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Holmwood Articles

Henry Vickers (1807-1882) built Holmwood House Ecclesall in 1864, later owned by Def Leppard's bass guitarist Rick Savage.

Victorian Hall Charm & Character 6 Reception Rooms 7 Bedrooms 6 Bathrooms Self-contained Apartment Self-contained Cottage Substantial Grounds

May 30, 2004 - The Mail on Sunday

Black leather, gleaming silver, fast cars, girls in their scanties . . . these are the very least you would expect to find in the home of one of the towering figures in British heavy metal. You're ready for Spinal Tap territory, where pool tables are the size of tennis courts, platinum discs line the walls and sofas are swathed in animal skins.

Except that's not the case - bar a disc or two - at Holmwood House in Sheffield, home of Rick Savage, the 43-year-old bass player of rock band Def Leppard. Instead, his Victorian mansion, built in 1864 out of honey-coloured Derbyshire gritstone, rolls with restrained good taste, high-quality antique furniture and domestic contentment. The world of albums like Hysteria and Pyromania, which alone sold nine million copies worldwide, is light years from the comfortable interiors of Savage's home, which he shares with fiancee Paige Hannon, 34, the mother of his two sons, Tyler, nearly four, Scott, two, and his stepdaughter Jordan, ten.

'I have never been one for the over-the-top,' says Rick. 'I prefer the rather old and battered, things with character, to the brand new. Mind you, my best mate just calls a lot of this stuff junk.' Perhaps his low-key style pays off, however, as he is rarely found by the fans who scour his home city of Sheffield for him, where he lived until he was 21.

'It is a mystery that I live here. When they do find me, they say, "Oh, so that's where he lives". To be honest, they are more bothered about the boxer - Prince Naseem - who lives next door.' There's trace of heavy metal flamboyance on the iron entrance gates that automatically open on to a sweeping drive. Rick has had treble and bass clefs set into them. 'This is the nearest you'll get to me being extravagant,' he says. A far cry from the aesthetic vision of fellow rocker Ozzy Osborne, who has been showcasing his LA haunt on global TV.

When Rick and Prince Naseem decided to return to their roots, they both chose the trendiest area of Ecclesall, on the south-west side of the city.

'Ecclesall Road is hardly Dublin's Grafton Street or the King's Road in London, but it does have its fair share of wine bars and boutiques,' says Rick.

After struggling through several tough years with its steel industry on the wane, the city is finally on the up. According to Andrew Winter, of local estate agent Blundells: 'Sheffield still sits behind Leeds and Manchester in wealth terms, but the industrial buildings and old workshops are being turned into luxury apartment blocks.'

Two-and-a-half years ago Rick moved back home from Ireland, where he resided as a tax exile and met Paige. But it has taken some getting used to. 'I was happy in Dublin because it is very cosmopolitan,' says Paige. 'When I first arrived here, I thought I had come to Emmerdale Farm.' But now she enjoys the fabulous views of the countryside and the friendliness of locals who like to pass the time of day in supermarkets and shops.

When Rick first came to view the house, which was built for armaments magnate Henry Vickers, it was in a sorry state. In the Thirties it was converted into offices - all little boxes, partitions and pokey corridors. 'We really worked from the outside in, carrying out a big demolition job.' Rick estimates the house itself and restoration cost [pounds sterling]2 million, and the work took the best part of 18 months.

Although Rick is modest about his design skills, he planned the whole layout of the house with the help of local architect Chris Gothard. With a professional football career with Sheffield United under his belt and now a second job as a millionaire rock star, Rick could think about going into design. Explaining his philosophy, Rick says: 'Once you've got the original shell back, you just stick with it.' Sticking with it has meant painstakingly replacing every oak floorboard, stripping offending paintwork from the stone and having all the mullioned windows, many of which are floor to ceiling, specially built.

Rick has opted for reclaimed Victorian radiators - and when you are putting in 27 to keep six reception rooms, a library, music room, seven bedrooms (six with en suites) and a self-contained, one-bedroom cottage warm, this is a bit of an investment. 'Standard radiators would just blow the vibe,' he says. 'I had the same in our house in Dublin and they cost the earth. But it is worthwhile getting it right.'

Rick has even solved the conundrum of the tower. From the outside there appears to be one, but it is mysteriously absent on the inside. 'I didn't want to disappoint people and I wanted a tower,' he says, so he had a self-contained apartment installed with stone steps leading up to it. Tyler enjoys a taste of tower living too, with a little turret anteroom off his bedroom.

