Saturday, 25 September 2021

Wisteria-clad cottage ideal for growing family

For couples who are ready for the next step in their relationship, we think we’ve found something rather special.

For couples who are ready for the next step in their relationship, we think we’ve found something rather special.

This week, Homes Weekly is back in the idyllic semi-rural setting of Harpsden, a half-mile from Henley town centre, to take a peep at this pretty wisteria-clad family-size cottage, which dates from the late Twenties.

Those who know Harpsden know that, along with its 12th century church, village hall and golf club (Henley Golf Club, incidentally), the village consists mainly of one main road, with houses on either side.

However, Willow Cottage is unusual in that it is set back a little way from the road and shielded by mature hedging. “So it’s quiet enough, but also really convenient to get to Henley,“ said James Woosnam, who lives at the cottage with wife Emma and their two children.

With stunning views over rolling, open farmland at the back, the detached house is a wonderful family home.

“We love it because it’s comfortable, it’s warm and it’s in a lovely location,“ Mr Woosnam added.

The family moved in eight years ago after searching for somewhere to raise their young children - and it’s easy to see why. With four bedrooms (two of which have built-in wardrobes), a family bathroom and a second bathroom with a walk-in shower, the property has the ideal set-up for families. “Our youngest was just four months old at the time,“ said Mr Woosnam, “and there’s a preschool right next door which our three-year-old could go to, so it was ideal for us.”

“Back then, the place needed some updating,“ continued Mr Woosnam, who said they put in a new kitchen and new bathrooms, to bring them up-to-date.

“We bought the house from a couple who were returning to Scotland. Like us, they had enjoyed family life here, but were looking to move on. Our situation is that our eldest will soon be moving school further afield and we would like to be closer to it.“

Downstairs there is space aplenty with a large sitting room on one side of the house featuring an inset wood burner and an equally large contemporary kitchen/breakfast room on the other.

“This is probably the room we find ourselves in the most,“ said Mr Woosnam, who said they also added a warming wood burner to the kitchen as well as stripping things back to reveal more of the character of the place, such as the original wooden floorboards.

The property has lots of characterful features like this, including a stable door in the kitchen. “In summer we tend to leave the top half open to let in the breeze,“ said Mr Woosnam.

“All of us enjoy hanging out in the kitchen - it gets the sun a lot of the time, especially through the morning.”

Adjacent to the kitchen at the back of the house, you’ll find a separate toilet and utility cupboard, a dining room and a conservatory.

“The conservatory is a nice little nook to escape to with a cup of coffee and a book if you want a bit of peace and quiet, or to watch the varied wildlife, or the sun set on a summer’s evening,“ said Mr Woosnam.

The back garden has been well-looked after with a large expanse of lawn and a garden pond, as well as mature hedges.

“We all dug the pond together,“ said Mr Woosnam, “one lazy Sunday afternoon. The kids love the garden.”

There are also a couple of mature apple trees and a concreted area, which could be an ideal place to put a greenhouse or even a home office.

At the front of the house is a five bar gate opening on to a gravelled drive, which has space for several cars and is semi-hidden from the road thanks to the cottage’s namesake - a large, healthy willow tree. Also in the front is a wood store and large garden shed.

“We’ve been very happy here,“ said Mr Woosnam. “But the best thing about the house has to be its location, set on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“If you like the outdoors, you’re in heaven. I’m a cyclist myself and we are on the Chilterns Cycleway, but there’s so much else to do here, such as beautiful walks in Harpsden woods, which are only two minutes away, plus you’re close to town if you fancy some culture. You just walk up Drawback Hill and come out on Rotherfield Road, in Henley. There is an abundance of options.”

l Willow Cottage is on the market with Davis Tate at a price of £775,000. Call (01491) 412345 for more information.

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