uk
Dog costumes:
exploitation or
what the internet
was invented for?
Pop your pet into
this House of
Paws Santa outfit
and discuss.
£13;
petspyjamas.com
T
Entrance your cat with the picture of marine
life on the screen of this flatpack cardboard
laptop. It has a corrugated scratcher for the
keyboard and the mouse is... a toy mouse.
£20; suck.uk.com
ime was when
Christmas was all
about the kids.
Now it would be
terrible petiquette
not to leave something for the
labradoodle under the tree.
If you are visiting friends or
family for the holidays, and
need to think of a house gift,
a Cheshire & Wain catnip
selection box for the felines
of the household will go down
far better than another
poinsettia. So, as dismaying
reports surface that Barbour
canine cologne is already sold
out at John Lewis, the question
Your feline friends will go crazy for this catnip
selection box, which includes three festive toys
and a bonus bag of loose leaves.
£45; cheshireandwain.com
is: what should you buy the
smart cat or dog?
The big stores have seen a
serious uptick in customers
buying pet gifts, and have
responded with inventive
ideas: matching Christmas
jumpers for dog and owner
(Aldi) or Pawsley doggy mince
pies (Sainsbury’s). Debenhams
has sold “nearly 2,000 units”
of Pawsecco, a drink for cats
and dogs, this year.
The fastest-growing area is
fashion, in particular fancy
dress. John Lewis reports that
costume is the pet category
performing best this year,
up 80% on last year and a
pawesome 348% on 2015.
If you want to buy
something pets and humans
will appreciate for Christmases
to come, check out specialists
such as Mungo & Maud, Love
My Dog and Bleak House,
which create designs for the
home in muted colours and
quality fabrics. Bleak House’s
waxed cotton travel bag (£160)
is a handy piece of luggage for
humans, with pockets for
every pet necessity. Precisely
what’s needed for a peaceful
new-year getaway for just the
two of you.
Catissa is a modular wall-mounted cat
climbing tower from Style Tails, with a pine
frame and a choice of cosy faux-fur or
sheepskin cushions.
£470; store.styletails.com
8 December 17, 2017 The Sunday Times
GOING
PLACES
KINGSBRIDGE
COMMISSION AIR/JULIAN EALES/ALAMY
Home
The South Hams hub has a
lively centre, boatie charm —
and lower prices than swanky
Salcombe. By Tim Palmer
Plymouth
5 miles
A379
A381
KINGSBRIDGE
Bantham
South
Milton
Frogmore
South
Huish
Play the fields
Countryside and
river provide
outdoor pursuits,
while Fore Street,
below, has smart
shops and delis
Totnes
12 miles
Chillington
Salcombe
2 miles
Why it’s hot Nearby Salcombe gets all the
attention — as well as some of the most
expensive homes on the British coast —
but if you’re looking for somewhere to
actually live in this part of the lovely South
Hams, Kingsbridge should be it. For a
start, there’s somebody home all year.
With three in four properties believed to
be second homes, Salcombe can be a
wasteland in winter, not to mention
unpleasantly crowded in summer.
Kingsbridge, on the other hand — once the
poor relation, slightly stranded in a time
warp — is now buzzing in every season.
It may only have a muddy estuary,
rather than sandy beaches, but that’s why
the average price of a detached house
here is £450,000, £350,000 less than in
Salcombe, according to the property
portal Rightmove. Kingsbridge also has a
growing roster of smart shops and delis,
a cute little cinema and prosaic but
handy essentials such as supermarkets
and banks. There’s a lively local arts and
sports scene, too — 400 children turn up
every week for junior rugby.
“It’s the up-and-coming town in the
area, and I can see prices rising by 20% to
25% in the next five years,” says Blair
Stewart, a consultant with Strutt & Parker
estate agency.
Why it’s not There’s not much chance of
a quick getaway, in the unlikely event that
you need one. It’s 10 winding miles on
Devon lanes to the A38, which means
you’ll need to allow 50 minutes to reach
Plymouth and nearly an hour for Exeter.
Also, keep an eye on plans for new shops
and homes on the quayside, which have
proved controversial. The council is
having a rethink after locals took against
its original scheme.
Education, education, education
Kingsbridge Community College is an
outstanding secondary academy with a
sixth form. The primary picture is more
mixed: Ofsted says West Alvington and
Kingsbridge Community Primary require
improvement, but nearby Stokenham
Area Primary is judged outstanding and
ranks joint 170th in the Sunday Times
Parent Power guide to state primaries.
VOCAL
LOCAL
This part of Devon
has been in Rob
Mackenzie’s blood
since he was a child.
He was born in Totnes
49 years ago and the
family kept a holiday
home in the area.
