Country Life Autumn / Winter 2016

New Build and Development Special

New Build and Development Special


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AUTUMN/WINTER 2015<br />

NEW BUILD &<br />



The Society for<br />

the Protection of<br />

Ancient Buildings<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Founded by William Morris,<br />

the SPAB protects the historic<br />

environment from decay,<br />

damage and demolition. It<br />

responds to threats to old<br />

buildings, trains building<br />

professionals, craftspeople,<br />

homeowners and volunteers<br />

and gives advice about<br />

maintenance and repairs.<br />

Since 1877 countless<br />

buildings have been saved for<br />

future generations.<br />

Information about maintaining your home is available through events, courses,<br />

lectures, publications and telephone advice.<br />

To support our work why not join the SPAB? Members receive a quarterly<br />

magazine, our list of historic properties for sale and access to our regional activities.<br />

www.spab.org.uk 020 7377 1644<br />

A charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England & Wales. Company no: 5743962<br />

Charity no: 1113753 37 Spital Square, London E1 6DY<br />

Drawing of St Dunstan-in-the-West by SPAB Scholar Ptolomy Dean<br />

On Sale:<br />

November 4th<br />

Presents<br />

The Ski issue<br />

Booking and Copy Deadline:<br />

October 21st<br />

<strong>Country</strong> <strong>Life</strong> is kicking off the<br />

winter season with the perfect<br />

platform to showcase your<br />

ski properties.<br />

With dedicated editorial<br />

coverage of the ski property<br />

market and the world’s finest<br />

ski destinations, discover why<br />

now is the ideal time to<br />

present your ski chalet or<br />

development to our affluent<br />

and dedicated readership.<br />

Reaching nearly 400,000 readers globally and read in over 60 countries<br />

For more information please contact:<br />

Danielle Walden<br />

T: +44 (0) 203 148 4209<br />

E: danielle.walden@timeinc.com

The grit that makes the pearl<br />

Shilstone House, Devon. The home of Sebastian and Lucy Fenwick<br />

A small farm in an intimate Devon valley has been brilliantly transformed into a new<br />

country house. John Goodall explains the story behind this remarkable project<br />

