PROPERTY developer Kay Dyson is used to transforming homes.
So when she came across an advert for a derelict cottage in Honley she was more than ready for the challenge.
But she felt so drawn to the unusual property that she decided to make it her home – and put her own ultra modern house on the market.
Kay, who develops properties around the country, says: "I wasn’t even looking for a house, but when I saw this cottage in the paper I fell in love with it and decided to go for it.
"It was full of character and charm with quirky features like a crooked staircase and fireplace.
"It had a really lovely country cottage feel to it and was very different to my previous home which was very modern with a glass front."
Situated in the old part of the village and boasting views over the rooftops, the 1800s-built cottage had lain derelict for several years.
It had been damaged in a fire and its former owner had died shortly afterwards.
Kay says: "There was an old man living there when there was the fire. A neighbour called for help but he passed away in hospital.
"It’s a really sad story. I’ve been told the man was really sweet and everybody said had the best garden in Honley."
The property was then left vacant for years and when Kay first visited it she found shabby, bare rooms and features that had been covered over or touched by fire.
She explains: "The fire damage wasn’t too bad, but there were the most beautiful beams upstairs which were black with soot.
"Me and my mum scrubbed them and it took us about a month to get them clean. We had no hot water supply and had to keep boiling a kettle!
"It had old Yorkshire stone slabs on the floors and tiles from the 1930s in the kitchen and everything looked very bare.
"Some features like the fireplaces were all covered up and I really wanted to bring back these original features."
One special feature Kay wanted to make the most of was the huge vaulted basement.
The 42-year-old wanted to convert the space into a truly spectacular dining kitchen – but first had to get planning permission.
"The vault was the reason I wanted the house so much,’’ she says. "I knew it would make an absolutely fantastic kitchen.
"It meant having to break through from the lower vault and because the house is listed I had to apply for planning permission.
"I wasn’t able to get started for the first eight months while I was waiting which was quite frustrating because I am always keen to get going on a new project!"
When she was finally able to get started on transforming the imposing space, Kay knew she wanted it to have the same feel as the rest of the house – contemporary while keeping the cottage’s quirky charm.
The kitchen has become the real jewel in the cottage’s crown, the exposed brickwork to the arched ceiling working beautifully with all the trappings expected of a modern kitchen.
Says Kay: "It was so important to keep all the old features and I am so pleased with how well everything works together.
"I think the steel girder which comes through the island unit is a great feature and I’ve made a feature of the original meat hooks by painting them.
"I don’t know what the place was used for.
"The house next door but one used to be the local jail so maybe this was used for solitary confinement!"
It took almost a year to for Kay to realise her imaginative conversion, but she’s proud of her work.
With its big open fireplace, the beamed lounge is also a lovely space as is the versatile studio that has been created in the loft.
The interior design has been equally well thought out with Kay injecting colour to breathe warmth into the cottage and enhance features, like painting the chimney breast in one of the bedrooms pillar box red.
Kay has now decided to sell her home to move onto her next project.
She adds: "The house was so different to the slick, really modern homes I’d always gone for and it was definitely one of the most challenging projects I’ve worked on because everything had to be done so carefully.
"It’s a lovely home, full of character and I will miss that about it – you just need to look at it to fall in love with it."
Cuckoo Lane, Honley is on the market with Boultons estate agents. To arrange a viewing call 01484 515029.
Something very different in a quaint part of old Honley
Very imaginatively converted end cottage
Magnificent fitted dining kitchen