Rob, who jointly runs
a tech manufacturing
business, moved back
to Kingsbridge 15 years
ago. He and his wife,
£275,000
Sam, have three
children at local
schools, and he is
thrilled that they are
growing up somewhere
they can enjoy the
outdoor lifestyle.
“We love sailing,
both my sons play
rugby and my
daughter’s a keen
rider,” he says. “I think
children should be
allowed to go out and
play on their bikes,
and it feels safe.
“Here, we spend
our time either
socialising in the pub
or out on the water. It’s
a friendly place, and
the climate means
you want to spend as
much time as possible
outside. The weather
may not look better on
paper, but it certainly
feels better.”
£2.95M
Get connected It’s a 30-minute drive
to Totnes, where you can pick up a train
to London (2hr 50min) or Plymouth
(30min). The nicest way to travel, if you
don’t mind braving the tides, is by boat —
you can be in Salcombe in a leisurely
half-hour’s sail down the estuary. The
beach at Bantham is a 15-minute drive.
Broadband speeds are respectable,
with 76Mbps available in most areas
(though do check if you’re thinking of
buying somewhere rural).
Be seen in If you’re looking for really
good food, make your way to the Lower
Union Road industrial estate, where
you’ll find the HQ of the catering and
events company Wild Artichokes —
co-owned by chef Jane Baxter. It runs
semi-regular dining nights for £35 a
head; bring your own wine and be sure
to book. Otherwise, the Crabshell Inn,
on the quayside, is an attractively sunny,
family-friendly spot for pizza, steak or a
drink, while the Journey’s End, a pub in
Ringmore, towards the coast, does a
cracking Sunday lunch.
Buy in The prime spot is probably Curlew
Drive, just outside town and right on
the estuary, where a detached house
with a bit of land will cost up to £1.5m.
If you don’t need the mooring or the
watery view, allow £500,000 or so for a
good-sized family home.
For something a little more remote,
look at the villages east of Kingsbridge
along the A379 — Frogmore or Chillington,
for example — or head a short way west
to South Milton or South Huish.
Why we love it Heaven in Devon, all
year round.
A COTTAGE IN TOWN...
In the heart of Kingsbridge, near the quayside,
this pretty cottage has a private walled garden,
three double bedrooms and two bathrooms.
It’s being run as a holiday let, but would make an
ideal base for downsizers.
01548 857588, marchandpetit.co.uk
OR A COUNTRY MANOR
Less than two miles from town, grade II* listed
Ranscombe Manor feels worlds away. Described by
Pevsner as a “17th-century house of high quality”, it
has five bedrooms and a two-bed cottage. It’s set in
33 acres, but is also for sale with 10 acres for £1.95m.
01392 455755, savills.co.uk
FIND YOUR
BEST PLACE
Check out our Best Places to
Live 2017 at thesundaytimes.
co.uk/bestplaces. And tell us
where else we should visit
@TheSTHome
10 December 17, 2017 The Sunday Times
H
arrogate has always
been posh. With smarter
shops, faster cars and
longer vowels than other
Yorkshire towns, it’s
where anyone with class and brass in
this part of the world wants to live.
It has handsome Georgian and
Victorian houses, the Stray, a 200-acre
expanse of common land where
Barbour-clad locals walk their
miniature schnoodles, and more
tearooms than you can shake a scone
at. It’s increasingly hip, too, with
residents queuing out the door for a
flat white at Hoxton North cafe, or
heading to the newly opened outpost
of the Ivy for crushed avocado on
gluten-free caraway toast.
According to Richard Jenkings,
senior consultant at the data analyst
Experian, Harrogate is “significantly
more likely to be inhabited by older
people living in detached houses, who
drive premium car brands and go on
several international holidays a year.
They tend to have dogs, rather than
cats, and common names include
Howard and Jane.”
Despite the gentility, old-fashioned
Yorkshire common sense tends to
prevail, along with a fondness for
a quilted gilet. The average property
price in the spa town is £286,859 —
a lot for the region, but a low figure
compared with desirable parts of
southern England. There have only
ever been half a dozen residential
sales in or near Harrogate over £2m
recorded by the Land Registry — the
most expensive of which is believed to
be Swinsty Hall, a grade I listed pile
with six bedrooms and 4½ acres of
land, bought by the England football
manager, Gareth Southgate, for
£3.25m in 2006. Nipping north up
the A1 towards Richmond, you’ll
find a 15-bedroom stately set in 230
acres of parkland that is on the market
for £4m.
Yet a new property development
in the centre of Harrogate will have
locals choking on their currant buns.
Crescent Gardens started life as a
handsome Victorian bathhouse,
where visitors included Princess
(now Queen) Elizabeth and Winston
Churchill (not together). It was turned
into council offices in the 1930s and is
set to become a plush new quarter
with an art gallery, landscaped
gardens, a spa (naturally) and a
restaurant. There will also be 10
exclusive homes, with prices starting
at £2.5m for a two-bedroom, 1,800
sq ft flat. Half of these “residences”
have already been reserved, with two
of the four-bedroom penthouses going
for more than £12m — an astonishing
price for North Yorkshire.
