Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents 162 INSITE SUMMER 2010
t’s a brave couple that takes on a crumbling, once-grand
homestead and sets about restoring it to its former elegance.
When Sandra Paskett and Phil Cowin did it, their friends
thought they were mad, especially given the timeframe. Less
than six months after they bought Laurelville Manor in 2009, the
York home with 1890s origins was patched up and re-imagined as a
twee-free bed and breakfast – a fresh take on the old classic.
Having once stayed as guests at the manor house, Sandra and Phil
knew its potential. In the mid 1990s, the lovingly tended property
was in the last flush of its heyday. The grand dame of a home was
steeped in historic charm and surrounded by exquisite gardens, its
peacock aviary dripping in wisteria. Loved by several generations
of the one family, it was sold in 1997 and later fell into disrepair.
When the current owners got the keys, a mammoth restoration and
renovation project awaited them.
Their fi rst statement of intent was to paint the dark timber
staircase at the centre of the house a fresh gloss white. It was part of a
plan to introduce a sense of dignified calm to proceedings. Knocking
out a wall in the living space helped bring in more light and air. The
bedrooms were stripped of the indignity of the Royal Family theme
bestowed by previous owners, and invested with sophisticated
furnishings, blending modern and traditional design.
“I wanted it to be restful,” says Sandra, who solicited her friend
and interior designer Kyla Colvin to help with the fabrics and
furniture. Neutral colours, with plenty of white, contribute to the
fresh feel that is both contemporary and classic. Antique furniture
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