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Friday, 23 March 2018
NUMBER 1 Kennylands Road, the grande dame of Sonning Common, is on the market for the first time in 34 years.
Occupying arguably the village’s most desirable location, this imposing Edwardian property sits at the top of Wood Lane, where the road bends left on to Kennylands Road and splits off towards Gallowstree Common and Kidmore End.
Built in 1904, the four-bedroom house is a dream come true for someone who wants a spacious, comfortable home for their family.
It is perfectly proportioned with high ceilings and plenty of large rooms — and it has a delightful country garden with a swimming pool and a separate two-storey annexe building.
I visited the owners, David and Ruth Winchester, a retired IT consultant and teacher, for a tour of the house and a cup of tea.
They told me that they bought 1 Kennylands Road in 1984 when they had three young children — all boys who grew up and moved out but still live locally — and that they are now downsizing to a bungalow nearby.
As I looked around, what struck me most about this house was its traditional homely feel, evoking images of hilarious games of hide and seek, badminton on the lawn in the sunshine, slabs of freshly baked bread and jam, bedtime stories with hot cocoa and cuddles.
1 Kennylands Road oozes potential — its new owners may want to modernise some of the décor, but equally you could move straight in and not change anything as it seems to be well maintained and in good condition throughout.
The house is decorated in peaceful, muted tones — pale creams, greens, blues and yellows — with stained glass in the front door, solid wood internal doors and built-in cupboards everywhere.
The property still has all of its original tall sash windows, which fill the rooms with natural daylight. There are several beautiful period fireplaces and dark wooden floors throughout most of the downstairs.
Because of the sash windows the house is not double-glazed, but it has secondary glazing in the main living room — the heating was on when I was there and the house certainly felt warm and cosy.
The ground floor is arranged in a circular layout, so that you can walk from room to room and end up back where you started. “It’s great for parties because everyone can mingle so easily,” says Ruth.
We began our tour in the triple aspect drawing room — meaning it has windows on three sides — which stretches all the way from the front of the house to the back and opens with patio doors on to the garden.
There is a dining room at the front that leads into a lovely quiet dual aspect family room. Keep walking round, and you get to the cosy breakfast room at the heart of the home.
In keeping with the fantastic storage space throughout the whole house, the breakfast room has a built-in larder big enough to store just about anything and accommodate a chest freezer.
The large galley kitchen is off the breakfast room and has, in addition to a well-placed utility room, a doorway to the garden where the family can eat outside on a warm summer evening.
A small inner hall with a cloakroom leads back round to the drawing room and a splendid Harry Potter-style cupboard under one of the house’s two staircases.
One of the staircases leads up to the master suite — a dressing room, en suite bathroom and large double bedroom with built-in wardrobes.
The second staircase leads up to a long hallway with three additional bedrooms and a shower room. Two of the bedrooms are dual aspect and very large with their own sink units, while the other is slightly smaller but has a terrific view over the garden and is currently being used as an office.
The garden itself is spectacular — a green oasis encircled by a wall of well-established foliage including a line of oval-shaped conifers. It is not overlooked and offers a high level of privacy.
Separated by trees and hedges into zones, the garden has a big lawn, a gazebo, a summer house, a patio, a greenhouse and a pond and catches the sunlight for most of the day.
There is also an outdoor swimming pool which was of course covered up on this chilly February afternoon — David and Ruth have a maintenance arrangement with a local tradesperson who cleans and opens up the pool for the summer and closes it down again for the winter.
To the side of the house is a separate two-storey annexe building with space for parking and an enormous workshop with light and power on the ground floor — “a dream for a practical sort of bloke,” Ruth pointed out.
The upstairs of the annexe is currently being used as living accommodation and will be vacated when the house is sold.
The space has two bedrooms, a kitchenette/living room and a bathroom, but it has enormous potential to be converted into an office, studio or games room.
When it was first built 114 years ago, 1 Kennylands Road was probably a smallholding or a farmhouse — there is evidence of areas outside for livestock, and what is now the annexe was once a stable block for horses.
Nowadays it is a delightful family home. As Ruth says: “It is a very easy house to live in, the layout is so convenient and there is plenty of room for a family to spread themselves out.”
Sonning Common is a quiet village community within easy reach of Henley, Reading and the rolling countryside of the Chilterns. It has all the amenities and services you need, including an excellent medical centre, a dentist, a library, plenty of shops, a primary and secondary school, a vet, a butcher, a petrol station, hairdressers and a florist.
1 Kennylands Road is clearly steeped in happy memories for Ruth, David, their family and all the friends and neighbours who have visited them there over the years.
As they move on to a new chapter in their lives, this Edwardian beauty will become home to a new generation, a new family having new adventures and making new memories, for many years to come.
1 Kennylands Road is in on the market with the Beville Estate Agency with a guide price of £1.1 million. For more information or to book a viewing, call 0118 924 2526.
At a glance...
1 KENNYLANDS ROAD, SONNING COMMON
• Bedrooms: four
• Bathrooms: three
• Receptions: four
• Other: swimming pool, two-storey annexe, ample storage space, large mature garden, original sash windows, double and triple aspect rooms, original Edwardian features
Guide price: £1.1 million
Agent: Beville Estate Agency on 0118 924 2526
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