Sunday, 07 August 2022

Refurbished family dwelling once housed entertainer

Refurbished family dwelling once housed entertainer

AN elegant period property that has been redesigned for family living and an outdoor lifestyle is on the market with Savills.

The oldest section of Chiltern House, located in Stoke Row, was built in about 1900, making it late Victorian or early Edwardian, and it has since been extended and refurbished by its current owners.

Charles and Joanna Lowe moved in 24 years ago, and are now downsizing as their children have grown up and moved out.

“We bought the house in August 1998,” said Mr Lowe. “We had two young children at the time, and then a third, and it’s been the most marvellous family house for us.

“It has been extended quite a lot over the years. We completely refurbished it — we turned the flat roofs into pitched roofs, and it is now properly integrated and constructed.”

On the ground floor there is a large drawing room with a high ceiling, an open fireplace, and a set of doors that open on to the back garden.

There is also a cosy sitting room with a skylight and wood-burning stove at the back of the house, and a formal dining room and study at the front.

“The main house has masses of space downstairs, so it really works well from a family point of view,” said Mr Lowe. “You can separate the kids off from the adults, and you can have every type of party you want — Christmas, new year and birthday parties.”

The open-plan kitchen/breakfast room has a playroom at one end — so you can keep an eye on the kids or close the door on their toys — and a separate utility room and cloakroom on one side.

A handy boot room was added during the refurbishment. Mrs Lowe said: “We felt that, because of the lifestyle we live and the area we live in, a boot room was essential.

“Young families with kids — they have an awful lot of kit and there is a lot of muddy boots. We made sure we had a really good-sized boot room with a low-level sink and lots of pegs and places to put such items.”

Upstairs there are six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a dressing room with built-in cupboards. In addition to the main house, Chiltern House has a two-storey, four-room annexe. There is a door leading into it through the utility room and it also has its own access to the outside – making it a flexible extra living space.

Mr Lowe said: “We lived in it while we were having the rest of the house built. Then we rented it out — we had Olympic hockey players living there while they were training for the Olympics — and then we used it for Airbnb. It would be great as a granny flat, or you could run your business from there.”

The house is situated on a plot of about 1.5 acres, and the gardens that wrap around it have been thoughtfully landscaped and nurtured by the couple over the years.

“We redesigned the house with the kitchen, sitting room and drawing room all opening up to the south side, where we’ve got patios, decking and a pond,” said Mr Lowe.

“It’s a good-sized pond, quite deep and fenced in. It’s full of wildlife — it’s got newts, frogs, toads and hundreds of fish.” The gardens are beautifully stocked with a collection of trees and shrubs providing interest and colour all year round. A formal path known as the ‘rose walk’ leads to up a Wendy house. There are rhododendrons, white flowering hydrangeas, yew hedging and a lovely big magnolia. There are well-established oaks, chestnuts and a willow tree, and a wisteria and clematis grow up the front of the house.

Mrs Lowe said: “As you come up the drive on the left-hand side, there is a beautiful flowering cherry which looks absolutely stunning in May. It really is the most beautiful thing.” There are well-stocked borders all around the gardens, several lawns, a detached garage and a tennis court, with woodland beyond. At the front there is a turning circle and plenty of space to park.

The house is in a quiet secluded spot in Stoke Row — about halfway between Henley and Wallingford and between Nettlebed and Woodcote — and it has good bus services to most of the state and independent schools in the area.

This thriving village is well-suited for raising a young family, and it is an easy commute to London on the Elizabeth Line via Reading or Shiplake.

Mr Lowe said: “All the fabulous amenities that Stoke Row has to offer are within walking distance. The Cherry Tree pub is just over 100 yards away, a sports ground with a tennis club is three or four minutes’ walk away.

“There is a café, a shop, the garage and the primary school, which has got a good reputation. You’ve got the Crooked Billet as well. It’s a fantastic self-contained village.”

Chiltern House also has a special claim to fame — rock ’n’ roll singer, guitarist and entertainer Joe Brown used to live there.

The property is on the market with Savills at a guide price of £2,975,000. For more information or to arrange a viewing, call (01491) 843000.

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