Photographs by Paul Highnam<br />

IT’S not easy to find Shilstone,<br />

but for the traveller who successfully<br />

navigates the deep lanes<br />

that lace the rolling countryside<br />

around Modbury in Devon, there<br />

is a remarkable treat in store. Nestled<br />

in the head of a narrow valley, the first<br />

impression is of a long-established<br />

country house with a broad main front<br />

flanked to either side by a walled garden<br />

and a cluster of farm buildings<br />

(Fig 1). As we shall discover, there<br />

is historical depth to this site, but the<br />

bulk of the house is of modern design<br />

and erected since 2000.<br />

In the early 1990s, Sebastian Fenwick<br />

was living at Puslinch, Devon, a fine<br />

Georgian country house. An enthusiast<br />

for architecture, however, he had a longstanding<br />

ambition to build a new house<br />

following in the footsteps of his grand-<br />

mother, Violet Fenwick, who, with Sir<br />

Edwin Lutyens, created Temple Dinsley<br />

(COUNTRY LIFE, April 22, 1911).<br />

Armed with a collection of Ordnance<br />

Survey maps, he spent many years<br />

doing what he cheerfully describes<br />

as ‘trespassing’ in search of a private<br />

Devon valley. In 1997, and by now<br />

married to Lucy, he finally purchased<br />

one of the sites he had identified, the<br />

valley and farm of what had become<br />

known as Shilston Barton.<br />

In the light of Mr Fenwick’s research<br />

into the landscape, and during the<br />

course of preparations for creating the<br />

new house, the site as a whole yielded<br />

a fascinating story. The Fenwicks<br />

recognised the potential for something<br />

perhaps even more intriguing than<br />

they had first anticipated: a newly<br />

commissioned house in a Classical<br />

idiom that could draw on the history<br />

of the site. The existing farmhouse<br />

might not be of outstanding architectural<br />

importance, but it could become<br />

the basis for its successor. It was—in<br />

short—grit that could make a pearl.<br />

Investigation demonstrated that the<br />

history of human occupation within<br />

the valley was very deep. An Iron Age<br />

enclosure of the 1st century BC was<br />

discovered in the area of the walled<br />

garden and, beneath the house itself, the<br />

remains of a late-14th-century building,<br />

presumably the seat of the manor<br />

documented here since Domesday.<br />

The construction of this manor house<br />

may be connected with the passage<br />

of the property in about 1390<br />

to the Hill—or Hull—family, part<br />

of a dynasty of West <strong>Country</strong> lawyers.<br />

They subsequently adapted<br />

Fig 1 above:<br />

The new<br />

house and the<br />

farm buildings<br />

beyond. The<br />

original surviving<br />

fragment<br />

of the 1800<br />

house is to the<br />

far right of the<br />

main façade. Its<br />

outline is faintly<br />

visible in the<br />

colour of the<br />


Fig 2: Viewed<br />

from above, the<br />

house is set<br />

against an<br />

intimate and<br />

enclosed Devon<br />

landscape.<br />

Clearly visible<br />

here are the<br />

drawing room’s<br />

mullion and transom<br />

windows<br />

the building in the later Middle Ages.<br />

Perhaps the most remarkable finds<br />

related to the development of Shilstone<br />

by the Savery family from<br />

Totnes, who had purchased the<br />

property by 1614. The survey and<br />

clearance of the setting revealed the<br />

extensive remains of terraces and<br />

gardens around the house. These<br />

spread across the natural amphitheatre<br />

at the head of the valley and<br />

incorporated a series of pools, water<br />

courses, rills and cascades descending<br />

along its length from an arched grotto.<br />

This last is, in fact, an adapted water<br />

theatre, an Italianate garden feature<br />

formerly with a frieze of decorative<br />

figures executed in plaster. There is<br />

also a walled garden with a gazebo<br />

tower and raised walkway to the rear.<br />

The development of the gardens is<br />

not documented, but one figure presumably<br />

involved in their creation<br />

was Servington Savery, who lived<br />

‘<br />

A 1st-century BC<br />

Iron Age enclosure<br />

was discovered<br />

in the walled<br />

garden<br />

’<br />

at Shilstone all his life from the 1670s<br />

to the 1740s. A descendant described<br />

him in a family history of 1809 as a ‘man<br />

of a studious turn of mind, and of retired<br />

habits: amusing himself in philosophical<br />

pursuits’. His interests included<br />

researches into magnetism, which attracted<br />

the attention of the Royal Society.<br />

It is an intriguing possibility that an<br />

elder cousin of Servington might also<br />

have helped lay out the series of lakes<br />

down the length of the valley. Thomas<br />

Savery was born at Shilstone in about<br />

1650, became a military engineer and<br />

then—through his interest in Devon<br />

mining and the problems of draining<br />

pits—invented a machine for raising<br />

water using steam pressure. He secured<br />

the post of surveyor to the waterworks<br />

at Hampton Court in 1714, the<br />

year before he died.<br />

An anonymous watercolour of about<br />

1810 depicts the house as it must ➢

have been familiar to both these men.<br />

