Sunday, 28 February 2010

February 2009 Half term at Laykin

We spent half term in Low Row and it was great for all the family to be able to see the changes taking place. It was rather precarious on the building site with my crutches!

Outside the new front door- which had been a door at one time but been turned into a window. We thought it would be great to be able to walk straight outside from the kitchen and it would also give us access to more of the fabulous views.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Calverts start work at Laykin

This is the sitting room- all the plaster has been hacked off- but you can still see the lovely oak ceiling.

It was amazing how much of the garden we had to dig out to get the porch in. The architect hadn't forseen the difference in levels at all- we had anticipated 3 steps not 6 feet!

Here are the footings for the new extension.
We put the job of renovating Laykin out to tender in Sept 2008 and the quotes were broadly similar from GE Brown and Calverts of Leyburn. However GE Brown were busy until March/April 2009 and we were keen to get on with the job so we chose Calverts of Leyburn. Paul Sadler was in charge and sent in an army of men to begin in early January.

We met him up there when he had taken down all the stud walls and taken down the porch. It was quite a shock to see how much they did so fast!

Paul Sadler was fantastic at explaining everything to us and on our first meeting we ripped up all the architect's plans and with Paul's expertise and wealth of experience, re designed the layout of the house with the aid of a piece of chalk. He was so sensible and it made a lot of sense.

This is the remains of the grand piano which apparently came from Harrods in 1939- can't think how they got it up to the house, but apparently the lady of the house was determined! We gave it a decent burial in the field above the house which is where the builders put all the rubble and all the excavated mud from digging out for the porch extension. The idea was that we would block the channel which the water flowed down so strongly after heavy rain and divert the water via a pipe into the field. Sadly they had to knock down the wall but we will make it good.

You can see that it is very muddy!

Digging out for the new extension - for porch and dog room.

The old wind up gramophone

There were some interesting things left in the house. This was our favourite. A working gramophone. We had fun winding it up and listening to the old record. You just had to be careful not to let your hand get in the way of the winder as it spins round quickly backwards!

Laykin features

What struck us about Laykin inside was the quality of the work that had been done on the house in 1939 by George Edward Brown and Company - we loved the art deco style door furniture and oak ceiling panels and stair case. We felt the pulpit on the landing was a lovely feature and we were concerned to keep the integrity of the cottage, and loath to change it from the romantic hideaway that it had been for so long.

At the beginning we toyed with the idea of keeping it as it is, and cutting ourselves off from the world when we stayed there. However practical problems such as how to wash our clothes without electricity soon overcame this notion.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Map of Laykin in Swaledale,-2.035144&sspn=0.006295,0.006295&ie=UTF8&ll=54.383007,-2.046525&spn=0,0&t=h&z=16&iwloc=A

This is the map of where Laykin is in Swaledale. It is between Low Row and Gunnerside and just before the turn to Hazel Brow Farm and the wonderfully named village of Crackpot.

Water arrives at Laykin

The significant thing about this photo is that in September 2008 we had mains water to the house. You can see the metal cover at the bottom of the photo- it wasn't connected to the inside at this point but was a big step forward and was hard to arrange. We had to get permission and wayleaves sorted out, and a contractor to make a trench down from Turnip House above us.

Think it was around this time that our architect retired and we took the project on from the plans that he had prepared and started to look for builders in the area.

You can see Gunnerside in the distance.

After the trees were felled

Here you can see the house from above with out the trees. This was August 2008. We were in no hurry to start work and wanted to get to know the house and really think deeply about how we wanted it to be laid out. We wanted to move the bathroom upstairs to make a bigger kitchen and needed to have a good space for the dogs and all our coats and boots. We had an architect working on plans and spent ages thinking about it. Many of our friends and family had helpful suggestions too.

The garden at Laykin

The garden had a lovely old apple trees and a very large self seeded ash by the gate which shaded the side of the house rather a lot.
By now we had started to think about plans for the house and how we wanted it to be. We felt we needed a larger porch and put in planning permission to fell the trees. Later on we got permission for an extension to the garden to the west but didn't need permission for a larger porch as it was part of the 10% permitted development.

The lovely waterfall below the house

October 2006. The lovely waterfall by the ford.

More road repairs

This is the steep section of road up to the house before the hardcore went down.

The road to Laykin, Swaledale

The dogs running up the first bit of the new motorway at end of Sept 2006.

Road repairs start- our first major job

The first thing we did was to repair the road. It is a third of a mile and was very expensive but Carricks made a wonderful job of it. Here you can see Colin taking a load of hardcore. The road soon became known as the motorway.

Our offer is accepted

By now we had made an offer and had it accepted. Laykin was now our cottage and we were so excited.

The hawthorns look so pretty in spring.

We cut back the hawthorn hedge to make the road more accessible.
We cut back the hawthorn hedge to make the road more accessible.

This photo shows the overgrown road from below.

We finally got to see inside and this photo is the sitting room.

This is the larger of the 2 bedrooms.

This is the pantry, complete with the inseide of an old grand piano.

The most romantic thing about the cottage was that it was still lit with gas lamps, had no central heating, no electricity, no phone or modernisation. In fact we learned that it had last been revamped in 1939.

The water came from the hill and must have been unreliable at times and it was impossible to drive to the house, but it was the most perfect place to get away and hide from civilization. Even mobile phones didn't work there!

It was quite a mad idea, and we were really out of our depth but we decided that we would like to put in an offer.

First photos of Laykin

We went back at the end of September and looked again and peered through the windows but couldn't gain access or get a viewing. It was funny when we found out that the key was hidden in the gutter above the porch all the time but we didn't know. We took photos through the windows and I used a ladder to look upstairs, but didn't realise those below could see right up my skirt!

Views from Laykin over to Grinton

This photo was taken on 11th September and is the view across the valley from Laykin cottage. We loved seeing the hay meadows and field barns so typical of Swaledale and the River Swale, and Grinton and Summer Lodge moors.

This is the story of Laykin cottage, Swaledale, North Yorkshire

We first saw Laykin cottage in August 2005. It was advertised in the Darlington and Stockton Times newspaper. The asking price was very reasonable for a four bedroom cottage so we were interested to discover why there were undeveloped barns going for the same price.

The cottage was in Low Row, but we didn't know where it was and it was hard to find because the road to it was in a poor state of repair and there were many overgrown bushes in the way.

When we found it we fell in love with it at once. The views of Swaledale and the river Swale were so amazing, but we could see that it needed lots of work doing to it.

It took quite a while to arrange a viewing and see the inside. Charltons were only arranging block viewings and had no plans to make it easy for us!