When we set up our business in 2017 we had several objects in mind.
- To take run down old stone cottages and turn them into something very special to give guests a unique experience .
- To ensure the properties futures for future generations.
- To employ local people and businesses to work with us.
- To reuse, refurbish and upgrade furniture and interiors, not just buy everything new.
- To give a real sense of continuity which comes from a family home.
- To use products and methods that would have the least harmful impact on the buildings themselves and on their environment.
Have we achieved these goals? From our guests' comments it appears we have achieved turning stone cottages into something pretty and really special. Our cottages have been enjoyed by a wide range of people,TV personalities, film crews, business travellers, brides, grooms, holiday makers, people coming for employment or changing location, to those enjoying a romantic break or a group of friends for a weekends shopping.
To ensure their future:
All the cottages required refurbishment. No one could obtain a mortgage on any of our properties. So no-one was deprived of a home.
We have put new roofs onto Artists' House, Artists' Corner and Artists' Place using local craftsmen. They used traditional methods and slate tiles in keeping with the original roofs. We have rewired and replumbed and where necessary damp proofed. Our builders put in fire walls for safety and of course we insulated all the lofts and renewed windows. All this was done with the intention of cutting heat loss and putting back some of the original features, including stone lintels. We have unblocked the chimneys and installed log burning stoves. They are super efficient, using very little wood to emit large amounts of heat. They also emit very little into the atmosphere. We chose log burning stoves because they are safe for guests to use. The air currents from the open chimneys help to eliminate damp and ensure a proper circulation of air, essential for our guests' welfare whilst also helping to maintain the buildings. These cottages were built to breathe and if they are not allowed a sufficient flow of air they become musty, damp and cold and begin to deteriorate. The warm air generated by the stoves draws any stale or damp air out of the building.
Any repointing has been done using traditional materials. Modern day cement when used with stone causes the stone to disintegrate because the cement render is too acidic, hence our craftsmen use a traditional mix. Wherever possible we have retained the original features.
We recently installed a new staircase at Artist's Cottage. The original staircase had been replaced by a previous owner. We discovered the treads had been laid at too steep an angle so were dangerous.
It required a considerable amount of ingenuity on the part of the highly skilled local cabinet maker Egil Jones to ensure it is correctly balanced, he also ensured that we can get furniture up and down in the future.
We did not carpet the staircase for several reasons, all to do with safety. The reads are narrow, so a carpet would render them even smaller. Carpets can cause people to slip and it’s rare to find a carpet that does not warp with use. All these things cause extra hazards. Our guests can see the actual treads and exercise due care accordingly.
We have installed new energy efficient radiators and energy efficient gas condensing boilers. In Artists' Loft we have renewed the electric radiators and water heater so as to be as energy efficient as possible. We were having a problem with damp at Artists' Loft so our builders and engineers got going and have resolved the problem - they removed the old render which had been made from wrong materials and replaced it with a water proof render which should last for many years to come, and so ensure the health of the building.
In all our properties we have removed all water the water tanks so now all water comes direct from the mains, this means we do not waste water and our showers are always powerful - but without the need for electric pumps. So we use less water. It also means we do not have water stagnating or left cooling in a cylinder.
The furniture has been carefully selected. Many of the older and antique pieces have been completely refurbished to make them suited to the 21st century.
Where we could we left them in their original state. Our fabrics are chosen with care, and have been coated, where necessary, to render them fire retardant. All our upholstery meets latest fire retardent standards.
Our blinds are from Curtains and Blinds on Commercial Street, our curtains are from local shops or were made by us . The bed spreads are either hand woven in Ireland, made by us or from local shops. Our glass is all from Rollings Glass located a few 100 yards from most of our properties. They cut and colour the glass to our specification.
Our white goods are selected for functionality and energy ratings, they come from Beks, a local supplier. Our ovens self-clean so we do not need to use harmful chemicals. They come from Miele on Station Parade Our hobs are induction or ceramic, so easy to wipe clean. All our surfaces are chosen for their ease of cleaning.
Our beds are from a family business, Simply Beds in Ripon. The sofas all came from local suppliers as did our lamps and lights. Our dining suites are either upcycled by us or come from Smiths the Rink on Dragon Road, who are also responsible for our flooring.
Our new kitchens and Neff hobs were supplied by Kitchen Warehouse in Ripon and fitted by local craftsmen.
Throughout our properties we use LED and low energy light bulbs.
Our shampoos and body wash are chosen for their lack of harmful chemicals and come to us perfume free. Supplied by ID Aromatics in Leeds. We add our own essential oils to the body wash. We use dispenses to avoid waste and to limit the use of plastic.
Our linens and towels are all 100%Egyptian cotton. They are supplied to us by a specialist laundry service who themselves use all the latest technology to ensure spotless clean linen for our guests whilst being kind to the environment.
We recently achieved Level 3 Status with Booking.Com. We believe we have achieved our goals.
We love working with local businesses to bring you the best quality products and services. What's more we love making you welcome and sharing all this with you.