The man behind the wildly
ambitious scheme — set to cost £45m
by the time it is finished in 2020 —
is Adam Thorpe, a local property
developer who has completed 200
residential projects in the area over
the past decade. He fizzes with
excitement when he shows me round
the site, the last of the council staff
still emptying filing cabinets and
picking up paper clips in preparation
for their move to new premises.
The mayor, on her way to an official
function, heavy ceremonial chains
glinting round her neck, pops her
head round the door of the domed,
mahogany-panelled council chamber.
This will shortly be turned into a vast
art gallery, headlined by Damien Hirst.
“We are also talking with other
prominent artists, but we would like
to include up-and-coming young
artists as well — we don’t want
Harrogate’s old oil paintings,” Thorpe
says, gesturing at the space. “We don’t
want it to be an elitist building or to
feel like a place for stuffy old
people who live here. We
want it to be for young
people coming in, seeing
amazing artwork.”
Avant-garde art won’t
be the only thing to
challenge the blue-rinse
brigade. Thorpe hopes to
close the road in front of
the building to create a
landscaped park and a
brasserie-style restaurant
under a huge glass
dome, the shape of
which is inspired by
MARK SUNDERLAND/ALAMY
Home Luxury
A FLAT IN HAR
YOURS FOR
Ten apartments, a cryotherapy spa, an art gallery and 24-hour
The Sunday Times December 17, 2017 11
Yorkshire,
but no grit
How the £45m
Crescent
Gardens
development
will look when
it is completed
in 2020
RROGATE:
R
R £12M
room
r
service? Luxury, says Alexandra Goss
the Rock Crystal Fabergé egg. The
restaurant will offer an all-day
dining menu — “a Wolseley sort of
thing” (a reference to the grand
London eatery). Two new shops will
also be installed, run by Rolex and
Louis Vuitton.
Harrogate is famous for being a spa
town where, for centuries, the rich
and unwell came to take the waters —
believing they could cure everything
from scurvy to epilepsy — and
participate in the place’s vibrant
social life, described by Dickens as
revolving around “dancing,
newspaper reading and dining”.
In a nod to this healthy history,
Thorpe will dig a 16,000 sq ft
“wellness centre” underground.
Like the gallery, this will be open
to the public, with Bamford,
purveyors of pricy toiletries and
sister company of the Daylesford
organic farm shop, set to provide
the products and treatments. These
will include a hammam spa, a sauna
and aromatherapy steam rooms,
as well as a snow chamber and
cryotherapy.
The last of these is a hot (ahem)
trend that involves standing in a
chamber cooled to anything from
–80C to –160C for a couple of minutes.
Apparently, such cold temperatures
stimulate the body’s defensive
reactions, boosting circulation and
kick-starting the immune and central
nervous systems. It may sound
bizarre, but adherents — who include
the Welsh rugby team — claim it can
alleviate a wide range of medical
conditions, including rheumatoid
arthritis, osteoarthritis and back and
neck pain.
“We want to bring wellness into
this century,” Thorpe says when I ask
him what inspired such a gamut of
treatments. “The idea for
cryotherapy came from places in
Palm Beach. Luxury for us is feeling
amazing, and we want people to feel
that at Crescent Gardens — whether
it’s having their feet tickled in the spa
or meeting their friends at the
restaurant. It’s designed to be fun. It’s
not a new-money, polished place.”
‘‘
Service charges
start at £18,000 a
year for the smaller
flats. The average
salary in Harrogate
is £25,600
Whether your money is new money
or old, one thing is for certain: you’ll
need lots of it. Anyone who buys a
Crescent Gardens residence will get a
“car house” — also known as a garage
— with room for at least two vehicles;
one of the priciest units has eight
spaces. All apartments on the first
and second floors will have private
lifts leading directly from the parking
area to the home. The building will
have a bespoke scent developed by
Bamford, and will be staffed by
doormen dressed in caps and
gabardines, “like they have at the Ritz
or the Connaught”, Thorpe says.
There will be housekeeping, a
concierge, 24/7 room service from the
restaurant and a weekly floristry
service, as well as a house manager
who can organise your birthday
party in the art gallery or the
restaurant. All of this — and access to
the gym in the spa — will entail an
annual service charge of between
£18,000 and £20,000 for the smaller
flats and double that for the larger
ones. (The average salary in Harrogate
is £25,600.)
As if that wasn’t enough, buyers
will also benefit from what Thorpe’s
team calls “the curated lifestyle”. This
involves coming along to an “atelier”
on the building site to choose the
fit-out of their flat, sorry, residence —
everything from the wood for the
floors to the fabrics for the curtains,
and whether to opt for honed or
polished marble in the bathroom.
