A Suburban House That Shouts out LOUD; GROOVY: The Dining Room with Its Intense Colours and, Far Left, the Home the Shaws Have Transformed HOWARD WALKER STANDING OUT: James, Donna and Grace with Her Vivid Bedroom, Left, and, above, That Nun
Byline: LOWRI TURNER
Some people will do anything for their children, but it is certainly stretching things a bit for James and Donna Shaw to abandon their Twenties home in Newcastle upon Tyne so they can move to America to be nearer Donna's daughter, Amber. Especially as they have put so much effort into it.
Since moving in four years ago, the Shaws have completely restyled the house, injecting Donna's favourite bright colours into almost every room. The kitchen is a hot fuchsia, the dining room an intense turquoise, there is a coral hall and a cyclamen-pink bedroom.
'I don't like cream, I think it's really boring,' Donna, 44, declares, as if the house didn't make that point quite clearly enough.
The restyle has been a big success.
It has transformed what might have been an imposing, if a little fusty, suburban house into a fresh and even groovy six-bedroom, three-bathroom family home.
Amber, 18, fell in love with the American lifestyle after regular family holidays there. She moved to Boston in August and wants to take business studies at a US university next year. Her sister Grace, 15, a keen skier, is also going to Boulder, Colorado, with James and Donna for 'a better quality of life and the outdoors hobbies'. Both girls are from
Donna's first marriage to David Charlton - together, they created men's sportswear discount chain The Officers Club.
He bought her out as part of their divorce ten years ago and she and James, who also has a background in retail, are now in the lucky position of not having to work, hence their ability to up sticks.
However, Mum had better find a knockout house Stateside: Grace's British bedroom will take some beating.
It features a round bed - 'a bit of a nightmare to make', admits Donna - which echoes the round doorway into the en suite with integral sauna cabinet, no less.
It is testament to how much they want to relocate to America and reunite their family that they are selling the house for less than the [pounds sterling]1.3 million they paid for it. It went on the market in May for [pounds sterling]1.4 million but they have reduced this to [pounds sterling]1.25 million.
The price tag is in part due to its location in Gosforth, a suburb to the north of the city, sought after for its schools and green spaces.
Denise Craig, of local agent Jan Forster Estates, says: 'People often think that if they relocate to the North East they can pick up a great house for 25k, but that simply isn't the case any more. Gosforth is an affluent town that attracts wealthy young professionals. Houses over a million aren't rare.' Donna and James, 48, took down a wall between two reception rooms to create a large dining/sitting room..
They also demolished a corridor and utility room on the ground floor to enlarge the kitchen.
The kitchen now boasts an original Sixties white tulip table by Aero Saarinen, which Donna found on eBay. Above the table hangs an Ilva light shade made of different coloured metal discs. It's all very Austin Powers.
Some might have been nervous about trying to combine a betweenthe-wars house and Sixties furniture but Donna is nothing if not brave.
Unusual contemporary pieces such as the white leather window-seat cushions she had made for the dining room sit remarkably well within the home's architecture, perhaps because she has avoided clutter. …