Leeds Nostalgia: Hunt is on for ‘period living’ restoration projects

Peel Castle''Hellifield

Peel Castle''Hellifield

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THe hunt is on for period living restoration projects in and around Leeds. Period Living Magazine has just launched its second annual search for the UK’s greatest period homes.

The Reader’s Home Awards are looking for the best four UK homeowners who have restored and decorated older homes in style.

They are offering to photograph and feature the winners in the November issue of the publication. The leading judge is renowned designer Sophie Conran, alongside Period Living editor Rachel Watson and Michael Holmes, editor-in-chief of the magazine. The overall winner will receive prizes worth over £500, including a set of Sophie Conran’s latest porcelain collection.

Perhaps one of the most famous period restoration projects in this area in recent years was that carried out by Harrogate architect Francis and Karen Shaw.

Their efforts to restore Peel Castle, Heliford, near Settle, were features on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs and the project was rumoured to be one of presenter Kevin McCloud’s favourites.

The site started life as a wooden Saxon hall house, but the main house dates from the 1300s and was built by one of the last Templar Knights, Sir John Harcourt. For most of its life it was owned by the Hamerton family, during which time it was Georgianised. After being requisitioned as a prisoner-of-war camp, it was bought by furniture maker Harry Lund in the 1940s. He took the wood he wanted then staged a dilapidation sale when the property was stripped of everything from its roof to its panelling.

The crumbling bones, classed as a scheduled ancient monument, were still there when the Shaws, experienced renovators, decided to bring it back to life.

Francis visited the house when he was 14 and on holiday with his parents. “When I saw it on the Buildings at Risk register, I remembered it immediately. It appealed because of the location and because I’ve wanted to live in a castle since I was a child.”

Karen, a former retail designer, was equally enthusiastic. They bought the property for £100,000. It took over two years and another £720,000 to resurrect it. The journey, full of drama, was TV gold.

Living’s editor, Rachel Watson, and Michael Holmes, Editor in Chief of Period Living to crown four homes category winners.

“Their properties will be photographed and featured in the November issue of the magazine and one overall champion will also be selected to receive prizes worth over £500.”

Sophie, daughter of designer and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran, said: “I’m excited to take a look inside readers’ homes again this year. I really enjoyed the diversity and range of projects and seeing people with real vision do what they love with individuality, care and attention.”

Period Living’s Editor Rachel Watson added: “I can’t wait to see the eclectic mix of homes that each year brings. We welcome entries for houses of all shapes and sizes from across the UK.”

Last year’s overall winner was a traditional Welsh cottage built in the 1840s which has a wood-burning stove instead of a television as a focal point in the lounge, vintage utensils rather than modern gadgets in the kitchen, and traditional Welsh blankets, quilts and antique lace in the bedrooms.

PVCu windows were replaced with original handmade timber frame windows similar to other traditional nearby homes and the couple used old tiles from a neighbour to create a traditional effect.

Sponsoring the awards for the fourth year is kitchen specialist Kit Stone, renowned for its handmade kitchens and contemporary classic interiors for the entire home, including living, dining, bedroom and bathroom furniture.

Managing director Edward Blackett commented: “The way you choose to decorate your home reveals so much about your personality.

“The creativity and talent demonstrated by Period Living readers never ceases to amaze me, so I am looking forward to seeing some really individual and quirky transformations.”

Entrants will need to explain in 500 words why they think their home should win including details of how it looked before the renovation, what’s been achieved to date and how it has been refurbished with information about the period and original features that have been reinstated.

The closing date for this national competition is 27 June.

Homeowners wishing to find out more or how to enter should visit www.periodliving.co.uk/awards2014

One overall winner will receive a set of Sophie Conran’s latest porcelain collection for Portmeirion from sophieconran.com worth £250, plus £300 worth of vouchers to spend on home accessories from Kit Stone. All category winners will receive a year’s free subscription to Period Living worth over £45.

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