If they so desire, they can travel out
to Italy with Thorpe and his team to
choose exactly which part of the
mountain that marble comes from.
Oh, and buyers will also get use of the
house car — a Bentley Mulsanne. “It’s
a bit like a school trip,” Thorpe says.
“Clients jump in the back of the car
with you and they love it.
“We guide them a lot on where to go
with taste, so we will allow them to put
their personal mark on their home,
but we help them with everything.
Each residence will look different and
be configured exactly as the client
wants it, but there will be a theme,
and the art deco look is strong. All
these people have had the boats, the
planes. Once you’ve had everything,
you’re looking for experiences.”
So who on earth are these people
who will buy into Crescent Gardens?
“They are successful, international
individuals who might have a
Yorkshire connection. If you’re not
in London or the Cotswolds and you
need to be further north, Harrogate’s
the spot,” Thorpe says.
“These are real-estate prices based
on what you can get in Europe. It’s a
bit like the old private banks. We are
not looking for just anybody who
can pay. We are looking for the right
people. It’s going to be quite an
intimate collection of buyers. We are
bringing in the best names so that
Crescent Gardens really shines outside
London. We’re not looking at it being
the best development in Harrogate —
we’re looking at it being a world-class
building and residences.”
The locals may need a little
convincing, however. When I stop
one resident in the freezing street to
ask what he thinks of the plans, he
pauses, sucking through his teeth,
his designer dog yapping loudly.
“Blimey, £12m for a flat?” he exclaims.
“For that price, I’d expect the Mona
Lisa to be hanging in the lobby.”
www.crescentgardens.co.uk. For
sales inquiries, contact Carter Jonas
estate agency in London (020 7299
2448) or Harrogate (01423 707815);
carterjonas.co.uk
A59
A61
CRESCENT GARDENS
Pump Room
Museum
Turkish Baths
Harrogate
Bettys
Valley
Gardens
Waitrose
The Stray
A61
400yd
A1(M)
Yorkshire
Dales National
Park
Knaresborough
HARROGATE
Bradford
Leeds
10 miles
York
12 December 17, 2017 The Sunday Times
Home Living
E
mmanuel
Lumineau has a
very modern family.
The divorced father
of two came out to
his wife several years ago: they
remain good friends, and she
helped him find his rental flat
in the Barbican, a brutalist
residential estate in the City.
Their children, Juliet, 12, and
Tristan, 10, stay with him
for four days a fortnight,
spending the rest of the time
with their mum in west
London. But it’s not only the
domestic arrangements that
are progressive. With help
from his architect friends, the
family have revolutionised the
sleeping arrangements of the
British home by reinventing
the bunk bed.
Necessity was the mother of
invention. When a household
splits up, at least one partner
must usually downsize. This
can raise tension levels when
the children come to stay and
suddenly have to share a room.
Lumineau, 42, told his children
he was gay two years ago,
around the time he moved into
the two-bedroom flat, which is
not far from Shoreditch, where
he runs Brickvest, an online
property investment platform.
Yet for Juliet and Tristan,
settling into their dad’s new
pad wasn’t easy.
The second bedroom is
compact — 13ft by 9ft — and
for the first year everyone
felt cramped. “The room
couldn’t fit another bed, so
Tristan had to stay in my
room,” Lumineau recalls.
“The kids were coming to the
flat reluctantly. They needed
to come joyfully.”
So Lumineau explained
his problem to Omar Ghazal,
whom he met at a gay running
club. Ghazal works for Studio
Ben Allen architects, and
showed him some modular
desk systems the practice had
conceived for a City firm.
Lumineau gave him a design
challenge for the children’s
bedroom: fit two beds, two
desks and storage, while giving
them privacy. In essence, make
two bedrooms out of one.
Studio Ben Allen came up
with a solution that could
help space-starved families
across Britain. Made of birch
plywood, and measuring just
under 9ft square, the bespoke
sleeping station sits in the
middle of the room and
seemingly divides it in half;
it’s a combination of furniture
and architecture. To reach
either bunk, you must cross
a threshold and pass under
separate wooden archways.
Juliet has the top bunk,
entered on the right side. She
walks up staggered wooden
box steps, steps onto a desk,
then clambers up wooden
bookshelves into bed. Once
she’s on the top bunk, the
inside of her bed is separated
from her brother’s part of the
room by a timber wall.
There’s a desk below it, facing
the bed, that seems to be
attached to the joinery, but can
be pulled away from it; the
boxy steps conceal storage and
more bookshelves.