The house is spacious, but 'you never feel all that remote', says Rick. The main reception rooms lead off one side of a grand entrance hall, while the kitchen, breakfast and utility rooms are on the other side. Rick's favourite place is what the particulars call the snug, but could be more aptly named Rick's Bar. 'This is my room,' he says. 'This is where I watch football while the kids watch cartoons.' A huge antique mirror bought in Dublin was the starting point for the design. Rick had the bar, with its smoked mirrors and granite top, built to match. A wide-screen television, comfy club chairs and sofa and cigars complete the Casablanca-style scene.

Rick has hung many of his gold discs and a Rolling Stone cover of the band in this room. 'This is the first time I've put them out. It seemed OK in a private space like this,' he says. However, he is proud to point out an old black-and-white photo of himself scoring a goal against Stockport in 1975 when he played for Sheffield Under-15s.

His other quiet space, now that the children have 'trashed' the main drawing room, is the music room, with light flooding in on two sides, a grand piano and a double bass. 'This is my escape. I listen to music here with no TV and no kids.' He has also made one of the four garages into a small studio, where he writes his songs.

Def Leppard's latest project is a covers album of hits from the Seventies for release in September. 'We are playing songs from all the great rock bands, including David Bowie and Roxy Music. It originally was a bit of fun for us and then the record company got excited.'

Rick has also designed the master bedroom suite running along the entire back of the first floor, with the bedroom overlooking the two-tiered garden and countryside. It leads on to a dressing room and en suite with his and hers sinks and a wet room with two showers - 'the bigger one is like standing under a warm downpour,' he says. A gym follows, but when asked if he uses it much, Rick points to the sunbed and grins: 'I use that a lot.' He keeps pretty fit on tour, he says, burning a lot of calories on stage. As well as the self-contained apartment, ideal for a nanny or a teenager, there is a one-bedroom cottage with a garden. Rick's mum Sally, 73, has been living there, and although they will miss having her next door, she will only be 15 minutes away when they move.

For despite all the work Rick and Paige have put into Holmwood House, they have bought a downsized modern version five minutes away. 'It is similar room-wise,' says Rick, 'but a shrunken version. We plan to get somewhere in Dublin as well.' So while this might not be a 'rock till you drop' party pad, as the lyrics to Def Leppard's hit go, anyone searching for a fine period mini-stately family home need look no further.

Holmwood House is for sale at [pounds sterling]2.8million through Blundells, 0114 268 3333.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Solo Syndication Limited


October 6, 2004 - From The Evening Standard

Heavy rock group Def Leppard may be playing to packed audiences in America, but its bass player Rick Savage (right) is having difficulty selling his seven-bedroom mansion in Sheffield. After five months on the market he has reduced the price to [pounds sterling]2.45 million through local agent Saxton Mee. Apart from the treble and bass clefs set into the electric iron gates, Holmwood House bears little evidence of a group that has sold nine million copies of its albums Pyromania and Hysteria.

Living Space: House built on heavy metal

November 21, 2004 - From The Sunday Times

Rick Savage, bass player with the thunderously loud heavy metal band Def Leppard, could have had a mansion in Beverly Hills — but he lives in Sheffield, where he grew up in a three-bedroom terrace house. “This is the other side of me, the family side,” Savage, 43, says of Holmwood House, his imposing Victorian stone mansion. “In the late eighties, I had a flat in Los Angeles. You would meet all these famous people on Sunset like Guns N’ Roses and Motorhead and I’d say, ‘Come back to my place’. It was like being back on tour.”

For four years he’s lived quietly in Sheffield — so quietly that the other band members have visited only once — with his wife Paige, 34, their children Scott, 2, Tyler, 4, and Paige’s 10-year-old daughter Jordan. The house has six reception rooms, seven bedrooms and six bathrooms, plus an attic flat. The entrance hall alone is 14 metres long, ending in a vast oak staircase that spent much of the last century covered in gloss paint. When Savage bought Holmwood House in 2000, it had been used as offices for 70 years. He paid £900,000 and spent another £1m doing it up over 18 months.

His favourite room is the bar. “This is my room,” he says. “I can have Sky Sports on and everybody else can do what they want to do. We’ve got two satellite dishes so I can always have the sport on.” On the walls is part of his collection of Def Leppard gold and platinum discs from the past 25 years. The band, whose album Hysteria sold 12m copies in America, are likely to tour again next year.

It’s obvious that Paige has influenced the decor of the house. She wouldn’t let Savage have the bar the way he really wanted it. “I said we should make it like a tap room but my wife said over her dead body,” he recalls. Instead, a huge mirror is the centrepiece, with a bar carved to match the frame. Even the music system is hidden away in a cupboard.

