If you believe the estate agents, pretty much every terraced house now has a courtyard.
That’s because “courtyard” is the new name for “back yard”, now that people have started furnishing them with decking and garden chairs, rather than coal-bunkers and washing lines.
Real courtyards, though, are a little different. Originally, they were an outdoor space enclosed by a building – in fact, both the words “court” and “yard” come from the same linguistic root meaning an enclosed space – and strictly speaking, that’s what they still are.
Courtyards have become very desirable recently – estate agent Knight Frank listed them as one of the top property trends of 2013 – perhaps because they combine access to the outdoors with a strong sense of privacy, or even safety. The following four properties, all have courtyards and are all currently for sale in our area.
The Old Butcher’s Shop in Burton Leonard is set around a courtyard accessed via a carriage arch right through the middle of the main house.
Its former outbuildings are now very much a part of the home and form part of the two sides of the gravelled courtyard. The rest is enclosed by a high limestone and brick wall, making it a very private space.
The house, which has recently been comprehensively restored by the current owners, has four bedrooms, three reception rooms and even a clock room – whatever that is.
The Coach House at Plompton, between Harrogate and Wetherby, is a grade II*-listed Georgian coach house complex designed by John Carr, the architect of Harewood House. It has been converted into just six properties, which share a large central courtyard. The property for sale has some 2,000 sq ft of living space, including four double bedrooms, utility room and large boot room.
Its centrepiece, though, is its spacious, open-plan, high-ceilinged living room-cum-breakfast kitchen. The property has views to the south-west over open countryside, with a formal lawned and terraced garden, as well as private parking and an outdoor store.
In Harrogate, 1a The Mews on Princes Villa Road is another stone-built coach house property, with a high walled courtyard and garaging.
What makes the property possibly unique, though, is that it is one of the last – if not the last – remaining town-centre properties still to have stabling. Facing onto the courtyard are a utility room, tack room and stable store room – making its location, just off York Place and very close to the Stray, all the more tantalising.
Finally, just across the same part of the Stray, is The Coach House at 11a Back Tewit Well Road. Tucked away from public view on a private road, this property’s appearance from the roadside is deceptive. The four-bedroom house dates from 1895 but has been significantly altered over the last three years by the vendors, and now has under-floor heating, technologically advanced audio and comms wiring, and even mood ligthting options.
What makes it really special, though, is its stunning courtyard and conservatory areas, which are glazed over and supported by a German-made aluminium frame system. It has folding doors leading into the southwest-facing patio garden, which has raised beds and a bespoke fountain.