Hexham home was meant to be for couple
The Coach House on Allendale Road in Hexham is an impressive Grade II-listed property dating from around 1840 and full of charming period features.
Rochus Braun and Nicola Ledingham have lived there for almost six years with Hexham then new to both of them as Rochus is from Switzerland and Nicola is Scottish.
She said: "I’d located from Edinburgh to a job in Newcastle. We liked the Tyne Valley and most people said to us, 'If you’re going to live out there, we would advise you live in Hexham' so we came out for a look and we thought it was wonderful."
The house is on the road to Lowgate and has views towards Hexham. It is a large property with original and interesting additions such as a working bell tower, restored clock face and weather vanes. Rochus said: "It was part of a bigger estate called Summerrods. They originally built the Coach House in a more beautiful way than usual. It’s not an agricultural building, it’s actually done in a Rococo style with a bell tower to alert people when the coach was ready.
"Nikolaus Pevsner mentioned it in his 1957 book, Buildings of England. It was already converted to a house when we moved in, we extended it a little bit but not much as it was really nice already. It had loads of original features like old doors, the chimneys, it's full of those little details.
"We didn’t need to put in a new kitchen or bathroom – we felt it suited the character of the Coach House not to because I think you can overdo it by putting in something which is very beautiful but not actually in keeping with the house."
The property has underfloor heating in the majority of the ground-floor rooms. These comprise a lovely large drawing room with exposed beamed ceiling and a stone inglenook fireplace, a study with feature stone fireplace and built-in shelving and a lounge with high vaulted ceiling, four windows and a wooden floor.
The breakfasting kitchen retains the rope pull for the bell tower and a flagged stone floor. In addition to underfloor heating, it has a wood-burning stove, an Aga and a door to a rear terraced courtyard. A cellar has fitted shelving while upstairs are the light and airy en-suite master bedroom, two further bedrooms sharing the family bathroom and a minstrel's gallery overlooking the lounge which has exposed beams, stripped wooden floor and skylight and is currently used as a fourth bedroom.
Nicola said: "I love the fact that the house is quite secluded but actually very close to Hexham. We first drove down the driveway on a really sunny day and I was thinking, 'This is just absolutely wonderful'.
"There’s a piece and tranquillity about the house which is amazing and all the period features are absolutely fantastic. It just has a nice feel to it.
"The driveway is shared with two other houses – we are very close neighbours, they’re wonderful but the way the houses are unless we actually physically want to meet, we don’t bump into each other. So I know they’re over the wall and very close by, I meet them in the supermarkets in Hexham but we don’t see them that often when we’re coming in and out."
Rochus and Nicola met in the Alps while they were training to take part in a marathon in Switzerland. They are moving back to Switzerland - where she has a job as an anaesthetist and he may pursue a master's degree in art - for a different lifestyle and change of climate for their sons Oran, three, and Arlo, 20 months.
"We're going to the Italian part, not the bit Rochus is from," said Nichola. "It's an absolutely beautiful area and a beautiful lifestyle."
The Coach House, Summerrods, Allendale Road, Hexham, is for sale at £595,000 from Grey Estates, tel. 01434 700077.