There are oak floors everywhere, with enormous colourful rugs, plus modern, unframed pictures to remind you that this isn’t 1864, when the mansion was built. Everything’s subdued and tasteful and more Radio 3 than Def Leppard. The music room has none of the bass guitars for which Savage is famous. They’re locked away, and instead there’s a 1910 Steinway grand piano, a double bass and a harp picked up in a Dublin junk shop.

But a while ago, he and Paige decided the house is just too big for family life. Now they’ve bought a five-bedroom house nearby and Holmwood is on the market at £2.45m. The price has been slashed from summer’s £2.8m ticket, but with its mere acre of garden and lack of swimming pool and stables, it has yet to find a buyer.

Still, Savage is philosophical. As far as he’s concerned, houses are just like rock’n’roll. “If you do it right and for the right reasons, it works out in the end,” he says. “I’m proud I’ve put the house back to its former glory.”

Holmwood House is for sale through Saxton Mee, 0114 275 5117, www.saxtonmee.co.uk

Rick's £2m Def Res

18 January 2005 - www.thestar.co.uk

IT IS a home fit for a rock star - but it has cost Def Leppard rocker Rick Savage a cool £1 million to get it that way.

More familiar with legions of heavy metal fans across the globe as a man who puts rhythm into one of the world's biggest bands, the Sheffield mansion is a dramatic contrast to how most music folk see the star.

He may be Savage by name, but he's anything but by nature.

And taking in the chandeliers, the imported marble fire surrounds and the lovingly restored ornate coving, you can see Sheffield-born star has more than just an eye for a good tune. That said, you'll be hard-pressed to spot an electric guitar in the music room at Holmwood House, tucked away in leafy Ecclesall. In fact, the 1910 Steinway grand piano, double bass and a harp rescued from a junk shop suggest a jazz musician rather than the bass player in one of the first British stadium rock bands to crack America.

Rick, who recently married his Irish girlfriend Paige at a discreet city ceremony, saved the building, constructed in 1864 for armaments manufacturer Henry Vickers, from the hands of developers. The couple bought the place in 2000 and spent 18 months transforming it into a family home for them and their three kids. Now it is a palace with modern and antique touches - and seemingly no expense spared.

"The firm that owned it had a few good offers for it, but they took mine because I was the only one who wanted to turn it back into a house and I could guarantee them a quick completion," says Rick, 44. "The others were all developers who wanted to turn it into apartments, which meant getting tied up waiting for planning permission." Rick says he was originally drawn in by the gates and driveway leading to the house, formerly used as offices since the '30s.

It cost him £900,000 and - despite the huge £1.2m outlay in restoring it to its former glory - the only clues as to the rock star resident are the music notes he had set into the entrance gates. Inside the gold and platinum discs, earned by Def Leppard's massive record sales across the world, confirms the business of the owner, however.

Rick and Paige settled on the place when they decided to quit Dublin, where Rick had lived for 10 years as a tax exile. Having enjoyed life at a beachside property in an exclusive post code shared by Bono among others, he decided to bring their sons Tyler, aged four, and Scott, three, and Paige's 10-year-old daughter Jordan home to Sheffield. Whether the family had planned for quite the challenge they took on with Holmwood House is up for debate.

The place now features a gymnasium, six reception rooms seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, an attic apartment, plus a two-bedroom cottage in the grounds. "I'm proud of what we've achieved here," says Owls fan Rick. "It's a wonderful building and a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it." Despite all their efforts, however, the couple are still determined to sell-up so they can downsize, as revealed by The Star last year.

They have bought a five-bedroom place nearby and Holmwood House is on the market for £2.45m with city estate agents Saxton Mee. Paige, for one, will be glad to have a more modest property to call home. "Half the time I can't find the kids," she reveals. "They hide and it can take me 20 minutes to find them."

November 2005

Heavy metal star Rick Savage has sold his seven bedroom, six reception room Victorian mansion outside Sheffield for about Pounds 2 million through Saxon Mee. Holmwood House was originally on the market for Pounds 2.8 million. The Sheffield-born bass guitarist has already bought a more manageable five-bedroom house nearby, which he shares with his wife Paige, their two children, Scott and Tyler, and Paige's daughter Jordan.

January 2006

In another big house, Def Leppard's Rick Savage finally sold Holmwood House in Ecclesall at long last to local businessman Rick Savage for a reported [pounds sterling]1.6 million, a lot less than he wanted.