Cheshire Interiors - a beautiful six bedroom home in the heart of Congleton
PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 December 2013
Jon and Gail Booth have created a Congleton home that's just the perfect place to relax and enjoy Christmas
A beautiful six bedroom home in the heart of Congleton is where Jon and Gail Booth will be spending Christmas for the second time. But if they ever need a change of scene they can always go next door, because it’s theirs too.
Actually Jon’s daughter Holly lives there now with her partner Des Hamilton so they won’t be bursting in unannounced but it does mean they have none of the overcrowding problems some people have when their families descend for the festive season.
There’s an aura of blissful happiness around Gail and Jon as soon as you meet them at their new build six bedroom modern house just a short drive from Congleton town centre. Their lively dog Maisie also adds to the warm welcome at the house which was once a part of the next door garden.
In 2008 Jon applied for planning permission to build on the large patch of land which was part of his previous home, almost thinking it would never become a reality.
‘I hadn’t met Gail then,’ he says.
‘But the garden was huge and I’d got fed up with living where I was so I had this idea that I could move next door. So I own the house next door too.’
It took until 2010 to get the project off the ground. He not only had to get plans approved but make sure that the design was consistent with that in the rest of the street and with Gail permanently part of his life (they married in 2011) she also had input into the design of what was to be her new home.
‘The kitchen was supposed to be at the back of the house,’ she explains.
‘But it made better sense to put it at the front, so that the living space was opened out onto the garden. The brief was a traditional home but with a contemporary feel so I wanted Jon to use reclaimed Cheshire bricks, which he wasn’t too keen on at first - he likened it to building with cobbles.’
The end result of the pair’s hard work, is a large, yet delightfully welcoming house and the perfect retreat for Christmas with its engineered oak flooring with underfloor heating and Scandinavian woodburners.
We head into the beautiful bespoke kitchen from Cheshire Rose Interiors, Congleton. Jon makes us cappuccinos using the built-in coffee machine he originally thought they’d never use.
‘In fact we use it all the time,’ he says.
Another life-changer has been the kitchen range where the previous day Gail had made some delicious festive star-shaped biscuits.
‘I never used to bake,’ confesses Gail, a marketing consultant whose job takes her all over the world.
‘But I love that range. It is fantastic to cook on it. I’ve got three ovens, two in the range and one in the microwave and I’ve a warming drawer so now, when I’m cooking Christmas dinner I can keep things warm, something I always used to get into a tizz about.’
The couple were determined to use local suppliers as much as they could when creating their dream home.
‘We bought four bathrooms in two hours at Cheshire Rose. The guy said it was a record,’ says Jon with a laugh.
‘And they were absolutely fantastic. We just called in on spec and they said they would come and measure up. He designed it all and when we went back to the showroom at 3 o’ clock in the afternoon he’d got it all figured out, so we did a deal with them.’
One of the local businesses whose services will be essential at Christmas is the Flower Gallery on Little Street, Congleton.
Floral artist George Pagett supplied blooms for the recent wedding of One Direction Harry Styles’ mum and he knows exactly what is required to give a house a beautiful festive look.
The faux Christmas tree which Gail had positioned in the main living area was brought to life by draping clematis around its branches. He reveals that poinsettia in flower displays around the huge fireplace in the main living room is actually artificial, but by surrounding the gaudy flowers with winter foliage they are made to look real. He arranges lilies but then adds bits of garden foliage creating beautiful floral decorations that compliment the contemporary nature of the house.
The look for the living room would cost from £80-£100 he says, which compares favourably to the price of a real tree - but the advantages are that there are no needles to sweep up and if you are limited for space you can still create a festive vibe.
‘Holly and her partner Des came across last year and we had a party with lots of friends at New Year. It’s definitely a party house,’ says Gail.
‘But this year it will be far less stressful. Poor Rose at the curtain shop...we asked her if she could finish the curtains by Christmas! But she did them all and was even able to adapt the curtains we originally had downstairs for one of the upstairs bedrooms. They just seemed to look better up there.’
One of the couple’s shared passions is art and there are pictures hanging in almost every room. Gail loves the iconic pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn by Simon Claridge which hang in the open plan kitchen/living room.
‘We regularly visit Trentham Gardens, and the art shop there and the last time we went we came away with these Simon Claridges,’ says Gail.
‘And I love these,’ she says pointing to jolly cow paintings by artist Caroline Shotton. ‘This one’s called Always and for Heffer.’ She points out an original from the same artist in the downstairs loo. ‘It says Born to make you Happy. I bought that for Jon,’ says Gail who is clearly an inspired shopper.
Another artwork she commissioned for Jon’s 50th birthday is a picture of him as a teenager on his Chopper bike by the Sheffield artist Craig Davison. Jon had wanted another picture of the iconic bike of his youth by the artist but it was unavailable so Gail secretly e-mailed Craig and he created an original very special present using a photograph from the 1970s as inspiration.
‘It was a complete surprise’ says Jon, clearly delighted by such a wonderfully thoughtful gift.
Cheshire Rose Interiors: 01260 280868 www.bathroomfitterscheshire.com
Flower Gallery: 01260 270 177 www.theflowergallerycheshireco.uk
Rose Interiors: 01260 298 277