Saturday, 19 August 2017

Out with the old, in with the mews

HENLEY may be known for its heritage and listed buildings but it’s also a good place to find a spanking new home

HENLEY may be known for its heritage and listed buildings but it’s also a good place to find a spanking new home. Some of them are even architectural wonders, such as this one in a tucked away spot behind the picturesque Fair Mile (the A4130 towards Bix).

No.2 Alma Mews is the brainchild of Rob Marsh, who was responsible for the tasteful development of the Saville Court apartment block at the same location, a few years ago. Like Saville Court, Alma Mews (an anagram of two names of those involved with the build) sits just behind the large, town park of Freeman’s Meadow.

“My company and I still had some land there, and we always retained an access from the close of Pearce’s Orchard, so when we got permission to develop two houses here - No.1 and No.2 - it gave us the opportunity to do something really different,” said Mr Marsh.

“Both of them are new homes that have been designed to be totally modern, which in itself is quite unusual for Henley. Plus they are also unique in that it’s like a gated development.”



An electric gate serves both properties, which are approached via the shared gravel drive. No.2 has parking for up to three cars.

As you enter the property there’s a hall which gives access to the three bedrooms and three bathrooms (two being ensuite).

“The great advantage of having the three bedrooms on the ground floor is that each one of them has a door which opens on to the  ground -floor terraces,” said Mr Marsh. “It means you can get to the garden from each bedroom.

“Basically it’s reverse living. We deliberately designed it like this, with the living area upstairs, for the pure reason that we wanted to make the most of the fantastic views over Freeman’s Meadow.”

Which was also the reason for adding the amazing Juliet balconies to the top floor.

“You can essentially bring the outside in,” continued Mr Marsh. “You simply open up the side of the house and stand on the balconies overlooking the park. It’s fantastic considering you’re in the centre of Henley.”

Mr Marsh explained that he and his team designed the top floor to be in the style of loft living.

“It’s all open-plan with natural oak floors and steel and glass balustrades,” he added.

The design also means the inside of the building is never dark.

“The light just floods in,” said Mr Marsh. “No matter what time of year, the house is illuminated with natural light.”

Obviously, it’s not only the park you will look down on from the top floor. The garden is large for a town centre, and has been professionally landscaped with mature trees and plants.

“Outside, the house is a mix of modern and natural,” said Mr Marsh. “We wanted the mews to suit the area and not have a clash of styles, so we’ve done slate roofs and used natural cedar fencing for the boundaries, plus we’ve tried to make the garden look established rather than brand new. It’s given us a modern pocket with a fantastic view but in keeping with the surrounds.”

The top floor will always be the wow factor of the property for Mr Marsh.

“There is just so much you could do with it. You may choose to place your living room at one end and the dining room at the other, or swap.

“Plus there’s the amazing vaulted ceiling. It’s such a great space.”

However, it is not only the top floor that has been given careful consideration.

“We’ve given the whole house a very high spec, while being low maintenance,” said Mr Marsh. “This is evidenced by the built-in wardrobes and dressing rooms, which make the best use of the space, and quality appliances in the kitchen such as the wine fridges and ovens.”

With so much going for it, the house offers a wide appeal.

“It offers the scope to live just as you like, so it would really suit anyone,” said Mr Marsh. “However, because the house is all ready to go, it would probably particularly suit those wanting a hassle-free dwelling, right in the town centre.

“Perhaps a young, professional couple, those looking for a â??lock-up-and-leave’, or an investment property. It would even be a good option as a buy to let.”

To get to the shops, river and restaurants, as well as several schools, it’s a gentle, flat walk of only a few minutes.

Henley train station is also close by at between 10 and 15 minutes. To drive to the M4 also takes about 10 minutes, with Heathrow 25 minutes away.

“The house also comes with a 10-year guarantee,” added Mr Marsh.

“We’ve built it with no expense spared on the  finishing touches as we wanted to create a quality build that would offer easy living.”

l No.2 Alma Mews is on the market with Savills at a guide price of £1,125,000. Call (01491) 843001 for more information.



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