Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hearts, flowers and dream homes this February 14th

IT’S Valentine’s Day on Sunday (February 14), and what could be more romantic than a searching for

IT’S Valentine’s Day on Sunday (February 14), and what could be more romantic than a searching for a dream house with your loved one? LUCY BOON found some recipes for romance…



JUST over five miles from Henley, or a 13-minute drive, Minton House in semi-rural Peppard Common is on the market for £2,450,000.

This “well-appointed” Edwardian property looks directly over the village green and cricket pitch.

The entrance is via a no-through-road single-track lane and the house has been refurbished over the years, as well as having been recently updated by the current owners.



This being an Edwardian house, there are plenty of elegant original features and large windows that let the light flood the house, as well as well-proportioned rooms.

There is also a stunning handmade kitchen, along with several luxury bathrooms.

The triple garage block/annexe off the drive is a nice bonus and has been arranged as a games room. It has a kitchen and shower room on the ground floor with a spacious study/bedroom on the first floor.

The garden, hidden from the drive by hedging, lies directly behind the house, mainly to the west, and is mostly made up of lawn. But there are also several terraced areas, a pretty summer house, and scattered raised beds.

The whole property is securely fenced with high hedges and shrubs to give privacy and a sense of seclusion, and yet you’re right next to the cricket pitch and opposite the village hall. In short, beautiful.



Plusses

• Location.

• Character property that’s been tastefully and stylishly decorated.

• Large size.

• Large garden.

• Five bedrooms, four bathrooms plus downstairs shower room.

• Annexe.

• Recently updated.

• Approved planning permission for a vaulted garden room off the utility room to the north west.



Minuses

Nothing!



Do something romantic...

Explore the surrounding rural landscape, hand in hand. Part of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Peppard Common covers 22.7 hectares and is one of the six commons managed by the local conservators.



Seal it with a Valentine’s dinner...

Antony Worrall Thompson’s gourmet pub The Greyhound is a few minutes away from the property.



For more information or to arrange a viewing, call Knight Frank on (01491) 844900.

INCLINE COTTAGE, HARPSDEN

GUIDE PRICE: £1,500,000

YOU’RE bound to “fall” for Incline Cottage — a charming detached character family-sized cottage in an ideal spot just four minutes’ drive from Henley.

And Standard Property found just that, when she took a peek one sunny winter morning.

The house is on the edge of Harpsden village and is accessed via Gillotts Lane, close to Gillotts school and Henley Leisure Centre.

However, the garden and grounds slope gently away to border Harpsden’s main street — or “high street”, if you can call it that — Harpsden being known for its pretty quaintness and 12th century church.

While the top end of the garden is ideal for kicking a ball around with your children, giving your green fingers a workout (there’s a vegetable patch as well as a ‘hidden’ garden tucked to one side), or throwing an al fresco party, the bottom end of the garden, known as “the paddock” and totalling approximately 1.8 acres, would be ideal for keeping a horse or two.

“The previous owners rented theirs to a neighbour who kept horses,” says Tim Peers of Peers & Hilton, who are marketing the property. A barred gate to the main road here makes it easy to get a horse box in and out.

All in all, the grounds offer three acres, and all of it south-facing, with nothing but great views of your own land and the green hills beyond, which are part of nearby Henley Golf Club.

“It’s a great spot,” adds Tim. “And crucially it’s got access from both front and back. Plus the property is of a good size for a family and there is an unmistakable charm to it.”

The house was converted from an early 20th century estate worker’s cottage with stabling and signs of its past are evidenced by the exposed beams, fireplaces, original carriage doors and a staircase at each end.

“The house is in great shape,” says Tim, “but it’s still got a warmth to it. You feel at home as soon as you walk in.”

Standard Property noted that perhaps a few changes would improve the house further, such as squaring off the front in order to enlarge the kitchen, which could also be updated.

However, the house is ready to be enjoyed straight away and you’ll do that very comfortably while you’re making your decisions as to what you’d like to tailor to your needs.

