Sunday, 17 December 2017

Beautiful old house that a young family fell instantly in love with

THE Old House is situated in the popular and historic Thames-side village of Sonning and it is believed that the

THE Old House is situated in the popular and historic Thames-side village of Sonning and it is believed that the oldest part of the house dates back to the 17th century. This impressive house is built of rendered brick elevations under a clay tiled roof and has been well maintained by the present owners whilst still retaining many original features such as fireplaces and ceiling beams.

John and Cindy Duffield have lived there for seven years and for the couple it was love at first sight.

Cindy said: “When I walked in to view the property the kitchen just felt like the heart of the home. The garden too was extraordinary and just clinched it for us.”

The couple had lived for years in rented accommodation in and around Knowl Hill, but have undertaken some major projects on The Old House during their time there.

“We added a dining room which looked out over the outdoor pool then our next project was to bring the pool indoors,” said Cindy.

The property has been extended to offer a stunning architecturally-designed swimming pool complex with pitched double-glazed reflective glass roof housing a large heated swimming pool with electronically operated roll-on cover, Jacuzzi, two changing rooms, pump room, snooker/games room and a chilled storage wine room.

The couple, who have two children aged 13 and 15, thought it would be the children who got the most out of the pool, but Cindy admitted that she often starts her day with what she regards as the ultimate luxury — a quick dip in her own indoor pool. The house and grounds have also seen its fair share of parties over the years with barbecues arranged the minute the better weather arrives.

Set within its own grounds of about half of an acre, the property offers spacious accommodation in excess of 6,000 square feet comprising six bedrooms, three bathrooms (one en-suite), a 21ft hand-fitted kitchen/breakfast room, four reception rooms, utility room and boot room.

After years of renting, it was a big deal for the children having their own rooms.

“We told them they could paint their rooms whatever colours they liked,” said Cindy. “My daughter chose fluorescent lilac — but it has since been toned down.”

Cindy expresses herself through her business as a freelance photographer and has her own studio in the grounds of the property — perfect for someone who may need to work from home or who likes to indulge in a hobby which requires additional space. Her eye for design is evident throughout the house which has a pleasing mix of character features alongside more contemporary ideas. There is a detached coach-house with two garages and a dark room/shed with a studio/office above.

The property is approached through electric timber gates leading to a gravel drive with walled parking and turning area. The secluded south-facing garden has a full-width paved patio and terraced areas of lawn, and a variety of mature trees and herbaceous borders. Cindy added that the village of Sonning was absolutely lovely to live in with a thriving local community.

“There is a lovely community feel to the area,” she said. “The Neighbourhood Watch group is very active. We hold ‘safari suppers’ with different courses at different homes and have a regular RNLI fund-raising auction. We have some lovely restaurants and the Mill Theatre is right on our doorstep, as well as lovely towpath walks.”

The family are selling their home as they are looking to develop some building projects in America. However, there is no doubt they will miss their first family home.

The Old House in Sonning is available through Savills for a guide price of £1,950,000. For more details, call (01491) 843000.

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