Rebuilt farmhouse is one that brings the outside in
If you’re in town this week for the Henley Festival or the Henley Masters Regatta and
If you’re in town this week for the Henley Festival or the Henley Masters Regatta and have fallen for the area hook, line and sinker, this might be the ideal property for you, says LUCY BOON
RECENT research has proven what many of us already know — that when it comes to house-buying the heart rules the head, every time.
According to a recent survey by mortgage provider Ocean Finance, many of us fall in love with the first property we see.
In the survey of more than 1,000 homeowners, one in four of us see our future house only once before deciding we want it — and one in six view just one, single property before deciding to buy it.
And if this is true, then Standard Property doesn’t expect this next property to stay on the market for long — more than just a few of us will fall in love with Timbers Farm House at first sight.
On the edge of Henley (okay, so that’s a 12-minute drive according to Google Maps), hidden away down a quiet lane, Timbers Farm House occupies a somewhat special position, being close to Huntercombe Golf Club in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Needless to say, the views around here are spectacular — as are this property’s gorgeous, south-facing gardens with green, rolling fields beyond.
Timbers Farm House has been built to take full advantage of these views, including a carefully planned out terrace that wraps around three sides of the house, accessible from various points.
The triple-folding doors from the kitchen/breakfast room, for instance, are a dream and make for easy summer entertaining, if you like to flit between kitchen and terrace. There’s a killer view from here, too.
Upstairs in the master suite, this same view can be appreciated from your own private balcony. It’s another pointer that this is very much a bring-the-outdoors-in kind of house.
And yet, the most interesting thing about this property is not the outside, but the inside. It’s all in the detail.
Hand-made roof tiles, solid oak timbers, limestone slabs, aged oak floors — many local suppliers and craftspeople have been involved in this project, including well-known timber artisan Ridgeway Oak, which is responsible for the heavy, antiqued oak electric gates and superb detached barn studio/garage.
It’s craftsmanship that sets this property apart. You only have to take a look at the glorious reclaimed French farmhouse stone fireplace (from architectural salvage specialist Lassco) and the antique hand-carved concertina French door shutters (sourced from a local supplier) to get an idea of the amount of consideration and planning that has gone into this project.
“The house was rebuilt around this fireplace, right from the start,” say vendors Mr and Mrs Moody, who bought the original property in the tiny hamlet of Nuffield six years ago.
Working with local architect Matthew Young, the house was created to work well on many levels.
“We’ve got all the latest cabling and modern systems such as CAT6a cabling and Sonos sound system, and we’ve spared no expense in sourcing the ‘right’ kind of building materials — ones that would work well with what we were trying to achieve here,” say the Moodys, who really know their stuff.
They chose renowned lighting designers John Cullen for all the lighting, before even deciding on décor and furnishings. “We knew lighting was crucial to getting the look and feel of a house right, more so than the furnishings,” says Mrs Moody, whose love of lighting extends to the outdoors.
At night, the grounds provide a magical setting with extensive low-voltage garden lighting and subtle illumination of the ancillary buildings. A line of eight hornbeam trees have individual uplighters, tracing a path right down to the distant meadow grass.
Talking of the outdoors, the Moodys want to point out that Timbers Farm House is a house for all seasons.
“We know so many houses in these parts can be bleak and draughty in the winter, and the views forlorn,” says Mrs Moody.
“With Timbers, we thought about every time of the year, even planting the garden mostly with evergreens, including box hedging, yew and box balls, etc, so it would look lovely in the frost.”
Mrs Moody adds that along with the majestic beech copse in the adjoining field, this makes the house not only a summer house but a superb Christmastime house, too.
Style-wise, Timbers Farm House is somewhat unique. Originally the farm house to nearby Timbers Farm, the house was impeccably restored and remodelled to be reborn as a characterful classic-contemporary farm house with touches of Arts & Crafts.
Importantly, the property looks like it belongs in its environs, thanks to carefully chosen building materials.
“We wanted character — a house that was honest and true to its location,” say the Moodys. “Crucially, materials were chosen so that the house will look even better as it weathers and ages gracefully over time. ”
“That was incredibly important to us,” continues Mrs Moody, who helped source reclaimed antique handles for the bespoke kitchen cabinets, and was unwavering in her choice of Kashmir White granite marble for the worktops, reclaimed Kholer cast iron sinks, and Pearl Ashes-coloured vanilla four-oven electric Aga.
“It is a house which delivers all year round, wonderful for summer entertaining and fabulously cosy in the winter, with its Aga, underfloor heating and wood burners,” she adds.
Mrs Moody certainly knows her art and décor, too — self-evident when you take in her captivating collection of vintage pieces, paintings and sculptures.
One thing that struck Standard Property when she was out visiting Timbers Farm House was its extremely clever ground-floor layout.
Forming a square of sorts, the shut-away pantry/utility, dining room, family/breakfast room and terrace all revolve around a central hub— the kitchen. The designers have created a set-up that revolves around the heart of the home, and they’ve done it in a way that is adaptable over time.
With the use of concertina double glass oak-frame doors, rooms can be opened up or sectioned off at will. Those with young families or pets will find this flexibility to be invaluable as their requirements change over time.
Upstairs, along with the galleried staircase with double-height window overlooking the front, it’s the marvellous vaulted master suite that’s the standout room.
More obvious here than other upstairs rooms, you feel like you’re on safari, or in a mini-break hotel, thanks to luxury fittings, Fired Earth mosaic tiles and, as ever, “that view”.
The Moodys say that after 20 “glorious” years bringing up three children in the country, they’re currently thinking of a move back to London, but plan to return to the area when they retire.
Much like falling in love with the first property we see, Henley will always be their first choice.
Reception rooms: Four (one with stone fireplace containing a Hwam log-burning stove; one with free-standing Hwam log-burning stove, and one with a Contura log-burning stove)
Other: Secondary accommodation/office with kitchen and bathroom, over a three-bay garage; detached art studio, oak log store, dog pen and shed store, natural pond, rural views, top quality craftsmanship, ‘future-proof’ build including CAT6a cabling
Land: Approximately two acres
Style: Classic contemporary/Arts & Crafts
Agency: Robinson Sherston, Bell Street, Henley on (01491) 411911