When I saw this home on Design Hunter I thought, at first, it must be in Brooklyn, New York, or Paris, or London, at least.
In fact, 47 Park Avenue is in East Yorkshire.
Delving into the blog’s archives, I found it has been featured by several bloggers and magazines, and many also seemed surprised to find a house like this in East Yorkshire. Of course, I know as well as you that there is some truly innovative design born here in Yorkshire.
The house owners are Michael and Jonathan, who share the five-bedroom Edwardian building with their bulldog and pair of pugs. Michael is behind much of the design and the blog cataloguing their renovations. The before and afters are, frankly, astounding.
His style is unapologetically bold, showy and indulgent. They gave up two bedrooms to have a dressing room each and Michael’s dressing room – influenced by that of J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons (remember how much I love her style?) – has a glass cabinet holding shoes, for goodness’ sake.
I am in awe and love it all.
Further on, you’ll see Michael was kind enough to answer my questions and share his style secrets but first, just take a few moments to drink it all in.
So where does Michael get his ideas for such a fearless style?
“I never know what or when something is going to turn my way of thinking upside down,” he told me. The key seems to be just try it to see if it works. He’s in the process of converting another bedroom into a TV room for Jonathan but hates the colour. “It’s only paint at the end of the day and you never know until you try.”
As well as the TV room, recently he’s added wood panelling to the second reception room and is looking at the master bedroom and en-suite. He’s thinking of something more decorative, and perhaps brick slips on the walls behind the basins and the bed. He’s also shopping for beds, curtain fabrics and patterned tiles for the floor underneath the bath.
The house looks extravagant, but that’s not the whole story. It combines designer pieces with high street bargains from Ikea and Homesense. Michael says his most extravagant buy was his pink George Smith sofa, but he’s also inclined to hunt out a bargain, like the leather sofa in the main reception room.
“Someone had ordered it, but when they saw it they didn’t like or want it, so it just sat on the shop floor! I knew the size and the price was going to put people off purchasing it so I waited and waited, until one day it had been reduced to a price I thought it was worth and that I was happy to pay. I then spent all week measuring it and the house to see if it would fit. By the time I had figured it all out the sofa had been reduced yet again! Bargain.”
It’s obvious how much energy and passion goes into the property, so is it a ‘forever house’?
“Funny you should ask!” Michael said. “It’s one of our main topics of conversation.
“No – this house isn’t our ‘forever home’ even though we love it. I feel like I’ve got two more moves left in me.
“As we are now in Yorkshire full-time we’ve been talking about maybe getting a bigger place and one that covers off all of our wants and needs. Maybe when we decide to sell the London house we can then look into a ‘forever home’.”
Michael’s roots are in East Yorkshire: he moved to London when he was 20. He never planned to move back to the north, but that changed when his sister became pregnant. The idea was just to have a house as a base but 47 Park Avenue has taken over somewhat.
Now Michael’s also set up an online store, where he proudly shows off and sells products designed and made nearby. He’s just sending two pieces by a local artist to New York.
He said: “It’s still early days as I only launched the store at the end of September last year. I had no idea when I started the blog that I would end up with an online store showcasing the talent of people from East Yorkshire.
“I’m on the lookout for more local artists within the area and I have plans for a downloadable podcast of locally produced music. The list is endless!”
With all this knowledge I was desperate to know his favourite place to shop and visit in Yorkshire.
“Salts Mill. I love David Hockney. Here you can see so much of his work, and the prints, books, architecture – it’s all very exciting.”
Huge thanks to Michael for answering my questions and letting me feature his incredible house.
What do you think to it? Could you choose a favourite room?