Tristan is on the bottom
bunk, and enters his side
BUNK
ROCKERS
What do you do when you have two kids and
only one spare bedroom? Get creative with beds
that double as room dividers. By Hugh Graham
Doubling up
Emmanuel
Lumineau with
his children,
Tristan and
Juliet. Bespoke
bunk beds have
transformed
his flat at the
Barbican
MICHAEL SINCLAIR; VICKI COUCHMAN
The Sunday Times December 17, 2017 13
through a lower arch on the
left. His bed is separated from
Juliet’s desk by another
wooden wall. At the head of his
bed, a timber panel folds down
to create a desk on the outside.
The sleeping station has
power sockets, so the kids can
plug in their iPads or switch on
their Anglepoise lamps. It’s
made of five pieces that can
easily be reassembled if they
ever move. And, while it looks
structural, in fact none of it
touches the walls or the ceiling.
(The Barbican is a grade II
listed building.)
The architectural motifs —
vaulted archways, pitched roof
shapes — were deliberate. They
pay homage to the estate, and
the arches and windows lend a
sense of enclosure.
“It has created two different
spaces,” Lumineau says. “They
reflect their personalities.
Juliet wanted a lot of light and
a big desk, where she draws a
lot. Tristan wanted cosiness —
a cave where he could be on
his own without too many
questions. He’s into books and
his iPad. They don’t have to
interact with each other.”
Which can be a good thing
when you’re growing up. “I
shared a room as a child,” says
Ben Allen, the founder of the
studio. “You just want to build
a wall between you and your
sibling for privacy. So we used
the bunk beds as a divider.
With a regular bunk, every
time your sibling climbs down,
their feet dangle down, which
can cause friction.”
The children worked closely
with Ghazal, who tapped
into his inner child: “Adults
wouldn’t walk on top of a desk,
but it’s perfect for a kid.” The
studio worked with Top Notch
Joinery. The bespoke approach
isn’t cheap: the fabrication and
installation cost £5,712, and
a similar structure would set
you back about £8,000 once
design fees are factored in. “If
you compare it to an Ikea bunk
bed, it’s more expensive,”
Allen says. “But compared to
moving flat, it’s reasonable.”
It was worth every penny,
Lumineau says, for practical
and emotional reasons. “It was
a big shock for them — first the
divorce, then me coming out,
then me having a boyfriend.
We wanted them to be excited
about having two places, and
to change the dynamic by
having them invest emotionally
in this place. This exercise
allowed them to express what
they wanted. It has made them
excited to come here.”
That’s the official story from
Dad, anyway. What do the
children think? “I like that we
have privacy, and it feels like
two different rooms,” Juliet
says. “It’s better than just
having a bunk bed. I said I
wanted something different
that hadn’t been made before.”
And how about Tristan? “I like
it — it’s cosy and the bed is
comfy.” When his sister is not
there, he invites friends for
sleepovers. “You can still talk
to each other,” he says, even
though the beds are divided.
Certainly, the Lumineau
household looks fun for kids.
On the sunny Sunday morning
when I visited, Dad was making
waffles and preparing for a
children’s party. Juliet and
Tristan were messing around
in their fencing gear (both are
nationally ranked competitors)
and expounding on the joys of
Halloween at the Barbican —
they went trick-or-treating to
100 flats. Lumineau was also
going to take the kids to the
centre’s Jean-Michel Basquiat
exhibition, and to look at some
new Banksy graffiti. A cool
dad, then, in many ways.
“The bedroom was a good
transitioning project,” he
says. “Sometimes we are stuck
in our flats and stuck in our
lives. Doing this and listening
to the children was a good way
for all of us to move forward.”
studiobenallen.com;
topnotchjoinery.co.uk
14 December 17, 2017 The Sunday Times
RURAL
RETREAT
ANDREA PISTOLESI/GETTY IMAGES
Home Overseas
Europe is peppered with abandoned villages
that are ripe for restoration, and British buyers
are bringing them back to life. By Sally Howard
E
urope is on the
move. A recent
report by the
European
Commission found
that the flight of continentals
from the countryside to urban
areas has been accelerating
since the aftermath of the
Second World War. By 2020,
three in four Europeans
(including Britons) will live
in cities, up from about half
in 1950, with a projected rise
to 78% by 2050.
For the rural regions of
southern Europe, the
implications are stark. As
their populations age and
dwindle, communities there
face a “vicious spiral of
abandonment”, according to
Alina Trabattoni, a rural
economics researcher at
Anglia Ruskin University, with
schools shuttered and GPs’
surgeries and post offices
centralised in larger towns.
Even today, you don’t have
to travel far out of southern
European cities to find the
remnants of these villages:
echoing plazas that once
bustled with trade, cobbled
streets that thrived through the
Renaissance and successive
centuries, but are now
colonised by roosting birds.
There are an estimated
100,000 abandoned villages
in southern Europe, and they
suffer a mixed fate. Some, such
as the hilltop town of Craco,
in southeastern Italy, have
become tourist curiosities;
some have been bought by
hotel groups; and a lucky few
are bought as a labour of love
by local or overseas investors.
