Ilkley, UK – A Home Tour of an 1880 Row House


I’ve known Karen and her sister Anne since fourth grade. Karen was my best friend growing up and ultimately, my maid-of-honor. Anne is her older sister. During play dates, Karen and I were silly girls who avoided (the more mature) Anne, as we played top secret spy games under the stairs. After high school, Karen and I only saw each other every few years. I rarely saw Anne, especially after she met the love of her life in Japan and followed him to his childhood home in England. Anne and Chris settled into a beautiful old row house in Ilkley, UK, where they are raising their daughter and two twin boys. It has been years since I’ve seen Anne, but when we were contemplating our trip to the UK this summer, I thought it would be fun to look her up and visit with her and her family. We had such a wonderful visit with them and I fell head over heels in love with their home.


I begged them to let me share their home on the blog, so be sure to thank them!


Come right this way, I have one of those antique keys to unlock the front door. Can you imagine how many generations of families have used this same key hole?


The first thing you notice as you walk in the door is the amount of beautiful wood, molding and character in their home.


A little background, their home was built about 1880 and has four floors. The kitchen on the downstairs floor, a living room and library on the main floor, bedrooms upstairs and two additional rooms on the top floor. Right this way and I’ll take you on the tour.


The plaster ceiling medallions look like frosted wedding cakes!



More beautiful details. Scrumptious!!!


What I love most about their house was the natural patina of wear on the doors.


Can you imagine the fingers that touched this door? What was life like for a young child in 1880? Did he or she leave sticky finger marks on the door? Or did he poke at the door to leave the patterned dots. Oh if only doors could talk!


Not to be outdone, the wood floors in the home are amazing. The age and beauty of the wood yearn to tell of bare feet and boot scrapes for over 100 years.


One of my favorite rooms is one of the twin boy’s room. He has a skylit (and moonlit) room on the top floor.



The velux window opens to let fresh air inside.


From his window you can see across the countryside.


If you look the other way you get a nice view of Ilkley’s signature rock formations the Calf and the Cow (The stones jutting out on the hillside.):


Can you imagine sleeping under the stars? It almost feels like you’re camping.



Another beautiful door. I love the exterior lock mechanisms and the wooden knob.

Gorgeous old floors, with wide gaps reveal no subfloor, but the ceiling of the rooms below. I’m sure there are lots of hidden treasures and maybe some notes under those floors.


On the second floor are the rest of the bedrooms. I had to take a picture of their daughter’s bed with the diamond finials.


A painting in the master bedroom caught my attention. I am in love with the colors and the country road that disappears to hidden destinations.


Head downstairs to the lower level to my favorite room.


Past another old door that hides storage and a washing machine.


Into the kitchen.


Even though this is the ground level of the home, there is lots of beautiful light that floods in from the courtyard outside the window



The farmhouse table is the star of this room. Both our families and my mom fit around the table for dinner and breakfast.




You might have noticed that original stone mantel in the room. Before it was closed up, this was where older generations created a fire to cook over. The stone bears the marks of many a delicious open-hearth cooked meal.


On cool nights a fire in the wood burning stove makes this chair the prime spot for reading.


Check out the cute little wool artwork that their daughter made:


Step outside the kitchen door into the lush courtyard.








There’s a funny story about this gate. During dinner, Chris and Anne mentioned that they forgot the bread. Chris ducked out the kitchen door saying he’d be right back. A few minutes later he came back into the kitchen with bread rolls in hand. I thought they had a food storage pantry beyond the gate. It was revealed to me later that the gate leads to a little alley way and that he actually ran down the lane to the store a block away. Apparently they fool many guests with their abundant supply of food and drink.


Judging by the curvature of the steps, Chris and Anne aren’t the only ones who have used these steps to sneak out the back.


What did you think? Isn’t their home charming? I could easily settle into life in Ilkley.



  1. Sara B. says:

    We were in the UK a couple of summers ago and had the BEST time. I have been begging my husband to look for a transfer ever since. What a charming home your friend has!

  2. They do have a lovely home. I adored the simplicity and homey comfortable feeling that the English just seem to have a knack for. And that patio area! Oh yes, I would enjoy that. I’ve always wanted to visit England. You’re lucky to have friends there.

  3. I love how the English have flowers everywhere! When I was in Greece I noticed that every house, no matter how small or humble, had a place to sit outside and a pot of flowers. I am now going to paint my front door blue

  4. What an absolutely stunning home. It seems so welcoming; I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with it. Thank you for sharing! xx

  5. Nice article and photos! I thought I should point out that the holes in the door are from thumb tacks, to hold up reminder notes (tape and post-its didn’t exist in the 19th and early 20th centuries).

  6. That home is beautiful. I love the wood, and it’s just so warm and inviting. And I could live in that garden! What a treat to get to visit an old friend and enjoy her beautiful home. Thanks to her and to you for sharing!

  7. How charming indeed Brittany. Thank you for posting this wonderful home & all it’s history and charm. Your beautiful photos and writing transported me right there. Thank you to Anne & Chris for sharing such a treasure.

  8. We call them terraced houses in the UK, and this certainly is a beautiful example.

  9. Thanks, Anne and Chris, for letting us take a peek into your beautiful home! What wondrous stories it could tell, and your family is continuing to make great memories there as well…..

  10. Erika Jones says:

    Lovely home, Anne and Chris- thanks for sharing! I, too, live in a row house built in the 1880s, but in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is fun to see the similarities (woodwork, doors, modern updates mixed with the old) and differences. Old homes have their quirks and challenges, but I love when the history and character shine through.

  11. Robin Y. Smith says:

    Love the TARDIS-blue front door!

  12. Thank you, and your friends, for sharing their charming home! I’ve loved your posts on the UK – we were there at about the same time and just didn’t get enough!! Your photos are gorgeous.

  13. Courtney R says:


    I just found your blog and I saw you live in NC so my ears perked up. I grew up in NC and currently live in Greenville, NC so we are practically neighbors! I saw your home tour, what a dream…. I loved the moon details in your son’s room. My 2 years old is OB-sessed with the moon (I blamed Despicable Me).

    I look forward to learning from your blog!!

  14. What beautiful photos, Brittany! You have such a perfect eye for detail and an imaginative appreciation for the history of the home–I’m sure Chris told you about the history of the neighborhood and the people who used to live on that street. I’ll make sure that the kids see the photos of their home! A. especially will love seeing his bedroom highlighted on the internet. Miss you and sorry we couldn’t make it over there at the same time! xoKaren

  15. so lovely – felt like I was transported there… my favorite was the kitchen and courtyard too :)

  16. Jackie B says:

    What a beautiful home! So inviting. LOVE the blue doors too – like you, I’m always drawn to blue!

  17. Chris Creighton says:

    You really have a good eye for photos! You made our house look amazing.
    We are just back from the USA, where I enjoyed visiting some beautiful American homes. I do love the sense of space that you have over there.

  18. Hi, I am from the UK and as a previous poster said, they are called teraced houses here. The great thing about them is that your neigbours on either side help keep your house warm.
    I think the holes in the door are woodworm holes. A small insect lays eggs in the wood which hatch and eat the wood from the inside then munch their way out before pupating and leave those tiny round holes. How do I know ? ‘cos we had them in our floorboards. These are obviously ancient, the insects are long gone and anyway only affected a small part of the door.
    What are absolutely amazing are the sash windows in the living room and kitchen, they look original and very well restored. I dont think they have double glazed panes, it is hard to tell from the photos.
    I love the fact that they have the same lampshades that I have. They obviously have great taste.
    Absolutely loved this post. Thank you so much for sharing.

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