FRESH from a massive renovation project, couple Carolyn Brewster and David Alston were looking to put their own personality on house number two.
But although unwilling to pour quite as much effort into their new Holmfirth home, they did want to find somewhere that would enable them to make their mark.
Former landscape ecologist Carolyn explains: “We lived in Northumberland previously and had finished a complete restoration of a house and barn.
“We had to strip everything down to basics and start again. It was a lot of work and while for our next home we still wanted to make it our own, we didn’t want to take on anything quite as ambitious!
“Also this time around we had two young children, so we couldn’t devote as much energy to it as we did before.”
The couple had been living in Northumberland, but had to relocate for David’s job working for the Sheffield coal industry.
They found themselves travelling through Holmfirth when visiting parents and immediately fell in love with the country landscape.
“We focused our search in and around Holmfirth where we found Wellfield,” says Carolyn. “It was bursting with character and we couldn’t resist it.”
The stone-built house, built in an elevated position with gorgeous views across the Holme Valley and sitting in a peaceful location, really captured the couple’s hearts.
Carolyn explains: “It was looking quite neglected and quite a few of the original features had been covered over – like the original panel work on the door – as was the fashion in the 70s.
“Fortunately, we were able to rectify this as the original work was still there.”
The couple’s home was built in 1918 by a local builder who was keen to make the most of the superb views, adding large windows in contrast to the weavers’ cottages narrower frames.
The windows looking out of the front of the property were fashioned from Art Nouveau stained glass, featuring a simple heart design.
Carolyn and David loved the fact that the house was still full of many of its original features.
Perhaps one of the most striking is the lounge’s imposing oak fireplace.
Carolyn says: “The fire has been replaced, but fortunately the surround is original.
“It’s quite unusual and does make a real talking point.”
For the couple it was important to keep the property’s real sense of character intact.
So as well as maintaining and restoring period features, they were careful to ensure that all the work they did to bring the property back to its former glory was sympathetic to the building’s fabric.
For part of the kitchen they used material available from elsewhere in the house, sourcing original cupboards from the bathroom to make up some of the units.
The spacious rooms are filled with antique-style pieces of furniture, which the couple were able to bring from their former home which was of similar character.
Carolyn says: “It’s a really important feature of the house, but we were a bit constrained by the stained glass.
“This was because things had to tie in with the red and green, but fortunately it worked out really well!”
The one acre of grounds the house sits in have also seen a great deal of change and proved a real haven for the couple’s two children Hannah and Tom as they were growing up.
The rural property was named after a spring-fed well located in the field, which appeared on the earliest Ordnance Survey map in 1860.
Carolyn says: “The garden had become quite wild and when we were working on it we found things that we never even knew were there, like an overgrown path.
“That took quite a bit of work, but it really is lovely now with the bluebell wood and wildlife areas. “The kids loved it when they were growing up because there were lots of places for them to play and explore.”
The property has proved the idyllic family home for the couple.
But with their two children now grown up and setting off for university for the first time, the couple are looking to return to their Northumberland roots – and on to their next project.
Carolyn says: “We have been in the house for 18 years now, our kids have grown up there and there are so many fond family memories associated with it. But we are excited about the next project.
“It has such character and it will be nice if somebody appreciates it as much as we have done.”
Wellfield, Holmfirth, was marketed with Yorkshire’s Finest estate agents and has just been sold. It was priced at £475,000.