Sunday, 19 September 2021

Developers have left buyers free to make big decisions

Developers have left buyers free to make big decisions

BUILDING a house is like baking a pudding. You start with a plan, gather a load of ingredients and then skilfully put them together to create something new.

A house can be like a fresh raspberry pavlova — elegant, ornate and carefully crafted, or it can be like the humble flapjack — solid, no-nonsense and relatively easy to throw together.

If building is like baking then Orchard House, a new home on the market with Davis Tate for £1.85 million, must surely be like a delicious apple pie. With pastry that is light and melts in the mouth, filled with fruit that is soft but not mushy, and delicately flavoured with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar.

Orchard House — so called because there were once apple trees on its half-acre plot on the Fair Mile — has been designed and built with the same creative and careful approach that top chefs take when preparing their food.

The property developers, Caversham-based Elegant Homes, have struck a successful balance between paying close attention to the smallest of details on the one hand and giving the new owner plenty of scope to make their own décor decisions on the other.

I met John Neville from Elegant Homes, the son of the company’s founder Peter Neville, who showed me around the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home.

“We’ve designed the house as a blank canvas,” he explained, “and a lot of the rooms are designed so you can do whatever you like with them.”

For example, the living room is wired for a home cinema, but there is no wide screen or ceiling speakers to be seen yet because the new owner might have other ideas about how to use this space.

John explained that Elegant Homes aims to make “homes that are so high in quality, so well designed and so comfortable to live in that your life genuinely becomes better for it”.

They do this through design excellence, installing the latest in modern technology, maximising energy efficiency and incorporating some neat architectural features that give the place more character than you find in most new-builds.

Orchard House is set in a mature plot with well-established boundaries, including a tall hedge at the front that hides the house from the road.

The grand over-sized front door opens into a lovely light reception hall in the centre of the house.

On the right there is a utility room and a separate boot room. The boot room is a great feature as it has its own exterior door, so you can come home with a muddy dog or grubby shoes and not get the hallway dirty.

On the left there is a small study that could be used as a playroom or sitting room.

Next to that is a spacious triple-aspect drawing room with bi-fold doors that open on to the back garden and a patio (rigged up with outdoor lighting and speakers) that can also be accessed from the kitchen/dining room.

The fully-fitted SieMatic kitchen/dining room has an island with a discreet counter-level extractor fan instead of an extractor hood, a nice breakfast bar and soft-close cupboard doors and drawers.

The appliances are Siemens energy A++ rated and there is a 600mm-wide integrated fridge with a separate freezer. There is plenty of space for baking in this kitchen, apple pie or anything else you might fancy for pudding.

The spacious and comfortable sitting area in the family room has a wood-burner and a tall vaulted ceiling with sensor Velux windows that close automatically if it rains.

The oak and glass staircase in the middle of the house was purpose-built on site and is said to be completely creak-free.

Upstairs the master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and an impressive en suite bathroom that features a double ceramic Villeroy and Bosch basin, a heated mirror, Saloni porcelain tiles and integrated cabinets with two shaver points.

There are four more double bedrooms, two of which are also en suite, and a separate family bathroom.

The house benefits from a Vaillant gas-fired condensing system boiler with a bronze pump providing instantaneous hot water, a Vaillant hot water cylinder with low heat loss and an accumulator that provides additional stored water to maintain water pressure.

What this means, in everyday terms, is that lots of people can have baths or showers in quick succession without the water running cold mid-hair wash.

There are many energy efficiency features in Orchard House, such as a heat recovery ventilation system. This means that air does not flow in and out, causing heat loss — rather, stale air is extracted and clean fresh air is heated and pumped back in — and the house has an excellent air-tightness rating of 1.6, which means low energy bills.

Throughout the downstairs there is engineered wood flooring that has a six-millimetre layer of solid oak. There are thermostatic valves in every room and underfloor heating downstairs and in the bathrooms.

The outside of the house has a double garage, plenty of space for parking and a lovely leafy southwest-facing back garden.

For more information about Orchard House or to arrange a viewing, call Davis Tate on (01491) 412345.

At a glance...

ORCHARD HOUSE, FAIR MILE, HENLEY

Bedrooms: five

Bathrooms: four

Receptions: three

Approximate area: 3,446 sq ft / 320 sq m

Guide price: £1.85 million

Agent: Davis Tate on (01491) 412345

Property