I’ve seen a lot of beautiful properties thanks to my day job but this fabulous eco home in Ilkley is one of my favourites. It’s on the market for £1.9m and if I win the Lottery I’ll be putting in an offer.
It doesn’t just look good, it feels it and that’s partly down to the owners, who are warm and welcoming, and partly down to great design.
The spectacular oasis, created by Chris Lawson and his partner, is just below the famous Cow and Calf rocks and the contrast between the ancient moorland and the contemporary architecture is striking in the best possible way.
Inside, the 6,000 sq.ft house, on sale with Hunters, is wall-to-wall luxury but it could also be described as cheap, thanks to its energy efficiency.
The house is packed with insulation and has an air source heat pump, mechanical heat and ventilation, LED lighting controlled by a Lutron system, underfloor heating and solar panels. The property also attracts a government feed-in tariff payment that runs for another 22 years.
“In the two-and-a-half years we have lived here, our electricity bill amounts to £2,139 and the feed-in-tariff payments are £4,524. The surplus pays for the water and gas and contributes towards the council tax, so the house costs hardly anything to run” says Chris.
He and his partner demolished a run-down detached house to make way for their “Grand Design”.
They wanted to build a “glass box” but Ilkley Parish Council objected, so Studio Map Architects in Harrogate modified the design to include sapele wood and reclaimed stone. The front , which is set over three floors, has a series of picture windows. The rear, which is on two levels, has bi-fold doors onto the terrace along with doors onto an upstairs balcony. A large brise-soleil acts as a sun shade and creates architectural interest.
On the lower level, there are two en-suite bedrooms, a living kitchen, a gym/cinema room, sauna, steam room and spa bath. On the middle level is a sitting room, dining room, kitchen with hidden cocktail bar, library and garden room. The top floor has three large bedroom suites.
The flat roof offers a 360 degree panorama that takes in the Wharfe Valley and Ilkley Moor and the couple often pop up there for cocktails, while drinking in the views.
While the architects project-managed the build, Chris and his partner designed and oversaw the interior fit-out and pitched in on site.
Their ideas, informed by boutique hotels and books, include an £80,000 glass spiral staircase that stretches from the top to the bottom of the house. It adds wow factor, as do the elaborate glass chandeliers by Blackpool-based designer John Ditchfield.
The couple also came up with an inspired solution for some of the walls, which are made from walnut and maple that has been laser cut into decorative patterns.
“We saw something similar in a hotel in Seville and we managed to find a firm, White Rose Cutting Forms, in Cross Hills, to do it for us,” says Chris.
Much of the furniture is also custom-made to their design. It sits alongside a few traditional pieces from their former home and new buys from Il Loft in Milan. The sumptuous blue sofas are from Italy and add a touch of glamour to a backdrop of understated luxury.
Outside, there is a £100,000 semi-tropical paradise fashioned from the hillside. It includes a waterfall, which drops over huge, eight ton slabs of stone into a pool teeming with tiny orange carp.
The sound of the water is often accompanied by Nimrod, from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The property is named after the classical composition, which is, as you would expect, a sophisticated touch.
*For more details on Nimrod, Ilkley, contact Hunters, tel: 01943 660500, www.huntersnet.co.uk