“Of course most Greek
youth don’t want to go into
goat-farming,” says Andrew
Langton, founder and
chairman of Aylesford
International estate agency.
“But what’s off-putting to some
— peace and quiet, no phone
signal — is ideal for buyers
who want a better quality of
life and are up for a project.”
Britons are the most
frequent inquirers about
purchasing whole villages,
according to Elvira Fafian,
of Aldeas Abandonadas,
which specialises in selling
abandoned settlements in
Spain. She says North
American buyers are often
keen to snap up vineyards,
and Germans more commonly
ask after castles.
Jeff King, 59, from Devon,
and his German partner,
Claudia Weber, 48, are among
these knights in shining
Mondeos. The couple, who
worked together as the captain
and charter chef of yachts in
the Caribbean, fell in love with
Galicia when they were touring
Spain in 2012 with a “vague
idea” of selling their Exmouth
home and buying a doer-upper
in rural Spain.
“We were looking at the
usual spots — Andalusia, the
Costa del Sol and the Costa
Blanca — and not necessarily
entire villages,” Jeff says. “We
just wanted space, and no
neighbours to complain about
noisy renovations.” When their
route home took them through
the northwesterly regions of
Asturias and Galicia, Jeff and
Claudia were smitten. “We felt
we could breathe, and the
coastline was wonderful — like
Cornwall on steroids.”
Galicia’s greenery presented
another benefit. The couple
had been struck on their tour
of the rural south by signs of
increasing water scarcity.
“Some of the places we looked
at in Andalusia talked about
ordering a lorry of water in the
summer months, or having a
diversion running through the
property that’s turned on two
days in seven,” Jeff recalls. “It
all sounded a bit hit-and-miss.”
In 2016, the couple bought
Vilacha, a hamlet 30 minutes
inland from the town of
Viveiro, on Galicia’s north
coast. For “the price of an
average British semi”, they got
12½ acres of forested land,
“full of porcini mushrooms”,
two water springs, one liveable
house, three half-renovated
houses and three further
roofless ruins.
They have since fully
restored a second cottage,
which is let as a holiday home,
and are completing
renovations on the main
home. These have cost
£15,000 to date, with Jeff
and Claudia turning their
hands to tiling, carpentry
and fitting windows.
Jeff reckons rental income
will cover the cost of future
works — though they insist
The Sunday Times December 17, 2017 15
€1.5M
TIMES +
One lucky subscriber
will win a holiday for
two at a medieval
castle in Tuscany,
with winemaking
and yoga courses.
To enter this
competition, visit
mytimesplus.co.uk
CORFU
The Merchant’s House, in Old
Perithia, has been restored in
17th-century style. It has six
suites, each with a sitting
room, and a full B&B licence.
Additional land is available by
separate negotiation.
020 7351 2383,
aylesford.com
€220,000
Mark Hendriksen
and Saskia Bosch,
above, have
bought and
renovated three
old properties
in Old Perithia,
Corfu, left,
after falling in
love with the
neglected village
that their move to Vilacha is
about lifestyle, rather than
lucre. “Here we pay €200 a
year for council tax and €15 a
quarter for weekly rubbish
collection,” he says. “Unlike
in the UK, where I could never
retire at 59, it doesn’t cost
much to sit still.”
Mark Hendriksen and
his wife, Saskia Bosch, are
often to be found picking
rubbish off the pretty slopes
of Old Perithia, such is their
commitment to the
abandoned village on Corfu
in which they invested in
2009. The British publisher
and the Dutch voiceover artist,
both in their fifties, chanced
upon the hill-farming hamlet
in 2006, when they were on
holiday on the island.
“Locals told us to go to this
ghost village for lunch,” Saskia
says. “We hopped in the car
for this beautiful 25-minute
drive up to the mountains
and arrived to mesmerising
scenery — tumbledown houses
in flower meadows and
mountain views.”
Once home to more than
1,000 Corfiots, Old Perithia
was depopulated in the early
days of package tourism, when
locals migrated to the booming
coasts. The village Saskia and
Mark found had been left to
wild flowers and bees, as well
as a handful of taverna
owners, who travelled up by
day to cater to the walking
and trekking trade. “There
was rubbish all over the place,
with no signs anywhere,”
Saskia recalls. “Although there
are lovely walking trails up
into the surrounding
mountains, the routes were
cut off by overgrowth.”
The couple returned for two
further holidays that summer.
Despite their busy working
lives in London and, as Saskia
puts it, “not being the sort of
couple who wander around
Europe snapping up old
SPAIN
In Galicia, you can buy the
village of O Penso, near the
fishing port of Ortiguera. The
sale includes four homes, one
of which is habitable, three
barns, a cattle shed and 100
largely forested acres.