“Incline Cottage has been well cared for by the present family over the last 34 years,” says Tim. But the best thing about it is still its location — with easy access to Henley, unobstructed rural views and the fact that the garden is south-facing. Plus, there are public footpaths nearby if you fancy going for a stroll. “Here, you have the best of both worlds,” says Tim. “You’re close enough to Henley to walk it and yet with a position like this, you feel like you’re in the middle of the country.”

In fact, like Peppard Common, Harpsden is in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and therefore under a degree of protection from development.



Plusses

• The outdoors is the crowning glory — a well-planned garden with established herbaceous borders, plus a lush paddock.

• The cloakroom/shower room/boot room is handily located right by the front door — ideal for taking off your muddy boots.

• The living area consists of several interlinking rooms and could be made larger and more open-plan by converting the conservatory with a double-height extension, which would in turn increase bedroom size.

• Character features.

• Four bedrooms, two/three bathrooms.

• Separate “snug”/family room with wood-burning fire.

• Triple garage block (listed as a double garage plus car port). Good condition.

• Great views.



Minuses

Apart from upgrading, you may want to change the room set-up and extend the kitchen and living areas.



Do something romantic...

If you both like playing golf as a couple, Henley Golf Club is located in Harpsden.

Not romantic enough for you? Take each other shopping in Henley and seduce a chocaholic at local chocolate makers Gorvett & Stone on Duke Street.



Seal it with a Valentine’s dinner…

Fine-dining pub The Baskerville or the more quirky The Plowden Arms — both in nearby Shiplake.



For more information or to arrange a viewing, call Peers & Hilton on (01491) 411066.

MEAD COTTAGE, CHURCH STREET, HENLEY

GUIDE PRICE: £395,000



IN the heart of Henley (pun intended) this is a great first-time buy or downsize option.

It’s essentially a two-bedroom terraced Victorian cottage, but it’s more than that, as Oliver Symons from Ballards, who are marketing the property, explains.

“Church Street is the location everyone wants. This is a tucked away characterful street which is named because of Trinity Church, a few doors up from the property. Here it’s peaceful, with the atmosphere of a village, and yet you’re minutes from Henley’s shops and facilities.”

The cottage has been rented for several years, so those living there would not have had much interest in improvements.

However, now the seller is releasing the property back on to the market, there is the potential to create a wonderful new home here.

“There has been a surge of interest already,” says Oliver, “and I wouldn’t be surprised if a young family or savvy couple have plans to transform the house to its full potential.

“That said, the cottage is ready to move into straight away — everything is in good order, so you could take your time deciding what you wanted to do to the place.”

Oliver is perhaps referring to what other residents in the street have already accomplished — extending at the back. One particularly outstanding extension, a few doors down, demonstrates what can be achieved with vision.

“A double-height extension would turn this one-reception room cottage, with downstairs bathroom, into a more decent-sized family home, meaning the bathroom could be moved upstairs and the kitchen/living area could become larger and a real feature of the property,” says Oliver. “The existing cellar room would make a great playroom, office or spare bedroom.”

Standard Property wonders if the property could also be ‘dug out’ further under the current kitchen, and making use of the front garden?

You could essentially create enough space for a family room/cinema room/bedroom plus en suite bathroom.

“Another area which could possibly be utilised is the attic,” adds Oliver. “At the moment, there is an attic space which is used as storage.”

Perhaps a master suite here is possible?

Apart from its Victorian workman’s cottage styling, the house still has its original sash windows and the fireplace in the sitting room is viable.

Outside, the garden is smaller than some of the neighbours’. However, after an extension there would still be room for an attractive courtyard garden for outdoor entertaining.



Plusses

• You’re in the heart of Henley in a quiet, pretty road that’s in demand.

• Character and charm.

• Ready to move in.

• Walking distance of shops, train station and river.

• Cellar room.

• Amazing conversion/upgrade potential.



Minuses

• Could be larger.

• On-street parking.



Do something romantic...

Cosy up on the back row at the Regal Picturehouse cinema and submerge yourselves in vintage classic Casablanca (showing at 5pm on Sunday, February 14).



Seal it with a Valentine’s dinner...

