CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cheshire Life today CLICK HERE

Cheshire interiors - Lindow House, Wilmslow

PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 September 2017

Jo at work in her purpose built studio

Jo at work in her purpose built studio


Jo Deas’ Wilmslow house is a blend of art gallery and family home, says Kate Houghton, where her two worlds collide and meld to 
create perfect harmony.

The sitting roomThe sitting room

Jo Deas grew up in Birkenhead, studied graphic design and ilustration in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and moved to London to pursue a career working in magazines and designing book jackets and record sleeves. London soon paled however and she headed to Manchester for some northern comfort.

‘I met my husband, Ben, when I applied to live in a shared house in Chorlton, where he was already living. I carried on working, as a graphic designer for corporate identities, until we had our first child at which time we bought our first home in Wilmslow and I became a full time mum and had two more.

‘We moved three times in Wilmslow before we found Lindow House, which we just knew was the final home for us. It was built in the mid-1800s, just on the Georgian Victorian cusp; with its bay windows and double front (which now faces the rear garden, a change made prior to Jo and Ben’s arrival) it looked like a doll’s house.

‘We bought it in 2000, when it was just the original square block, in a rather rundown condition. There was so much to do. There was no central heating, black and white lino on all the floors, beige woodchip walls, an ancient kitchen and a tiny bathroom. What we saw when we first visited though was the space – the two main rooms downstairs had already been knocked through to make a single room, and it was fabulous, a sheer expanse of space, and we knew: finding a house like this, here in Wilmslow, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

No wasted space; the hallway is lined with shelvingNo wasted space; the hallway is lined with shelving

‘The first thing we did was strip all the floorboards, paint everything white and fit an Ikea kitchen. Then we lived in it. At the time our children were two, four and six and we had been in a much smaller Victorian house, so moving here was a huge step. We have just taken it one step at a time.’

When they were ready to make more major changes, the first thing Jo and her husband did was convert what was an ageing carport into a living kitchen, which runs right from the front to the rear of the property, with huge sliding glass doors at each end. It’s a truly relaxing living space with views onto greenery and garden.

Their most recent addition is glorious pool room; long and soothingly dim, it’s a place to relax and, Jo says, is used by the family every day, far after the novelty has worn off.

While Jo’s home is beautifully decorated throughout, what really gives it its charm is the wonderful art and unusual ephemera scattered around every room (from tiny people used in architect’s models to vintage printing plates to cast off antlers) and most particularly in their own gallery space.

‘There was an odd 1970’s extension along here,’ says Jo, ‘half external and half internal. We’ve enclosed it all and created our gallery.’

It’s a fascinating space, with a quirky mix of bits and pieces they have collected over the years, from travels in the UK and overseas. The most eye-catching feature, however, is the set of three large canvasses on the rear wall, all of which have been created by Jo herself.

‘When my oldest child went to secondary school I started to think about what I might do next. The graphics industry has moved on dramatically since I last worked in it. I had retained a creative outlet over the years by doing the set design and backdrops for school plays. I converted the spare room and just started playing about.

‘I had absolutely no confidence in myself, but I took one of my early pieces to a framer in Bollington and he really liked it; he advised me to take it to the Bollington Art Gallery, run by Fiona Bailey. She loved it.

The view through the living kitchenThe view through the living kitchen

‘Six years ago she organised an exhibition, here at Lindow House, with me and five other artists. I couldn’t believe it – I sold every piece! It’s so hard doing exhibitions; I was so nervous that either nobody would come or that people would come but not like it.

‘From that first exhibition I had a breakthrough with a property developer who asked me to fill a house he’d built with art, both my own and pieces I sourced especially for the spaces in the property. The house sold with all the art included, at the request of the buyer, and this led to further commissions from property developers, interior designers and homeowners. They invite me to see the space where they want to hang work and I will suggest size, framing and of course colour schemes. The whole package is really important; it’s a little like an interior design service, but with art.

‘Since that first commission it’s been a non-stop word-of-mouth process, but I am about to do my first public exhibition in years, as part of the Wilmslow Art Trail in October.

‘I’m doing an open house here, sharing the space with Alderley Edge artist Amanda Wigglesworth. Our work will be displayed in the gallery, kitchen, sitting room and my studio.

A classicly simple bathroomA classicly simple bathroom

‘I’m a real worrier and will really panic about it, I know, but at the same time I will enjoy it. I really like open house exhibitions as I think it really helps people see how art works in a room setting, making it much more accessible.

‘I think the first time I did it I knew I would feel like a failure if nothing sold. This time, with six years of success behind me, I’m a bit more relaxed and I’ll know if I don’t sell it’s because the right eye hasn’t fallen on it. There’s a lot less stress behind this than in my normal work.

‘For that, I have to go into a completely empty space and propose how to fill it, then create the piece and then put it in the space and then wait for the client’s response.

‘So far it’s all been great though!’

Wilmslow Art Trail runs from October 13-15 |

More from Homes & Gardens

The spirit of Rio’s Carnival came to Chester Racecourse as held its annual charity ball.

Read more
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Static caravan ownership numbers in Wales are some of the highest in the UK, we take a look at one of the most acclaimed caravan parks in the country which has become the holiday home destination of choice for the rich and famous.

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

The contemporary home that has it all, from location to a wealth of stunning amenities

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

Thursday 25th October 2018 saw the official opening of the new million-pound Head Office for local business Community Windpower Limited.

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Expect all the luxury and high standards of a 5-star service with the advantages of a personal touch.

Read more

Two new Kütchenhaus kitchen showrooms have launched in Cheshire and a uniting passion binds the teams behind them both.

Read more

Didsbury resident Beth Travers founded her own business in defiance of the establishment’s ‘you can’t come in’ attitude…and now doors are opening all around the globe.

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

This Prestbury family home combines traditional characteristics with luxurious enhancements

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gordon Cooke’s artistic flair and horticultural know-how combine to create an unusual garden

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

A stunning new development of ten luxury lodges at Plas Farm Caravan Park, Nant Lodges is the ultimate in holiday home retreats.

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wendy Radley looks back on an eventful first year of trade for the online flower boutique.

Read more
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fragrant flowers, fabulous garden designs and some poignant exhibits meant the 20th RHS Tatton Flower Show was blooming marvellous

Read more
RHS Tatton
Monday, September 3, 2018

This grand lodge in wooded grounds benefits from historic charm and modern amenities

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search