This is the fascinating story behind Harrogate's most expensive house for sale

Pictured: The most expensive house in Harrogate.
Pictured: The most expensive house in Harrogate.

When the previous owner of Brackenholm sold her much-loved home of 40 years to Chris and Hazel Henry, she knew they would modernise the Arts and Crafts house.

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It’s doubtful that her imagination stretched as far as the radical remodel that has seen the square footage increase from 3,200 to 8,101 square feet of luxurious living space.

The property on Rutland Road, which the Henrys bought seven years ago, is now the most expensive house on the market in Harrogate.

For sale with Carter Jonas, it has a price tag of £3.25m, which reflects the sought-after location, the redesign and extensions.

“We fell in love with the house. It is imposing and its position at the gateway to the Duchy couldn’t be better.

“It’s quiet but it’s a short walk from the town centre and Valley Gardens,” says Chris, who adds: “The owner wanted to sell to a family and we have four children so we fitted the bill.

“We also wanted a property that we could put our own stamp on and we could see that this had amazing potential.”

Harrogate Council eventually agreed and gave planning permission for extensions to the rear and for a loft conversion.

Chris, who was looking for a project after selling his Leeds-based advertising agency, admits that he and Hazel got more than they bargained for when they started work on the house.

While they had renovated their previous home in Leeds, Brackenholm was on a much bigger scale.

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“It took a year to get planning permission and two years, rather than the one we expected, to do the work. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and that’s saying something as I used to run a business employing 100 people. The sheer magnitude of it made it time-consuming, not least because of the research on everything from light fittings to the technical aspects of flues and designing seven bathrooms.” says Chris, who admits that the spend was “well over budget.”

He, Hazel and their children rented while the work was ongoing and almost every waking moment was spent on the project.

“I concentrated on the structure and Hazel, who is very creative, did the interiors and collaborated on some areas with Yorkshire Design Associates and interior designer Caroline Gardner,” says Chris.

The front facade of the property was given a face lift with new windows and a trim of red engineered brick in keeping with Arts and Crafts style.

The Arts and Crafts movement, which began in the late 19th century, championed craftsmanship and the decorative arts and was a reaction against mass production. The rear too hints at this style but is much altered and has all the hallmarks of 21st century architecture.

The new look includes a single storey extension and a triple-height, glazed extension, which all combine to fill the house with natural light. All the glazing and the three metre high bi-fold doors onto the garden are by Leeds-based Express Bi-folding Doors.

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Inside, the hall has been enlarged but the reception rooms at the front of the house remain as a study and lounge/TV room. What was a collection of small rooms at the rear was combined

with the extension to make a new kitchen/living/dining space.

This is semi-open plan thanks to a partial wall incorporating a fire. There are sittings areas, dining areas and a bespoke breakfast kitchen.

“It’s a really sociable space and this is a party house. It can easily absorb 100 people,” says Chris, who had the basement converted to house a laundry and plant room.

The first floor is via a Corian and smoked glass staircase. Hazel worked with Helmsley-based Bisca on the design, which Chris says: “pushed the boundaries of what could be achieved.”

The first floor, which had four bedrooms and a bathroom, has been remodelled.and, thanks to the glazed extension, it now has a landing with views over the garden.

The principal bedroom has a dressing room and en-suite bathroom and there are three double bedrooms with ensuites and fitted wardrobes. Converting the loft space required clever engineering but has provided a spacious second floor, which is home to Chris’s favourite part of the house.

It includes a games room with a pool table, an entertainment area with cocktail bar and wine and beer fridges, and a cinema room. The top floor also has a gym and two double bedrooms, each with an ensuite shower room.

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Smart home technology and alternative sources of energy were included in the fit-out so there are solar PV panels, an air source heat pump and a home automation system controls the heating.

The property also has Lutron lighting and a Sonos sound system, CAT5 wiring and five booster points providing internet speeds of circa 40mb. Underfloor heating is installed throughout and there is a security system with CCTV and automated curtains and voiles.

The Henrys hired Marco Shrang to turn an orchard into a “more urban, London-style garden”, which includes a terraced entertaining area with an outdoor kitchen, barbecue, seating and a fire pit. A central is pool fed from a feature wall with waterfall.

“It was a lot of work but it was worth it because it has been a great place to bring up a family. We have really enjoyed living here but the children are grown up and we’d like to take on another property project,” says Chris.

“We gained a tremendous amount of experience doing this house and we want to put it to good use.”

*Brackenholm, Harrogate, has a hall, home office, lounge, boot room, a large, open plan living/dining/kitchen, laundry, plant room, six bedrooms with en-suites, a games room with bar, a cinema and a gym.

Simon Wright, of Carter Jonas, says: “This is arguably the finest example of contemporary living close to the centre of Harrogate.”

Tel: 01423 523423,