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Yorkshire property: The ultimate handmade home

July 13, 2014

Made with love: the ultimate handmade home

Those of you who follow Kirstie Allsopp on the goggle box  may well recognise this wonderful little house.

It featured as a snippet on her recent “Best of Both Worlds” TV show and it  highlights the considerable talents of would-be first-time buyer Stephanie Bertenshaw.  Unable to get on the property ladder she took matters into her own hands and built her own home for just  £12,000

We hot-footed it down to the village of Marsden, near Huddersfield, to get the full story and found a heart-warming tale of a family pulling together, a lot of hard graft and a huge amount of creativity.

Stephanie, 24, an artist and illustrator, created the ultimate handmade home out of three garages next to her parents’ house.


Transformed from old garages to “Yorkshire villa”

“I came back to live with my mum and dad after travelling and was doing low paid jobs so there was no way I could afford to buy anything or even rent,” she says. “There was a set of old garages next to my parents’ home and I thought they’d make a great little house. My dad loves a building project so he agreed to give it go.”

Her parents, Chris and Sue, bought their old coach house and land nine years ago, and run a healing centre from there. It is tucked away on a large plot by the river . Steph’s grandparents live in a timber chalet on the site.

After winning planning permission to convert, the whole family pitched in “barn raising” style to single-storey dwelling.


The 1960s dining chairs were £12 from a charity shop

The foundations were deep enough but the walls at the back needed support and now have a double skin. The old doors were bricked up, then windows and a new, arched front door were installed. The sloping garage roof was retained but it was insulated and plaster boarded inside.

Grandad Michael, a painter and decorator,  did the wallpapering, while Steph’s former boyfriend, Gareth Cotter,  did most of the joinery. Her grandma and mum made sure everywhere was rubble and dust free. Steph used her creative talents to plan the design and décor and took inspiration from pictures on Pinterest.


The sitting room with mezzanine above

She wanted a villa-style look outside. Inside, there is a bedroom with a mezzanine level for a tiny bathroom and  a small sitting room with a gallery above, which doubles as a spare bedroom. This leads through to the kitchen, which has a store room and cloakroom at the back. She recently added an extension for her studio.


The handmade kitchen units and wallpaper from B&Q

Furniture is a mix of donations from friends and family, Ikea and charity shop bargains.  Her latest buy is a set of 1960s dining chairs that cost £12 from the Emmaus shop.

Decoration is mostly her own art work along with pictures, postcards and wallpaper that she pops in vintage frames painted with colourful, tester pot emulsion.


Ikea paper in an old frame that Steph painted

The pretty property is testament to what can be achieved with a small budget and a lot of imagination. The  live work home has also helped her grow her design business, Felt Mountain Studios. She specialises in creating prints for greetings cards, gift tags, stationery and wedding invitations, along with logos for businesses.

She sells online and at The Emporium in Slaithwaite, which is a community interest company that she helps to run. It is a treasure trove full of art and vintage and handmade products.


Steph’s studio gives her space to design

Hand-building her home, now valued at £150,000, has given her financial freedom to grow her business and save for the future.

“It belongs to my parents but I can live here for as long as I like rent free,” says Steph.

*See Steph’s work at www.feltmountainstudios.co.uk  Read more about The Emporium, Slaithwaite, another inspiring story, here:  www.slaithwaiteemporium.blogspot.co.uk Steph’s mum runs The Old Coach House Healing Centre, www.coachhousehealing.co.uk


Nice and cosy – the house is full of craft and creativity


Painting and embellishing frames gives an instant update


The Emporium in Slaithwaite is a treasure trove


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