Last year I was asked to photograph a lovingly restored Georgian residence at Darley Dale.
It was a very special house with an interesting history. Darley House was bought over five years ago by Alex and Lucy Arterton. They could see the potential the house had to offer, and were unfazed by the restoration work that lay ahead of them, having restored two properties before, this was a challenge they were willing to take on, and with remarkable results.
One of the main attractions for buying the house was the garden and its history and its link with Joseph Paxton, the famous English gardener and architect who was head gardener at the nearby Chatsworth Estate. In 1845 he bought Darley House for his daughter, the gardens were landscaped in a similar design to Chatsworth. He was also the designer of the Crystal Palace and the prototype was built at Darley House.
Last September I was given the wonderful task of photographing the property. I love the variety of work I am offered and couldn't wait to get creative with this wonderful home. I arrived on a crisp and sunny autumnal afternoon, the front door was left unlocked so I could make my own way into the house. I was bowled over by the grandeur of Darley House. I had a lovely warm homely feeling, I wanted to kick off my shoes, put my cosy slippers on and move in. I was invited to stay overnight so I immersed myself in photographing the house and gardens. I very much enjoyed talking to Alex and Lucy about the restoration of their bolthole, they were wonderful hosts.
The reason for the photographs was so Lucy could market the property for people to come and stay, or attend a residential course or even hold their own. The house is available for hire for private groups from the end of March. Some of my photographs appear on the website which will tell you more, so you too can enjoy this hidden gem too.
Above, Darley House in 2010 with the garages on the right demolished to make way for the new kitchen, with vaulted ceiling and mezzanine floor. Below the transformation is amazing, with dozens of PVC windows replaced with artisan crafted Georgian-style box sashes and original vertically recessed wooden shutters were repaired.
Above preparing the floor in the kitchen. The restoration work used fourteen tonnes of authentic lime plaster on the walls. Some 50 to 60 bags of sheep wool were purchased to re-insulate the roof. The finished kitchen below is ideal to entertain friends and family or to host a business event.
The living rooms and bedroom suites have all been finished to a very high standard and make a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Thanks for reading, I'll be back in two weeks time with more news.