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Tuesday, 09 March 2021
A COUPLE who finished renovating their Henley home last summer are going back to their roots.
Susan and Graeme McGuiness bought Burbank House in Peppard Lane in 2018 knowing it was in the perfect location for access to the town centre and transport links to London.
The four-bedroom property was only built in 2015 but the couple have refurbished it throughout and added a home office and conservatory.
Now they have decided to move back to Scotland, where they are from, to be closer to family.
Mrs McGuiness, a former primary school teacher, said: “We were living in London for years and years but wanted to escape and have more space.
“We looked round lots of places but we couldn’t get Henley out of our heads. We liked this house because of its location.
“After being in London we didn’t want to be too rural and this offers the perfect mix of being able to walk into town while at the back of the house there are lots of country walks and tracks.
“There is also Drawback Hill and a field there where our three boys play football and have gone sledging in winter.
“The boys go to Trinity School and that was another reason why we wanted to move here because we knew it was an outstanding school and we can either walk or scoot there.”
The couple added a conservatory in 2019 because they wanted to have an “adult area” where they could spend time together and enjoy the garden all-year round.
“It’s where we like to sit in the evenings,” Mrs McGuiness said. “We love spending time there, we have a drinks cabinet in there and fairly lights. It also helps to open up the kitchen.”
The kitchen/dining/family room is open-plan and has herringbone pattern wood flooring with under-floor heating.
There is a central island with a breakfast bar built in while a double Belfast sink sits beneath a window that looks out onto the front garden.
The room is triple-aspect, with windows fitted with shutters and there are bi-fold doors opening on to a patio, which has been extended.
From the kitchen, a glass door opens to a ventilated walk-in pantry, which is currently used to store a drinks fringe.
The dining area offers space for a family dining table and it leads to the conservatory, with views across the patio and garden.
Off the kitchen is a large boot room/utility room, which has wooden floors, matching cabinets to the kitchen and quartz work-surfaces, a sink and laundry facilities.
There is a door to the rear of the property and a window with fitted shutters.
Mrs McGuiness said: “We put in a new kitchen, which is really bright and airy, as well as the wood flooring. We decided to redo it because we wanted to add lots of storage to hide away all our stuff.
“We added a whole new wall of units to give us that extra space so we keep all the children’s art supplies in there as well as the things we use for cooking.
“The utility room, which is more of a boot room, is one of my favourite rooms because it’s so useful. We need that extra space because three boys lead to extra clutter and we like to keep the place looking nice all the time.
“The pantry has a drinks fridge and my husband collects whisky so it is a bit of a party house, too, although we haven’t been able to entertain as much as we would have liked.
“The kitchen area is a really sociable space and, as a family, we spend a lot of time there. The
bi-fold doors open out on to the garden and the patio area is a bit of a sun trap.
“We made the patio a bit bigger and again it is a really sociable space where we and the kids have had friends over and they have played football and had paddling pools out.”
The separate sitting room has dual-aspect windows with shutters, wooden flooring with under-floor heating and an open fireplace currently housing an electric log-effect fire.
Off the sitting room there is a separate play-room/snug, featuring a shuttered window and wooden floors.
Mrs McGuiness said: “It has been nice for us and the children to have their own separate
play-room at the end of the sitting room as it allows us to keep our eye on them and it’s perfect for them to keep all their stuff in there.
“Even though we have only been in the house a fairly short time, the spaces have evolved too. The play-room now has a TV and my children have books and Lego and the older one has his computer in there.”
Off the entrance hall is a study with built-in cupboards where Mr McGuiness has worked since the first coronavirus lockdown in March.
The hall also houses a wooden staircase with glass banisters, leading to a galleried landing with full-height window, vaulted ceiling and feature chandelier. The principal bedroom is a large double room with windows to the front, a carpeted floor, vaulted ceiling with skylight and a chandelier and built-in wardrobes.
It has a large en-suite bathroom that’s tiled in marble and features a free-standing roll-top bath and a separate shower.
Mrs McGuiness said: “The hall area is one of our favourite areas because it is gallery style with a big window on the landing.
“I also love my en-suite in the master bedroom. It is nice for me to indulge in the roll-top bath and escape from everything and it is all in a perfect condition. We have done all three bathrooms recently so people can just move in and not have to do anything.” Bedroom two is a large double, carpeted, with dual-aspect shuttered windows to the front and side. Bedroom three is a double bedroom, carpeted, with a shuttered window over the garden. They make use of the family bathroom.
Bedroom four, the guest bedroom, is a large double, carpeted, with shuttered windows to the front. It has an en-suite with an urban-style walk-in shower.
The enclosed lawned family garden can be accessed from the front of the property via a pedestrian gate and is bordered by new fencing.
At the end of the garden there is a children’s play area with artificial grass. In addition, to the rear of the garage there is a family play area that also has artificial grass. Mrs McGuiness said: “We levelled the garden and relayed the grass and had some artificial grass put in so they can play outside all year round. My eldest son in particular is football crazy and so he plays on it.
“We also redid the driveway so the boys could ride their bikes safely and is completely secure. The garden is an usual shape but it is plenty big enough — it is one of my favourite parts of the house.”
Mrs McGuiness said the pandemic presented an opportunity which was too good to turn down, even though they will miss the house and living in Henley.
“If we could just pick up the house and take it with us then that would be perfect,” she said. “It has been a really happy home and we have some really lovely neighbours so it is definitely bittersweet to leave.
“We’re both Scottish and we have lived down south for 15 years and both of our families have had health issues even before covid.
“With the pandemic, Graeme has been working from home since March and has spent more time with the children, which is a real positive. So, for us, the pandemic has been life-changing in a good way. We want to move to Glasgow and Graeme will go to London when he needs to.
“I also really enjoy interior design and this has been the fifth house we have renovated, moving into a bigger house each time, so the opportunity to do a sixth is something to look forward to as well.
“We keep saying that we will come back to Henley when the boys are older and Graeme has retired as living here has just been a dream.”
• Burbank House also comes with a detached double garage, which has a vaulted roof, power and light and pedestrian side access. It is on the market with Philip Booth Esq estate agents, of Station Road, Henley, with a guide price of £1,595,000. To request a viewing, call (01491) 876544.
25 January 2021
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