Falling in love again: Why Shelf-born Linda Barker is selling dream cottage

Linda Barker and her cottage for saleLinda Barker and her cottage for sale
Linda Barker and her cottage for sale
Celebrity designer Linda Barker's cottage on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds is for sale after her heart was stolen by a gorgeous Georgian property.

THE decision to put her beautiful house in the East Riding on the market was a difficult one for Shelf-born interior designer Linda Barker.

Stradbroke Villa has been her second home for 16 years and she adores it. Picture-perfect, it’s in the pretty village of Ellerton, on the edge of the Wolds, and just down the road from her sister, the ceramicist Jill Ford.

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The plan was to move from London to her native Yorkshire and make Stradbroke her main home, but then she fell in love and love changed everything.

“I was browsing on Rightmove one Sunday morning when I saw the most unbelievably beautiful Georgian house that needed a lot of work. It was the house of my dreams.

“I went to see it and that was it. I just knew I had to have it,” she says.

The property is in a quiet village east of Hull, within striking distance of the city and the coast. Already familiar with Hull after being involved with the City of Culture, she is now even more enamoured.

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“It a gem. It’s very vibrant and I really like the people. There’s quite a young crowd in the city centre and there’s are some great independent shops and cafes like Thieving Harry’s and Cocoa Chocolatier, along with independent galleries, which is very exciting and refreshing. It’s also pretty well connected. You’re soon on the M62 and the train to London takes two-and-a-half hours.”

She and her husband, Chris, have already started renovating the “gorgeous Georgian”, which needed replumbing, rewiring and re-roofing, among other things. With phase one over, they will embark on phase two when Stradbroke Villa is sold.

“At the moment the kitchen has an oven, sink and table and I bought a sofa, some old pub chairs and some tables from the Emmaus charity shop in Hull as temporary fix. It’s a brilliant charity and a cause close to my heart,” says Linda, who adds:

“I want to to take the interior design slowly and spend time thinking about it because I want to make the right decisions for what will be our long-term house.”

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Designing interiors is what brought her TV fame. Brought up in Shelf, she attended Bradford Girls Grammar School before taking an art foundation course at Halifax’s Percival Whitley College.

A gifted painter, she was also a dab hand at interior design and her talent was spotted by BBC producers in 1994 when she became an instant hit on Changing Rooms. She has starred in home makeover shows for more than 20 years, while continuing with private design commissions and consultancy.

Her latest TV project is a new series of 60 Minute Makeover, now showing on the Quest channel. Linda used her talents to transform Stradbroke Villa, which has four bedrooms, and is for sale at £475,000 with Savills.

“We wanted to create a comfortable home that was easy to maintain, while blending the rural cottage feel with a contemporary vibe,” says Linda, who added an oak and glass extension to provide a new kitchen and dining area with a large bathroom and master bedroom on the first floor above.

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The kitchen cabinets are from a range she designed for Wren and local stone specialists J. Rotherham provided the worktop. The sitting room next door has comfy sofas from MultiYork and the walls are painted in Zoffany’s Storm Grey. Upstairs, there is a bathroom with a freestanding tub positioned in front of a large window and skylight. Leading off the bathroom is the master bedroom, painted in calming smoke grey. Linda upholstered the headboard to match and added fashionable, industrial light fittings from Yorkshire-based Factorylux.

Linda’s treasure hunting, upcycling expertise and the sewing skills learned from her mother, are evident everywhere. The carved wooden bed was found in a salvage yard and given a coat of off-white paint before being tucked under the eaves. She made the birdcage light from an old parrot cage.

Outside, the garden was redesigned to include raised beds, a pergola and timber decking, which is the platform for the outside dining area, overlooking open fields.

“It’s a lovely house and the village is great. There are fantastic walks from the doorstep, a pub and a village hall but it’s time to go and I am really enjoying have another project to work on,” she says.

“We’ll keep a small place in London for work and because our daughter, Jess, is there, but I can’t wait to move back to Yorkshire for good. I love it here.”