Wall to wall luxury for party people
David and Fiona Jackson bought the Sycamore Gap, an early Victorian house in Brampton, about six years ago as they needed a large family home for their three children along with David’s three older children.
The house was built in about 1860 and called Carrick House and owned by a local banker who sold it to the Lee family – descendent John Lee lives in Lanercost. It was sold, complete with tennis court and extensive grounds, to the local authority in 1906.
The poster advertising the auction of the house at Dalton ’s in 1906 is framed and hangs on the wall in the hallway.
Before they bought the house, the Jacksons had a home in Carlisle but spent most of their time in Spain . David was working as a freelance printing consultant and his work took him all over the world so Spain was as good a base as anywhere. Fiona is a former primary school teacher.
The couple soon realised the business potential of their new home. Running it as a guest house allowed David to live at home and be a hands-on dad to their younger children, Joshua, nine, Tilli, five and Alexa Rose, three.
Occasionally, they move out themselves and let out the entire house for a house party or wedding accommodation, sleeping up to 14 people. So it was a priority to make the five-bedroom house attractive to other people.
“Luckily the house was in good order when we bought it,” says David. “All we needed to do was decorate it to our taste and take a wall down to redesign the kitchen into a large room and make it the hub of the family.”
Sycamore Gap offers tasteful and luxurious accommodation and the privacy that comes with an entrance with electric gates - Brampton ’s version of The Ritz…
The kitchen is f looded with light from half a dozen large windows, and combines original features such as the parquet flooring with contemporary fittings. The dining end has a table seating 14.
The fireplace was sourced in Devon and the large wall clock came from Alba in Whitehaven. The kitchen was supplied by Pasha Interiors near Walton and has tops from Lakeland Granite in Penrith and Neff appliances. There is also an integrated wine cooler and display unit.
The sitting room was originally the smoking room and has two double doors – installed to ensure the women of the house were not party to male conversation. The room has an original carved oak ceiling with a chandelier.
The mirror over the original oak fireplace was brought over from Spain and the cream and gold sofas came from Donaldson’s in Carlisle . Fiona sourced the wallpaper from Laura Ashley.
The dining room has 7ft high windows, a wooden floor and a similar ceiling to the sitting room. A horse carving was bought on holiday in Egypt .
A door opens from the mini spa, which includes an infra red sauna, to an outdoor seated area which is covered by a gazebo and has a hot tub.
A broad staircase sweeps upstairs to the five distinctive bedrooms, each named after a site on Hadrian’s Wall . Fiona has kitted them out with white Laura Ashley bedding and pictures for sale by Andrea Braithwaite.
One room has a wall covered in a world map, which came from the USA . Corbridge has a mahogany sleigh bed and the largest en-suite bathroom.
Hadrian’s has a wall of hand-made bespoke wardrobes and drawers from Pasha Interiors and a door to a large balcony area where guests can breakfast outside in the summer. There’s an en-suite bathroom and a private entrance from the garden.
All the bathrooms have white fittings, Italian ceramic tiles and marbled flooring by Ceramic Systems in Kingstown , Carlisle . All the fittings were sourced and installed by local builder Ian Little.
* The full version of this article first appeared in Cumbria Life.