Where to start? Henley has so many good restaurants to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Try traditional Italian gem Villa Marina, Thames Side, or the romantic boutique-style Hotel du Vin on New Street.



For more information or to arrange a viewing, call Ballards on (01491) 411055.

CHALMORE HOLE FERRY HOUSE, NEAR WALLINGFORD

OFFERS IN EXCESS OF £1,050,000



RIGHT on the River Thames a 20-minute drive from Henley, beautiful and historic Chalmore Hole Ferry House — great name! — is the former Wallingford ferryman’s cottage, which dates from 1913 and is teeming with interesting features.

An earlier structure on the same site was even mentioned in Jerome K Jerome’s classic 1889 novel Three Men in a Boat.

“It was the ferryman’s job to transport horses, people and freight across the river at the point where the River Thames tow path changed sides,” says Trevor Michel of Simmons & Sons, which is marketing the property.

“The last ferryman lived here until the Fifties. The ticket booth associated with the ferry is still there — the raised outhouse has steps up to it beside the house.”

Now that there is no longer a ferry operating here, the location is very peaceful, and the towpath essentially ends at the house.

“Traffic” takes the form of the occasional boat, including those from one of your neighbours — the prestigious Oxford University Women’s Boat Club.

“The towpath runs between the house and the lower garden, so you will see people walking along it from time to time, but as this is where the towpath changes banks — hence the ferry — it is not likely to be as busy as a usual towpath by the river,” adds Trevor.

Like most riverside properties, Chalmore Hole Ferry House sits on brick arches — Edwardian ones in this case — as a measure against potential flooding. It also has a large timbered sun deck all along the back of the house, from which to enjoy the views of the river.

The raised level also means you’re able to appreciate this all the more. Plus you are directly opposite a picturesque Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the far bank, where you’ll be able to spot a few dairy cows grazing.

The house is approached via a private road, at the end of which a gravelled area offers parking for up to four vehicles, and beyond is the garden and house.

The downstairs has three reception rooms, along with a kitchen and utility room, as well as a downstairs bathroom. The best thing about the sitting room and living room, both of which still have their original wrought iron fireplaces, is that they both open on to that aforementioned raised timber sun terrace.

“There are traditional skirting boards and exposed floorboards to the hall and dining room, too,” adds Trevor, “although this last has an electric log burner in it as the flue isn’t currently viable.”

At the sun terrace, stairs down to the garden lead to a gate which opens on to the towpath. Opposite is a further gate giving access to the lower garden with its timber jetty directly on the river, which provides both mooring and fishing rights.

Upstairs, the master bedroom comes with an en suite shower room and, like the second bedroom, it has views of the river. “These are decent-sized doubles, considering this was a quaint workman’s cottage originally,” notes Trevor.

Chalmore Hole Ferry House sits on the southern edge of Wallingford, a pretty medieval market town not unlike Henley.

To get to the centre of the town from the house means a quick five-minute walk along either the riverside or quiet road.

Like Henley, Wallingford has a Waitrose, theatre and cinema as well as plenty of shops and facilities, although the nearest train station is at Cholsey, a seven-minute drive away.

“This is such a rare property, and for it to come to the market now, when there is relatively low stock around, means I won’t be surprised if it gets snapped up fast,” says Trevor.



Plusses

• Rarely available unusual character property.

• Views of the River Thames plus AONB.

• Jetty, mooring and fishing rights.

• Large timbered terrace overlooking the river and garden.

• Parking for three or four cars.

• Walkable to town centre.



Minuses

Families may want more bedrooms.



Do something romantic…

It has to be messing about in boats with your loved one. Hire a launch from one of Henley’s local treasures Hobbs of Henley and travel up the Thames all the way to the property. Alternatively, from Wallingford, the leisure park at nearby Benson offers boat hire. Don’t forget to take some champagne and lots of blankets to snuggle under!



Seal it with a Valentine’s dinner…

Wallingford has plenty of eateries, including the Partridge Inn, which cooks with organic or locally sourced produce where possible.



For more information or to arrange a viewing, call Simmons & Sons on (01491) 634298.



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