THERE are all sorts of reasons for buying a house, but a Homburg hat and a worn overcoat belonging to a former Prime Minister might be among the most surprising.

The items of clothing are the added extras on offer to the new owners of Park House, a lovely Georgian home with a pristine white facade in the heart of the Durham countryside.

Rising majestically from the green space that surrounds it on all sides, it looks every inch the home of someone significant.

Park House once belonged to Lady Eden, mother of former PM Sir Anthony Eden. It stands in the grounds of Windlestone Hall, near Rushyford, where Sir Anthony was born and which has fulfilled many roles, including a prisoner of war camp in the Second World War and a residential special needs school.

Now there are plans to turn the hall into luxury residences for the over-55s, while Park House has been put on the market by current owners, upmarket tableware and kitchen equipment specialists Paul and Valda Goodfellow.

“I remember falling in love with it as we turned the corner in the lane to see it for the very first time,” says Valda. “There was an immediate emotional reaction which was so overwhelming that I had decided I wanted to buy it even before we stepped inside.

"I love the feel of the house. I know it sounds odd, but it has always felt that the house is happy we are there. It is grand enough to make you feel that you are living somewhere special, but cosy enough to make it feel like a real home.”

Inside, the main things the couple have changed are the kitchen and the décor. There is an old part and a newer open-plan extension, creating a large and spacious living area. Pictures on the walls – family portraits and other artworks – add personality and warmth, and the muted colour scheme works cleverly to bring the disparate parts of the house together.

It is a triumph of interior design, a passion of Valda’s. Given the creative touches, it is no surprise that her Latvian father, Talivaldis Grabinskis, from whom she takes her name, was an artist.

“My father was a prisoner of war at Windlestone Hall after the Second World War,” says Valda. “He met my mum at a local dance and never left the area. When we came to view the house, I couldn’t believe how close it was to the hall. You can actually see it from the corner of our lane.

"I suppose that was part of the emotional pull when I first saw Park House. We bought it about six months after my father died, so he never got to see it, but he would have loved wandering around the gardens and the woods.”

Among the artworks on the walls are some by Talivaldis; in the snug, there’s a photograph of the Eden family.

“They were such a big part of the history of our community that it seems right,” says Valda.

Sir Anthony Eden was born at Windlestone Hall into an aristocratic family of landowners. His father was an eccentric, and by all accounts, foul-tempered man, who died in 1915; his mother Lady Sybil proceeded to fritter away the family fortune, prompting the sale of the estate in 1936, when she came to live at Park House.

When he visited between 1936 and 1945, the dapper Sir Anthony was at first Foreign Secretary, before resigning in protest at Chamberlain’s appeasement policy, and then being reappointed by Churchill. Later, in the Fifties, he succeeded Churchill as PM before resigning after the Suex Crisis.

He would arrive at Park House in his trademark beautifully cut overcoat and a Homburg hat, so widely associated with him it became know as an “Anthony Eden”.

“It was really strange watching the recent Churchill film Darkest Hour as Eden was featured quite heavily in it. It sort of brought him to life for us,” says Valda. “Everyone remembers his failures, but he must have had enough qualities to not only make him a trusted adviser to Churchill, but also to become Prime Minister.

“It is true that his hat and coat are still in the house. I like to think of him wandering the grounds when he came to visit his mother and looking over to Windlestone Hall. It must have felt strange and sad for it not to have been his property any more. He may even have visited at the time my father was a prisoner of war at the hall.”

Sir Anthony’s hat and coat are a great talking point for friends and visitors and the men always ask if they can try them on, adds Valda.

“When we bought the house, the previous owner told us that it was tradition for the hat and coat to remain with the house and so we too will leave them when we go and tell the same thing to the next owners.”

The Goodfellows are leaving Park House because their business has proved so successful, taking them away for long periods of time.

“We thought we were going to enjoy our retirement here, but our business has grown so quickly that we are in London a lot and we don’t see that changing for a few years yet,” she says. “We have always lived in this region, but it would be better for work if we moved closer to Durham and maybe had a flat in London.”

Goodfellows supplies quality and innovative kitchen equipment and accessories to top chefs and restaurants, offering everything from buffet tableware to embroidered clothing for staff. The company is based in Peterlee, but also has a new showroom in London in Little Portland Street.

Park House was the perfect location for a recent Goodfellows at Home photo-shoot.

“Our dog, Oscar even got in on the action,” says Valda. “We filmed breakfast in the Courtyard, a picnic in the garden, family lunch in the kitchen and dressed the dining table for dinner. It looked so beautiful.”

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and for years the couple embraced its old-fashioned feel. “Especially the Aga – even in summer I can’t bear to turn it off,” laughs Valda.

It was only last year that it was all changed to suit a more modern lifestyle. Local company Custom Design in Bishop Auckland came up with a plan which included hand-made units and a large central island to suit how the family use the space.

“The whole design just clicked into place and the new kitchen just seems to draw people in,” says Valda. “We always seem to start and end parties here.” She has kept the old pantry, though. “I don’t know how anyone manages without one. It still has the meat hooks in the ceiling, although we don’t use them for their original purpose anymore.”

Leaving behind this wonderful sunny home with its new kitchen, period features and beautiful location will be a big wrench for the couple, who are well aware that it will be hard to find a home they will love as much as this one.

It’s unlikely there’ll be former Prime Minister’s hat and coat to draw them in, either.

“It is quite hard to pick out what I love most about Park House because there are so many things and they change throughout the year,” says Valda. “The Courtyard is really special and has its own little eco-climate in the summer, but the aspect of the gardens up to the trees in the winter, when it has snowed and the deer are wandering past, is quite magical.”

• Park House is on the market with Finest Properties for £1.75m.

• Goodfellow & Goodfellow, Peterlee, SR8 2JH. W: