Bringing 'life and love' back to ex-coffee shop
By Lyndsay Oxley - Reporter
A MOTHER and daughter have embarked on their first joint venture to bring luxury boutique holiday accommodation, a cafe and a gift shop to a dale village.
Mum Dawn Wilson and daughter Chloe Wright are the driving force behind Winstonberry, which is due to open in Gainford this month.
The idea has been in the pipeline for years but it wasn’t until the pair stumbled across an 18th century Georgian townhouse, overlooking the village green, that they knew they’d found the base for their new venture.
Ms Wilson, who lives in Hamsterley, said: “We have been searching for quite a long time but after Christmas we decided that this year we were really going to look
hard and find something. We have both had our sights set on something like this for ages.
“We are always drawn to old properties because of the character and the space. As soon as I saw it I fell in love with it.”
The pair are currently working all hours to renovate the listed building which was the former home of The Laurels Coffee Shop.
They have also come to learn that the building, which dates to 1712, was once a school and a doctors’ surgery.
When the work is complete, downstairs will be home to a dog-friendly cafe which will offer quality coffee and also cater for vegans and vegetarians. This will be the only daytime cafe serving coffee in Gainford. Having worked in the hospitality industry for years, Ms Wright, who lives in Wolsingham, said: “We would like people to come and for it to be a very social place.
“We are thinking afternoon teas, sharing platters and doorstopper sandwiches.
“We are not going to go down the meal route. There will be good coffee and a nice selection of wholesome food.”
They are also hoping to apply for a licence to sell alcoholic drinks. The gift shop will sell deli products, home accessories and gifts. Work by local artists will be on offer as well as artisan products such as jams and chutneys. Ms Wright said: “We are tentatively toying with different things at the moment. We want it to be different.”
Meanwhile upstairs, three of the property’s four bedrooms are being refurbished.
There will be two double rooms and one twin room which together will sleep between six and eight people. There is a communal kitchen, lounge area and shared bathroom facilities.
Each guestroom will be decorated with a mural handpainted on the walls by Ms Wilson, who is a fine artist. Guests can also expect quirky, high-end furnishings.
Ms Wilson said: “I feel really sad that old properties are left. They offer so much. We are bringing love back into this building.
“I think the biggest risk we have taken is the location because it is out of the way but if you create something special people will come and that is what we want to create.”
Later they hope to offer a function room downstairs which would host a programme of creative workshops.
For more information visit www.winstonberry.co.uk.