WHEN Darren Hirst was looking for his first home, he found a cottage that had the potential to become the swanky bachelor pad of his dreams.
The two-bedroom property in Honley was a wreck, but that didn’t deter Darren, who got cracking transforming the neglected interior into a des-res.
His handiwork proved to have a lot of pulling power for partner Kate Ruddock when she later set up home with the self-employed fitter there.
Kate, a waitress at Hinchliffe’s farm shop, said: “Darren did all the work himself and made a fantastic job of it – I was definitely very impressed the first time I saw the house.
“It had a lovely feel to it and straight away to me it felt like home.”
The property was virtually run-down when Darren took it on as a first time buyer, viewing a house with potential as a great way of getting on to the property ladder.
Kate explains: “It was absolutely horrendous and needed a lot doing to it.
“Darren put a huge amount of work into the house – from the plastering and plumbing to building the garage and porch – teaching himself how to do new things like fixing the skirting boards.
“He’s very busy and works all hours so the whole thing took about a year.
“He likes a bit of a challenge and really got stuck into this one and, because he’s an absolute perfectionist, had to make sure everything was just right.”
The cottage is believed to date back to the early 1900s.
It forms part of a row of six homes and an inscription on the brickwork of one of them suggests that they formed part of the village’s old mill complex and were once occupied by its weavers.
The couple’s home is full of original features, which Darren was keen to preserve in his sympathetic renovation of the cottage.
The lounge particularly has a superb sense of character, with its beams and fantastic exposed chimney breast with in-built little cubby holes used to store candles.
The feature beams complement a specially-crafted window seat with views of the planted patio area at the front of the cottage and beyond.
Kate said: “I love coming home, into the lounge and shutting the curtains, putting the fire on and just chilling out. It’s very homely and a nice and a cosy place to be in the winter.”
Each room in the house has been carefully considered, with Darren keen to preserve its character while adding in modern twists.
“It’s lovely knowing that a bit of history is attached to the house and having all these features.
“If things like the fireplace had been taken out and everything made ultra- modern, I think it would have lost its heart and sense of history – why spoil something that works really well?”
Darren made the most of the bijoux kitchen by adding wooden units teamed with a sleek black work surface and did a similarly stylish job in the bathroom, reached from the landing inset with a unique stained glass window.
He also transformed the garden, adding a pond and decking to provide the perfect outdoor retreat.
The couple – who also live with Kate’s 16-year-old daughter Heather – are hoping to start their own family and are looking for a new place to call home for the foreseeable future.
Kate said: “This house was Darren’s bachelor pad and he’s put an awful lot of work into it so I think it will be a wrench for him to leave.
“I will miss it too, but it will be nice to have somewhere that belongs to both of us and we can make our own mark on together.
“I don't think Darren would want to take on such a big project this time round, but having seen what he can do I might just get him to do some work!”
l Huddersfield Road, Honley, is on the market with Cornerstone estate agents. To arrange a viewing call 01484 865646.
Two bedroom character cottage
Lounge with exposed feature wall, beams and window seat