00 34 626 811508,
galicianrustic.com
€350,000
ITALY
The Alpine hamlet of Lunella,
an hour’s drive from Turin, has
views of the Gran Paradiso
and Lanzo valleys. There’s a
habitable 12-bedroom house,
a handful of ruins — and water,
electricity and broadband.
00 39 011 8613713,
borghialpini.it
Ghost town
The abandoned
settlement of
Craco, in
southern Italy,
has become a
tourist attraction
‘‘
What’s off-putting
to some — peace
and quiet, no phone
signal — is ideal for
buyers who want a
better quality of life
properties”, in 2009 they
did just that. “We were so
drawn to the place,” Saskia
says. “It sounds a bit mad now,
but it felt like we had a duty to
care for it.”
Their first challenge was
tracking down the owners of
the three tumbledown
properties they wanted to buy.
Five members of three Greek
families owned them, which is
pretty common. According to
Andrew Langton, anyone
purchasing bulk overseas
properties needs good local
legal representation to avoid
the pitfalls of multiple and
intergenerational ownership:
“Obtaining title deeds can be
tricky when properties have
been abandoned for decades,
but unless all living owners
agree to the sale, there’s a risk
of a subsequent claim.”
Having tracked down the
properties’ owners, Saskia and
Mark successfully negotiated
three sales, then embarked
on the gruelling year-long
process of securing planning
permission through Corfu’s
archaeological department for
adaptations to a village that
had, by then, been accorded
protected “area of natural
beauty” status.
Now they have transformed
the properties into the
Merchant’s House, a six-suite
B&B in the style of Old
Perithia’s 17th-century heyday,
with restored stone features
and Venetian-style wooden
furniture, handcrafted on
Crete. The couple have
invested “just shy of a million
euros” in the project.
Mark has learnt to make the
traditional Corfiot sourdough
in the house’s bread ovens,
and the katoi, a basement
wine and grain store typical
of island houses of the period,
is now the breakfast room.
They recently invited the
house’s former residents back
to the B&B for lunch. “One
owner remembered the katoi
in the 1950s, when their
donkey, Gussy, was tethered
in the corner,” Saskia says.
“There was unanimous
agreement that the bread was
just like their yiayias
[grandmas] used to make.”
Stephen Woods, 41, from
Birmingham, represents
another growing cohort of
British village-buyers. In 2009,
the former window-fitter,
his father and a group of five
friends from the UK, Germany
and France teamed up to buy
Malhada de Santa Maria, a
run-down village high in the
hills above Santa Catarina, in
the Algarve, Portugal.
They bought the cluster of
seven homes in two phases,
for £420,000 and £55,000,
and now run the village as a
self-sufficient community of
friends with an allotment.
When the building work is
complete, they hope to invest
in a herd of cattle.
“The dream was an escape
from the rat race,” says
Stephen, who believes rural
communalism is a blueprint
for a more sustainable form
of living. “At Santa Maria, we
consume a lot less and we’re
self-sufficient apart from
electricity, though we hope
to install solar panels soon.
When things break, you have
to diagnose and fix them. We
have internet access, so we
can google it — you have to be
practical to make a go of it.”
He counsels village buyers
who are looking to own as a
group to choose their fellow
buyers wisely. “Our German
investors pulled out at the
point of purchase. Luckily,
we managed to resell their
property to a friend’s son who
lives in China and wanted a
base in Europe.”
If you’re looking to buy rural
properties overseas, it’s
essential to be apprised of
local regulations, says Mark
Adkinson, who specialises in
selling abandoned villages
through his agency, Galician
Rustic: “Spanish planning
rules, for example, mean
buyers are only able to
refurbish properties in
designated ‘rustic areas’, not
to build new ones.”
Adkinson warns that Brexit
may mean a tightening of
the rules for Britons seeking
residence in mainland EU
countries. This could include
increased capital and income
requirements.
Saskia and Mark hope Old
Perithia will emulate the
abandoned villages in Tuscany
and Puglia that are being
lovingly nurtured back to life.
“Though we’d love it to be
reborn as a traditional working
community,” Mark adds,
“rather than an overdone
holiday village.”
The signs are good. Since
the couple arrived, 30% of the
village has been restored by
returnee locals — taverna
owners, beekeepers and
farmers — along with a handful
of overseas buyers from
South Africa and Sweden.
In 2015, Saskia and Mark
project-managed the
restoration of a villa for a
family of Greek returnees.
Now they’re planning to sell
the Merchant’s House to
concentrate on opening up
the village’s mountain trails
and restoring a 19th-century
pirate’s lookout tower as a
visitor attraction.
“It’s a more than one life’s
project, to be honest,” Saskia
smiles, “but we’re in it for the
long haul.”