It shows a rambling building with<br />

a central medieval hall that is entered<br />

through a tower porch. To the right<br />

of the hall are modest service buildings<br />

and, to the left, a large Jacobean<br />

block with three gables.<br />

Between about 1810 and 1813, this<br />

ancient building was completely recast.<br />

The new house was planned with at least<br />

two regular façades of two storeys to<br />

the south and east. There is no record<br />

of the completed building. It was sold<br />

in 1820 and came into the hands of<br />

Thomas Collins-Splatt. Soon after<br />

1824—and certainly by 1840—he<br />

largely demolished the house. Excavation<br />

of the site suggests that the<br />

new building was erected on a poorly<br />

prepared site and the walls suffered<br />

from subsidence.<br />

The remains of the building were<br />

patched up as a farmhouse. This comprised<br />

the full extent of the east front,<br />

five window bays wide, and a section<br />

of main front of three bays wide.<br />

Both façades have been fully integrated<br />

in the present house and their<br />

extent in the fabric is just apparent<br />

from the weathering of the stone.<br />

‘<br />

For nearly two<br />

centuries, Shilstone<br />

languished as an<br />

architecturally<br />

undistinguished<br />

farmhouse<br />

’<br />

Materials from the demolition were<br />

turned to use in the enlargement<br />

of the neighbouring farm buildings.<br />

Some have also reputedly been found<br />

in town houses in Modbury. For nearly<br />

two centuries thereafter, Shilstone<br />

languished as an architecturally<br />

undistinguished farmhouse.<br />

When the Fenwicks purchased the<br />

property in 1997, their first task was<br />

to set the agricultural buildings beside<br />

the house in order, creating a series<br />

of cottages and also a small house<br />

on site from which to supervise the<br />

building work. In the meantime, they<br />

commissioned Kit Rae-Scott to design<br />

their new home.<br />

His brief was for a house that sat<br />

comfortably on the site and in relation<br />

to the existing fragment of the earlier<br />

house. It needed to take advantage<br />

of its situation, with garden fronts to<br />

the south and west, an entrance front<br />

Fig 3 top left:<br />

The dining<br />

room enjoys<br />

views over the<br />

valley. The oak<br />

boards were<br />

laid green and<br />

have been<br />

allowed to<br />

season in<br />

place, hence<br />

the gaps between<br />

them<br />

Fig 4 left: The<br />

library, with<br />

its collection<br />

of architectural<br />

books<br />


to the east and the services facing<br />

the hill to the north. It was also<br />

required that the kitchen had a twoway<br />

aspect that included a view<br />

of the forecourt and farm buildings,<br />

so that it was possible to keep an eye<br />

on day-to-day activity from there.<br />

Mr Fenwick, a particular enthusiast<br />

for 17th-century architecture, likes<br />

houses that have evolved and<br />

requested that the finished building<br />

should have work in the character<br />

of the three periods—1600s, 1680s<br />

and 1720s.<br />

The resulting design is simple, satisfying<br />

and successful. The surviving<br />

eastern façade was retained in its<br />

entirety as the new entrance and the<br />

southern front was extended to seven<br />

bays. This was not a random length,<br />

but replicated Mr Rae-Scott’s reconstruction<br />

of the façade of about 1800,<br />

as inferred from its truncated remains.<br />

During the course of clearing the site,<br />

his deduction as to the original extent<br />

of the front was proved to be correct.<br />

Both fronts were refenestrated<br />

with broad-framed sashes, a treatment<br />

characteristic of about 1700.<br />

To the west and north, the symmetry<br />

and regular fenestration of the house<br />

was broken with different levels and<br />

mullion and transom windows (Fig 2).<br />

One room within the entrance<br />

range preserved Jacobean panelling<br />

and this has been repaired and preserved.<br />

It was thought that the<br />

panelling came from the house, but<br />

when it was dismantled, a piece<br />

of paper pasted on the back of one<br />

panel revealed that it incorporates at Fig 5: The<br />

least some pieces ‘From Revelstoke central corridor<br />

when taken down 1868’ (Fig 6). is the main<br />

Internally, the house is designed artery of the<br />

around a small courtyard with a fountain.<br />

This open space suffuses the nects the front<br />

house. It con-<br />

surrounding interiors with light and hall, shown<br />

spreads the calming sound of running here, with the<br />

water through the building. Extending<br />

along one side of the courtyard opposite end<br />

back hall at the<br />

is an arterial corridor that connects of the house<br />

the front and back hall of the house and is lit from<br />

(Fig 5). Opening off this are the dining<br />

room (Fig 3) and library (Fig 4), the central<br />

the side by<br />

the latter with an impressive collection<br />

of books on architecture. the main rooms<br />

courtyard. All<br />

At first-floor level, the courtyard open off this<br />

is enclosed on two sides by corridors thoroughfare<br />

giving access to bedrooms, a gallery<br />

and guest room. Mr Fenwick sees ➢

