Thursday, 23 September 2021

Public house that became home full of period features

IT’S almost a decade and a half since “time” was called for the last time at

IT’S almost a decade and a half since “time” was called for the last time at the Fox at Bix, but it’s a property that’s still well known to many locals.

A pub for many years until it closed in the early 2000s, it is the last house on the right hand side on the main road from Bix to Nettlebed.

Built in the Arts and Crafts style, the Fox is home to Daniel and Jo Bausor, who have lived there for the past 10 years.

The couple also have a lodger — dog whisperer Luigi Guitart, who recently featured in the Henley Standard and in a video on Henley Standard TV.

Jo is best known locally as the head of marketing for the ever popular Henley Festival.

She said: “We moved there in 2005. We technically bought it as a business but it had been closed for about three or four years.

“Once we bought it we then applied for change of use to residential, which we eventually got, and then we set about renovating and stuff. I think it had been a working pub up until about 2001 to 2002.”

In February 2003, the Henley Standard reported that plans to convert the Fox into a family restaurant had been rejected by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Scottish and Newcastle Retail had wanted to turn it into a 120-seat Chef and Brewer outlet but the council said it would destroy the character of the Grade II listed building, which today has six bedrooms — one of which is on the ground floor.

Jo said that in the decade they have spent there, she and Daniel, who works in communications, have converted the garage into an office and accommodation.

The property also has planning permission for the erection of a double bay garage with a store room and a play room/storage room overhead.

It must have been a lot of work, so what prompted the Bausors to think of moving? “We’re just looking for a change, really,” says Jo. “We’ve been there for 10 years and we’re just looking for a new challenge.”

It’s not that the couple have any plans to relocate, as such. “We’re definitely staying in the area,” says Jo. “Bix or Middle Assendon or Fair Mile, probably — if we can find ... you know.”

Sole agents Knight Frank describe the Fox as “a charming Grade II listed converted public house with a wealth of character”.

Indeed, clues to its former life still remain. On top of the roof is a fox weather vane — a silhouette of a fox with its tail swishing behind it.

Its big sweeping staircase is reminiscent of when the pub led visitors upstairs to the guest accommodation while one of the downstairs reception rooms still boasts part of the old bar, although not for its original function as it is now utilised as extra storage space.

Another unmistakable nod to the past is the size of its cellar, which measures 10ft by 15ft.

Bix village is just two miles to the north west of Henley, and the Fox sits on high ground close to the village green.

Surrounded by countryside, it is located in the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with bridleways and footpaths stretching for many miles around.

The ground floor is divided into two distinct areas — the front of the house being open-plan, in keeping with its public house origins.

The sitting room features beamed ceilings, parquet flooring and a wood-burning stove fireplace. The dining room and family room have two open fireplaces and panelled walls with leaded light windows. Access to two storerooms, cloakroom and a study can be found through the dining room.

At the rear of the house there is a large well-fitted kitchen/breakfast room and access to the cellar and garden. A second parquet floored hallway follows through on to a double bedroom, shower room and a separate WC.

The first floor has a generous landing area leading on to the master bedroom, which features an en suite with a freestanding bath and takes full advantage of the views to the side and rear of the property.

There are four further bedrooms, all with washbasins. There is also a family bathroom, shower room and a separate WC. Outside, the property is approached over a large parking area and there is side access to the rear garden which is mainly laid to lawn with some well established trees and views across open fields and woodland.

In addition to mains water and electricity, the Fox has a biomass boiler running on wood pellets.

• The Fox at Bix is being marketed by Knight Frank’s Henley office at a guide price of £1,625,000. For more information, call the agents on (01491) 844900.

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