With Regatta season just around the corner — starting with the Henley Women’s Regatta which runs
With Regatta season just around the corner — starting with the Henley Women’s Regatta which runs from today (Friday) until Sunday — LUCY BOON once again focuses on Thames-side homes, including a ‘Maine attraction’ in Wargrave
YOU don’t have to live in Sussex or to cross the Atlantic to find attractive clapboard properties. The increasingly popular New England-style house can be found dotted all over our green and pleasant land.
Henley, too, has been hit by Massachusetts mania (there are some fine examples to the south-west of our town, some of which are brand new and some of which are older-style houses that have been given a much-needed facelift).
And down the Thames in Wargrave — which incidentally holds its own regatta on August 5 and 6 — you can find a killer example of a new-build that captures this style beautifully.
Meadswood House is arguably more Ralph Lauren photoshoot than Chilterns farmhouse — and yet it still perfectly fits its close-to-the-river-and-tucked-away setting.
This is the softer side of new-builds: succeeding in being warm and characterful without being twee or boring.
Fresh architecture, a flexible layout, modern conveniences and high-speed connectivity are all part of the package, which has been recently finished by “niche house builder” Palatine Homes — a local, husband-and-wife set-up that chooses its projects carefully.
The company said: “Normally you can’t build a house of this style because of other properties around that dictate the style/character. However, due to its isolation, with Meadswood House we could do what we liked.
“We chose the New England style because it suits the water surroundings and personally we think it’s the prettiest style around.”
Vanessa Townsend of Davis Tate, which is marketing the house for Palatine Homes, said: “The New England style is also very popular with people. Palatine has managed to blend imaginative design and technical perfection here — a combination of exterior charm and interior personality to create something individual. There’s a strong focus on quality exterior materials, mature landscaping and luxurious interior design to achieve an outstanding living space.”
She’s certainly not wrong, but Standard Property thinks there’s so much more to say. There is a personal, lived-in feel to the house — a lot of which is down to the interior design. (‘Mrs Palatine’ does all this herself, and she does it very well indeed.)
And this is a house that has light and space in spades. There’s something very international about it, too. The proportions are bigger than average, both in terms of room size and fixtures-wise. The kitchen island seats seven-plus people very comfortably, for instance, and the wood-framed windows are all sash, which will open things up all the more when open.
There are pale wooden floors throughout the ground floor (no dirt-attracting, old-fashioned carpet here, thank you very much), with strategically placed rugs offering a softening touch. The huge handcrafted oak gates to the drive give another nod to the US.
The river, too, is given its due, with this property. The nautical décor throughout the house reminds us of this area’s heritage.
Being close to several marinas in Wargrave and Henley, those who love a bit of messing about in boats would do well here.
Allowing for all this water, the house is on stilts, which also means there’s bags of space under the house for storage. Several boats could happily spend their winter months here. And the whole lot is hidden by mature planting.
Inside the house, principal rooms are double aspect with several French doors leading to the wraparound veranda — that’s more than 1,300 sq ft of balcony around three sides of the house, using special anti-slip decking, bringing the outside in, or the inside out, depending on how you look at it.
The detail and finishes, too, are noticeable. Take the 35ft long kitchen/Â breakfast and dining room. The kitchen has bespoke Shaker-style units, in shades of grey and blue, and more than a little is bespoke.
Brand-wise, it’s all Villeroy & Boch, Miele and Siemens, mixed with carefully chosen materials such as beautiful-quality granite and limestone. The fridge/freezer/wine fridge are also huge — this is a proper American-style Â set-up, with zoned temperature settings and floor-to-ceiling compartments.
Over at the oven section, you can expect a six induction-plate hob and wok burner, and not just one oven but two with two warming drawers, plus a separate steam oven and a separate microwave. (Those Shakers did have a lot of mouths to feed, I supposeâ€¦)
Over in the dining room and sitting room, the double-sided fireplace provides a cosy feature — not that you need the heat as all of the ground floor has underfloor heating. In the master suite (with obligatory dressing room and walk-in-shower bathroom) there are double doors to a private balcony.
And outside? Outside is arguably the best bit. Cunningly crafted by an award-winning Chelsea Flower Show designer, the garden is easy to maintain as well as being lovely.
The house is kept incredibly private, being screened by trees from its only neighbour (to the back). A small stream meanders through manicured lawn and mature-looking planting, ending with a charming boardwalk bridge.
“This property is simply delightful,” said Vanessa Townsend. “Also, seeing as this is Loddon Drive, it’s just a two-minute walk to Wargrave train station, which has trains to London Paddington and Reading. We don’t expect Meadswood House to be on the market for long.”
Meadswood House, Wargrave, is being marketed with a guide price of £2,450,000. For more information or to arrange a viewing, call the Henley office of Davis Tate on (01491) 412345.
AT A GLANCE
• Bedrooms: five, two of which have their own balcony terraces
• Bathrooms: three (two en suite)
• Reception rooms: three/four
• Other: Reception hall with WC and separate cloakroom, study, utility room, car port, landscaped gardens with stream
• Details: two-way fireplace, engineered wood flooring, underfloor heating downstairs and central heating radiators upstairs, telephone/TV points prewired for CAT6a (HD compatible), electric gates, alarm fitted with panic button in master suite, hand-painted finishes, bespoke furnishings, bio self-contained treatment plant, UV filtered well-water supply, 10-year build warranty