Monday, 18 October 2021

Forever house leaves family with cherished memories

A HOUSE at Rotherfield Peppard has inspired a family to great achievements — but now they are looking for new

A HOUSE at Rotherfield Peppard has inspired a family to great achievements — but now they are looking for new owners to love it as much as they have.

Peter and Kate Hugh-Smith moved to Henley House 10 years ago after spending the previous 18 months looking for what Kate described as their “forever home”.

Having lived in Australia, they were looking for light and space, something they found at the property in Rotherfield Peppard, despite it being half derelict with no heating and in desperate need of some TLC. With three young children in tow they set about making it their dream home.

Kate said: “It was hugely important to us to keep the character. We wanted to maintain the essence of the property while making it into a modern, warm family home. I didn’t want a grand country house, I wanted it to feel like a home.”

As the property isn’t listed, they were able to make changes including adding a new garage block and equestrian centre.

Kate was a keen horserider and her children quickly followed in her footsteps. Her daughter Rose, aged 14, who attends Queen Anne School in Caversham, has recently been selected to join Team GB in dressage championships. Kate said: “The house seems to have inspired her to great things. We were fortunate to have everything we needed to develop her passion for riding on our doorstep. We had the space for stables, a fantastic pony club nearby and some great hacking.”

The couple’s son Piers was also able to fuel his passion for sailing and cycling while Peter has taken up the sport of polo. “It is a great location to develop your passions,” added Kate.

The couple put their hearts and souls into transforming the house, maintaining the character while creating a home for 21st century living with state-of-the-art facilities.

A substantial former Victorian rectory, it offers wonderful proportions rarely found amongst Chiltern properties. The main reception rooms have plenty of character, including original sash windows, some with working shutters, tall skirting boards, ornate plasterwork and fireplaces in the sitting room, drawing room and dining room.

Throughout the hall, dining room and drawing room are original pine floorboards. The family kitchen/breakfast room has the benefit of a large central island, a blue five-door, two-oven Aga with two-ring gas hob, Miele oven, Miele coffee machine, Miele dishwasher and a double Belfast sink. There is potential (subject to planning) to add a garden room/conservatory, further enhancing the kitchen/family room. The bedroom accommodation is exactly as you would expect of a house of this scale and proportion, with the rooms feeling light and airy.

Henley House is approached by a gravel drive with iron railings either side, drawing you towards the curtilage of the property with electric wooden gates giving way to a gravelled parking area and turning circle in front of the house.

The drive continues to the east of the house, leading to the stable block and garaging complex. This consists of two single garages and a double open-fronted carport, together with two stables, feed store and tack room, with a large washing down and hard-standing area in front. Additional stabling (four stables and a hay store) is located nearby in a small holding paddock.

Behind lies an outdoor manège measuring 50m x 25m with Mactrac surface from which there is a view over the paddocks and surrounding land. To the north side of the principal stable block there are two small holding paddocks abutting the northern boundary.

The gardens of Henley House are laid principally to lawn but enjoy a raised paved terrace to the south and south-west side of the house together with a seating area to enjoy the sunset. Steps from the terrace lead down onto the lawn and to the outdoor swimming pool (requiring new liner) together with pool shed.

Kate said: “It’s going to be a real wrench to leave but at the end of the day people are more important than property and we want to be closer to family. I hope the person who buys it will love it as much as we have.”

The property is available through Savills for a guide price of £3,395,000. For more details, call (01491) 843001.

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