Like generations of young people who were raised on the North York Moors, Gorgeous Cottages owners Emma Raine and Graham Marshall moved away from the area in search of employment. Their journey took them all the way to Perth in Western Australia, but for 25 years, they kept alive a strong love of the moors with regular visits 'home' to see family and friends. And when they started their own family with the arrival of daughters Rosa and Ella, it seemed like a good idea to own a little piece of Yorkshire so the girls would feel a sense of their Yorkshire heritage.
So the Marshall family set about purchasing and restoring a neglected 1850s cottage in the historic village of Rosedale Abbey into a super holiday bolthole with luxury boutique hotel quality. As you can imagine, project managing the purchase, refurbishment and restoration of Rosella Cottage from Australia was tricky, but the process was just what the building needed to come alive again.
Rosella Cottage was transformed into a beautiful holiday cottage and launched with Gorgeous Cottages in early 2013.
Rosella Cottage – The Marshalls tell their story
So how did you get into the holiday cottage industry?
The time was right for us financially and we wanted to start the process of transitioning our lives from Australia back to Yorkshire. Going to Australia was a great move 25 years ago and the country has been good to us, but coming “home” is something we’re looking to do in the future. We wanted a cottage to use during our own holidays in Yorkshire and for our girls to feel a sense of connection to Yorkshire and all their relatives living across the moors.
What made you choose this particular cottage and this location?
We know the North York Moors and the villages and people here really well. Our own family connections going back through generations link us to Lockwood Beck, Farndale, Castleton and Whitby. Graham’s ancestors are all buried in the beautiful Temple-Moore Church of St Hilda in remote Danbydale, so the desire to purchase a cottage in the North York Moors with its beautiful landscape, lovely villages and Yorkshire folk was strong.
We also wanted a project that involved an element of saving a run-down and neglected property. So, having narrowed our search to a small number of villages, we set about finding an unloved home to bring back to life. That search narrowed ultimately to the village of Rosedale Abbey and eventually to us renovating Rosella Cottage.
What work did you have to do to the holiday cottage?
Rosella Cottage is quite small. When purchased it was a two-bedroom home with an upstairs bathroom, lounge, small kitchen and two outhouses. It occurred to us that the total floor area was around the same size as you’d have if staying in a large suite in a very high-end hotel like a Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria. Our number one aim was to make Rosella Cottage into a very comfortable and luxurious “space” for our own use – putting into practice what we’d learned from our own stays in good hotels and resorts over the years.
The main changes were completed upstairs. We knocked out all the internal walls and ceilings and started again with a blank canvas. We created a single “master bedroom” with a high vaulted ceiling with exposed roof timber to give a massive sense of space, and a big king-size bed for comfort! We also moved the original bathroom from the front of the cottage to the back and doubled its size to provide for a very nice en-suite with a super powerful walk-in “monsoon deluge” shower.
Through clever use of space, we even managed to squeeze in a new laundry space to provide clothes washing and drying capability for ourselves and our guests. Lastly, we knocked down the old outhouses to give us enough space to make a nice little sun patio for dining alfresco or enjoying the sunshine in the warmer months. So the cottage now has a luxury boutique hotel quality about it – with the added benefit of self-catering.
What are the highs and lows of owning a luxury holiday cottage?
Rural depopulation has been a problem on the North York Moors for decades. Rosedale in the 1850s was home to more than 3,000 people, but now there are only around 400 permanent residents. So having visitors in the Cottage enjoying Rosedale, providing income into the local economy in the village shops and Inns, and “keeping the lights on” in the cottage gives us a real sense of purpose.
Tourism is now the industry that will help keep young people on the North York Moors by providing the jobs and services that holidaymakers need. It’s nice to be a part of that industry, knowing that each guest that stays is helping provide jobs and income for local residents in Rosedale.
Any fascinating or interesting facts about the cottage?
Like nearly all the cottages in the small village of Rosedale Abbey, Rosella Cottage was built during the iron-mining boom around 1860 from stone “recycled” from the eleventh century priory that stood where the village is now located. Only fragments of the ancient priory now remain above ground in Rosedale Abbey. But you can still see the ancient staircase in the parish churchyard directly behind Rosella Cottage.
What would be your advice to anyone looking to buy a luxury holiday cottage?
Buy in an area you know well and which you know is popular with holidaymakers. Because “style” is such a personal and subjective thing, it’s best to use a good interior designer to style, decorate and furnish your property. They’re experts and help maximize the appeal of the property to a wide selection of tastes.
Tell me more about Rosella Cottage
Rosella Cottage is a charming one-bedroom holiday cottage which is perfect for active couples looking for a romantic and luxurious retreat. But it can also sleep youngsters on a family holiday on the comfortable sofa bed in the lounge. Graham and Emma designed Rosella Cottage for their own annual holiday with their young daughters and it works really well for them as a family.
So why is Rosedale a good holiday venue? Rosella Cottage is located in the centre of the small village of Rosedale Abbey which itself is situated in the geographical centre of the North York Moors National Park. The village is an ideal base for exploring all that the moors have to offer. Guests can stroll to three historic village inns, two cafes, the village shop, church, village green, and the renowned Gillies-Jones glassworks studio and gallery.
Rosedale is famous walking country and it is a great location for a MTB cycling holiday. It's also handily located for all the local historic market towns including Helmsley, Pickering and Malton as well as being just a short drive from the Yorkshire Heritage Coast and Whitby, Robin Hood’s Bay, Staithes, and Scarborough. Guests can also easily visit the popular attractions like the NYM Steam Railway, Castle Howard, the Howardian Hills AONB, York and Harrogate.
To find out more about the cottage just click on this link: Rosella Cottage