18 December 17, 2017 The Sunday Times
TIME AND
SPACE
RAYMOND
BRIGGS
MIKE LAWN; DAVID A EASTLEY/ALAMY
Home
The Snowman author on the
South Downs home where he’ll
wait for Christmas to blow over
T
Briggs with his
mother, who was
immortalised in
Ethel & Ernest
he house that has had the
biggest impact on me was my
childhood home in London.
I grew up in a 1914 terraced
house in Ashen Grove,
Wimbledon Park. A narrow hall led to the
sitting room, dining room, kitchen and
scullery. Unusually for a working-class
home, it had three upstairs bedrooms
and a bathroom. I had the back room,
overlooking the garden.
The house was a rather daft design,
because our kitchen window was exactly
opposite next door’s. If our clock was
a bit wobbly, we could look in to see what
the Wrights’ clock was doing and check
the time.
Have any of your homes appeared in
your illustrations?
My childhood home features in several
books, particularly Ethel & Ernest, my
portrait of my parents’ marriage. I could
draw the dresser in the dining room
right now. The house crops up again in
Father Christmas, where I
depict him shaving and
brushing his teeth in our
scullery. In The Snowman, the
property and garden where the
boy and the Snowman take
flight was based on my house
and garden at the foot of the
South Downs.
His most
famous
books were
written at
his home
in East
Sussex
How did you find your
current home?
In 1967, when my late wife,
Jean, and I lived in Burgess
Hill, West Sussex, we decided
to call in at a pub in nearby
Ditchling. On the way there,
we remembered it didn’t open
until 7pm on a Sunday, so
we took a detour and saw a
“For sale” sign along a country
lane. The house was convenient
for Brighton, where I was teaching
part-time at the art college, so I phoned
the estate agent the next day and bought
it for £5,400.
The studio, with views of
the Sussex Weald, is the
author’s favourite room.
Above, Briggs with one of
the papier-mâché models
of him made by a friend
‘‘
The house was originally
a two-bedroom shack,
and on first seeing it,
my mother said, ‘What
a dump!’
Have you made structural changes?
It was originally a two-bedroom shack,
and on first seeing it, my mother said,
“What a dump!” I added a garage and
another floor on top, where I put in a
north-facing studio. That’s my favourite
room, and all my best-known books were
created there. I particularly like the
garden, which goes straight up onto the
South Downs. If you look north, you can
see for 26 miles across the Sussex Weald
towards Ashdown Forest.
How have you personalised your home?
I’ve painted full-length portraits of my
parents, Ethel and Ernest, on cupboard
doors in my living room. I have a
promotional plastic cutout of Fungus the
Bogeyman outside the lavatory, with an
accompanying speech bubble that reads:
“Fungus smells you.”
I also have three papier-mâché
models of me made by a friend and
former student, Alan Baker. It started as
a joke. For my 60th birthday, he made
one of me sitting on a lavatory, so I got my
own back and made one of him. For my
70th, he made one of me staggering along
on a Zimmer frame with my trousers
undone. And for my 80th, he did one of
Ditchling Beacon
rises directly
behind Briggs’s
back garden; the
Downs landscape
featured in
The Snowman
me huddled in a wheelchair, with
incontinence problems. They are life-size,
so they take up rather a lot of space.
Are you a hoarder?
Yes, although I can still walk around the
living room. My stairs are lined with
framed jigsaws of the Queen Mother,
which started as another jokey gift with
Alan. I used to collect coffee lids, which
stretched from one side of the bath to
the ceiling, a reference to the TS Eliot
poem The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock,
which contains the line “I have measured
out my life with coffee spoons”.
I also have a collection of books with
similar titles to my 1982 book When the
Wind Blows, such as Walter de la Mare’s
The Wind Blows Over. Unfortunately,
it was ruined when a well-meaning
assistant printed out every related title
from the internet.
Isn’t your home full of Snowman
merchandise?
Yes, although I only keep the useful items.
I was rather against Snowman lavatory
paper, but I said I didn’t mind too much
provided they didn’t print the Snowman’s
face on the loo roll.
Why did you and your late partner
live apart?
When Liz and I met, her kids were aged
eight and six. She also had lodgers. There
wasn’t room for me to live there full-time,
so we got into the habit of keeping
separate houses, even though we lived
comparatively near each other.
Do you have a cherished heirloom?
Only things I use every day, such as the
breadboard and bread knife that Mum
and Dad had. It was in use throughout
my childhood.
Any plans for Christmas?
Oh God, no. I’m just waiting for it to
blow over.
WALKING IN
THE AIR
Interview by Angela Wintle
Notes from the Sofa, a collection of
Raymond Briggs’s columns and
accompanying illustrations for The Oldie,
is published by Unbound at £8.99;
unbound.com/books/notes-from-the-sofa
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The Sunday Times, journal
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