Tuesday, 17 October 2017

From this... to this in three years

LITTLE DOVESWOOD is a beautifully-presented family house which has been extended, remodelled and completely refurbished by the current owners over

LITTLE DOVESWOOD is a beautifully-presented family house which has been extended, remodelled and completely refurbished by the current owners over three years to provide a five-bedroom home with a separate spacious studio apartment of 4,150 sq ft. Jeremy and Lisa Cohen bought the property in Maidensgrove near Henley three years ago, intending for it to be their home for many years — but their children have recently moved to schools closer to Oxford and they have reluctantly put it on the market. But because the refurbishment was done with such care and attention, the finish is second-to-none.

“When we bought the property there was just a little two-bedroom bungalow on the site,” said Lisa.

“We liked the approach and the way the property was situated on the plot, which was lovely. We also noticed there was a lot of unusable sloping ground which we could utilise to expand the property without reducing the size of the garden and we levelled the rear garden”.

The bungalow, which was built in 1980 has since given way to a complete transformation. What stands there now is a home that lets the light flood in with rooms that flow comfortably from one to the other.

“My husband was brought up in South Africa and we spent a lot of time in the States, living in California, in my early twenties and visiting family in Los Angeles on a regular basis. The homes there seem to have larger rooms with a very easy flow of space and we wanted to reflect that in our home. Initially we were concerned the ceilings in the original part of the house may be too low but we incorporated window lights over the doorways to increase the sense of height and built a new drawing room with very high ceilings.”

Despite keeping the ridge height the same as the original bungalow they fitted a huge steel beam to lend support and the rooms at first floor level have much higher ceilings which give a real feeling of space.

The couple have also used a lot of reclaimed materials such as clay roof tiles and the bricks used to build the fireplace and front steps. Whilst offering a combination of traditional features and colours alongside contemporary design, the building has maintained a real sense of integrity.

The house is very economical to run as the Cohens invested in an air heat pump system and double-glazed hard wood windows. Rather than using typical board cladding for the exterior walls, they used American Hardiplank cladding, which requires no maintenance apart from an occasional wipe down as it’s made from oven-baked concrete rather than wood.

Lisa, who worked in the design industry in London for many years, did all the interior design herself and sketched the structural alterations without using the services of an architect. The couple are now looking for a new home nearer Oxford.

“It will be a real wrench to leave here because we expected to stay for much longer but I’m sure we’ll find something. We’d like to find something that needs work as we’d like to replicate much of what we have here,” said Lisa.

Little Doveswood has the feel of a traditional property with an open-plan, contemporary use of glazed walls and double doors opening from the main reception rooms to the south-facing garden and terrace. The house is light and airy and has been finished to a high specification throughout.

Top-quality materials have been used, including American walnut flooring, Carrera and Emperador marble in the bathrooms plus Hansgrohe showers and tap, Duravit and Philippe Starck bathroom fittings.

Main features include a large, triple-aspect drawing room with reclaimed brick fireplace housing a wood-burning stove, engineered American walnut floor with underfloor heating, built-in bookshelves and window seats, floor-to-ceiling glazed wall with double and single doors to the garden terrace.

There is a magnificent kitchen/breakfast room with a range of painted wall and floor units and a central island with Silestone worksurfaces, built-in Miele larder fridge and freezer, Neff dishwasher, two Neff electric ovens, induction zoneless hob with extractor above, breakfast area and sitting area with floor-to-ceiling windows and two sets of double doors opening on to the garden terrace.

The ground floor guest bedroom has an ensuite bathroom using Carrera marble (also used in two of the other bathrooms) while the master bedroom suite comprises a double-aspect bedroom with Juliet balcony, a dressing room with a range of built-in cupboards and a large Emperador marble bathroom with shower, bath, twin basins and WC. There are three further first floor bedrooms (one ensuite), and a family bathroom.

Outside, double wooden electric gates with entryphone system open to a large gravel parking area to the front of the detached double garage.

Accessed from the side and situated above the garage is a large studio apartment with kitchenette and separate shower room.

Steps lead up from the parking area to a stone terrace to the front of the property and around the house on both sides, opening to a south-facing terrace which runs the full length of the property and provides the perfect area to sit, to enjoy the south facing garden.

The rear garden is laid mainly to lawn, interspersed with specimen trees and there are mature hedges to two boundaries.

The garden to the east of the house is tiered and planted with a variety of mature perennial plants and shrubs and there is a further area of lawn with a greenhouse and a range of apple trees.

The property is available through Savills for a guide price of £1,995,000. For more details, call (01491) 843000.

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