A £2m investment has dramatically transformed a former Georgian stables on a country estate into The Coach House – a stylish new boutique restaurant and hotel near Richmond, North Yorkshire.
The new hotel is in the grounds of the Middleton Lodge Estate, an unusually intact Georgian estate comprising also the main house, walled garden, farm and outbuildings in a historic parkland setting. The old sandstone stables have now become a beautiful dining venue with nine individually designed en-suite bedrooms, overlooking the estate’s paddock and croquet pitch.
The ‘U’ shaped building also incorporates a professional kitchen, lounge, bar and snug with private dining room which will seat up to 24.
The Coach House has been a labour of love for the owner of the estate, James Allison, who grew up here. Taking over from his father Jeffrey 10 years ago, James had first realised the potential of the derelict stables back in 2002 and always knew he wanted to turn it into a unique venue.
Keen to create a dining destination unlike anywhere else in the North East, whilst keeping the main house as a private venue, James and his partner Rebecca (Design Director at Middleton Lodge Estates Ltd.) took inspiration from across the world to create a boutique restaurant and hotel that offered guests a relaxed atmosphere in a contemporary setting, whilst retaining its traditional soul.
The project was carried out in-house by Middleton Lodge Building Services Ltd.
“It really is a beautiful building and contemporary with the house, which was built in 1780. The original architects did a wonderful job – the building is very symmetrical with really well thought out details – for example we discovered that the walls and doors were slightly angled outwards, so that the doors would naturally shut by themselves,” Rebecca Tappin told Premier Hospitality, adding that the overall design ethos for the hotel is a contemporary take on a traditional country estate.
Up until recently, the building was used for storage and also accommodated various livestock including pigs and a horse.
Initial works on the scheme commenced with making the building watertight, which initially involved a comprehensive overhaul of the roof, salvaging where possible many of the original timbers, and matching with traditional techniques where necessary. Many of the original diminishing size slate tiles were still usable, so the original tiles have been mixed in with reclaimed westmorland slate tiles, cut to size where necessary to create a seamless match. Some of the sash windows were salvageable, others were replaced with exact copies, by local company Fletchers of Darlington, the workmanship of which was commended by Rebecca. New doors were also installed where the originals were beyond repair – including two sets of glazed doors infilling the two huge double arches at opposite wings of the stables. The original sandstone walls were also carefully cleaned up, and patched up with lime render where required.
Internally, some of the original plasterwork in the approximately 60 cover main restaurant has been retained at high level, so the original patina can still be seen. In many of the rooms, the timber beams are exposed. New stone floors were laid and wooden wall panelling was fitted in the restaurant and snug, replicating original panelling in the building. The bar area, which has large arched windows, features full height exposed brick walls, which had previously been a straw store. Another feature in this area is the use of vintage style lights with exposed filaments. The bar itself features a custom made pewter top.
The nine double en-suite bedrooms include the Hayloft bedrooms reached via an old stone staircase, five Garden bedrooms, each with its own small garden, and The Tack Room with its own fireplace and exceptionally large bathroom.
External works include the creation of the bedroom gardens and a planted courtyard with seating.
Original BTC were involved in this project supplying all of the lighting features used on the exterior of the building. The firm are experts in the design and manufacture of interior and exterior lighting features; the products used at the Coach House were handmade in the firm’s Birmingham based metal works.
Charlie Bowles from Original BTC commented:
“Our lights fit perfectly for this project and it has been great to be a part of the scheme.”
The hotel and restaurant has just opened and is already proving popular – “People are loving it and we are really happy with it too – everyone who worked on the project has done a fantastic job.” said Rebecca Tappin.
“Now it is over to the chefs and front of house team, who are doing a wonderful job. The food is exquisite, and the drinks are flowing – really the work is only just beginning, but we think it’s doing justice to this wonderful old building. Next up are plans to restore the kitchen gardens, and the creation of a spa in some of the outbuildings.”