There's a touch of Scandinavia about the old chapel at Espley, near Morpeth
PUBLISHED: 19:03 07 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:42 20 February 2013
There's a touch of Scandinavia about the old chapel at Espley, near Morpeth, as Helen Johnson discovered
Emma Weston-Scott likes her home to be fun. So when she saw a log cabin and totem pole in the garden, she decided to buy before shed even seen the house. And, luckily, the house did not disappoint. The former chapel on the Espley Estate, near Morpeth, was full of character. However, some aspects of its conversion to a home were not to her taste, so, she gutted it and started again.
We went to an architect for a sympathetic treatment, Emma said. Thats why its got structures in the bedrooms, thick walls and so on. But its also a contemporary modern home, open, airy and very serene. We designed the garden too its like a little bit of heaven.
We had been living in Sweden, and we were looking for Swedish-style homes in Northumberland. When I saw the larch trees and the log cabin, it reminded me of the summer cabins in Sweden.
The house has that airy Scandinavian feel, too. The kitchen opens into a conservatory that acts as a family room. Dividing the spaces is a fan-shaped breakfast bar inspired by Emmas childhood love of ice cream wafers.
We had to find a specialist company that could make the curved unit, Emma said. And the lights are in a curve to match it. The lights had to be installed before the bar, so it was an effort to get them to line up. And it took six men to carry in the solid granite bar top.
The results, however, were worth it. Emma said: Everything has to be practical, but it doesnt have to be boring. You can tweak it a bit to be enjoyable as well.
But while the family room is fun, the ensuite bathroom is a grown-up space of peace and calm. It has tiny lights in the roof, like stars, and a recessed shelf next to the bath with a sparkly mosaic. You can put candles there and they flicker on the colours its magical.
Downstairs, the hall features a curved wall. It could have been square, she said. But this was more fun it softens the hall, so it doesnt feel too square. When I look at things, I think how can I make it different, more fun, and more memorable?
And this creativity came out when Emma wanted bunting for daughter Charlottes birthday party. I had to make it myself because I couldnt find anyone who could make it in the colour and style I wanted, Emma said. Since then its just snow-balled.
People saw her bunting and asked Emma to make some for them. Now Emmas business, Little Bundles, produces bespoke bunting. It began with personalised pictures and lettering for children, then branched out into wedding bunting, then corporate bunting featuring commercial brands and products, for use at events and on trade stalls.
Emma makes the bunting herself and she said: I buy fabrics woven in Britain because I care about putting things back into my own country. Its great fun because every one is designed and made in a different way, so everything is new and exciting.
She works from home, and loves it. The house is on the Espley Estate and living there today, she says, is the best of both worlds. It feels like youre in the middle of nowhere but youre not abandoned and remote. We have 16 neighbours and we all look out for each other.
The estate originally belonged to Mr Bainbridge, founder of the eponymous store. Emma said: We have all the history. They used to put a Christmas tree in the chapel it was the first one in the Morpeth area. Then all the estate workers would come to the chapel to receive their Christmas presents.