Fig 6: Lucy<br />

Fenwick’s sitting<br />

room is part<br />

of the original<br />

house on the<br />

site and is decorated<br />

with early-<br />

17th-century<br />

panelling.<br />

Some of this<br />

may have come<br />

from the earlier<br />

house, but a note<br />

on the back<br />

of one panel<br />

reveals that<br />

it was brought<br />

from a nearby<br />

house at<br />

Revelstoke,<br />

demolished<br />

in 1868<br />

echoes of many of his favourite buildings<br />

in the design: the stone hall<br />

evokes that of Puslinch, Devon, the<br />

corridors Castle Howard, North Yorkshire,<br />

and the drawing room—the<br />

one room in the house that awaits<br />

completion—that of Trerice, Cornwall.<br />

Permission for the designs was sought<br />

in 2000 and it has taken more than<br />

10 years to realise them. All the stone<br />

was quarried from the farm and sandblasted<br />

on-site to give it a patina of age.<br />

English oak and elm have been used<br />

throughout the building (Fig 7). Mr<br />

Fenwick was his own clerk of works.<br />

Rather than working with estimates, he<br />

purchased all the materials himself and<br />

paid everyone according to the hours<br />

they laboured. In his own words, he aimed<br />

every week ‘to put the cheque into the<br />

hand of the man who did the work’<br />

rather than managers or third parties.<br />

There were no consultants, surveyors<br />

or even computers used on this<br />

project, just the single mind of Mr<br />

Rae-Scott. It is testimony to how well<br />

this system operated that the majority<br />

of the workforce is still helping<br />

at Shilstone on the estate.<br />

Apparent throughout the building<br />

is an acute attention to detail. Mr<br />

Rae-Scott, for example, drew up his<br />

plans in imperial measurements in<br />

deference to the tradition he was work-<br />

‘<br />

For the traveller<br />

who successfully<br />

navigates the<br />

deep lanes that<br />

lace the rolling<br />

countryside<br />

of Devon, there<br />

is a remarkable<br />

treat in store<br />

’<br />

ing in. These were presented for planning<br />

in metric by the simple means of photocopying<br />

his drawings to a different scale.<br />

And Mr Fenwick can enthusiastically<br />

explain almost every feature of the<br />

building and the way it was intended<br />

to mature. The oak floorboards, for<br />

example, were deliberately seasoned<br />

in situ and were laid to accommodate<br />

shrinkage. In this way, they precisely<br />

imitate the form of historic floors.<br />

Such sensibilities account for part<br />

of Shilstone’s success, but there is more.<br />

Mrs Fenwick is a director of Sotheby’s<br />

and a specialist in British pictures.<br />

She has collected for the interior with<br />

a brilliant eye to complement inherited<br />

and repurchased family furniture<br />

and paintings. The result is a very<br />

eclectic hang of pictures. It is one,<br />

moreover, that is forever shifting,<br />

clear evidence that the interiors are<br />

being enjoyed and contemplated.<br />

The house may be coming to completion,<br />

but the Shilstone project also<br />

has a vigorous afterlife. The team<br />

that furnished the house is now making<br />

panelling and fitting for other houses.<br />

Mr Fenwick’s experience of searching<br />

for a suitable place to build his<br />

house has now generated a small institution<br />

in the form of the Devon Rural<br />

Archive. Run by a full-time member<br />

of staff and half a dozen volunteers,<br />

the archive occupies a purpose-built<br />

library on the farm by the architect<br />

Adrian Gale. It seeks to encourage<br />

public interest in Devon’s landscape<br />

and historic buildings great and small.<br />

No less remarkable, plans are already<br />

afoot for the conversion and extension<br />

of a newly acquired neighbouring farmhouse<br />

dating from the 15th/16th century<br />

in a similarly exemplary fashion to<br />

designs by Mr Rae-Scott. With the<br />

example of Shilstone to judge it by,<br />

it is hard not to be excited at the prospect<br />

of what will be achieved.<br />

For more information, visit http://<br />

shilstonedevon.co.uk<br />

Fig 7 facing<br />

page: The main<br />

stair rises from<br />

a lobby off<br />

the back hall.<br />

It reflects<br />

the expertise<br />

of the building<br />

team and<br />

is made of<br />

English timber

Timeless elegance<br />

The new-build country or town house needs real<br />

character to stand the test of time. Geoff Heath-Taylor<br />

takes a look at houses built after 2000 that showcase<br />

the best of British domestic architecture<br />

Palladian<br />

Quinlan Terry and his son, Francis, are<br />

leading advocates for Classical architecture<br />

today. At Ferne Park, Viscountess<br />

Rothermere’s house on the Wiltshire/<br />

Dorset border, they have skilfully reinterpreted<br />

the language of Palladianism<br />

to suit the needs of a family in the 21st<br />

century. The pediments and pilasters will<br />

age gracefully and the gleaming, locally<br />

sourced Portland stone will weather to<br />

a soft silvery-grey.<br />

Quinlan & Francis Terry Architects<br />

(01206 323186; www.qftarchitects.com)<br />

Minimalist<br />

This award-winning clifftop home on the northwest<br />

coast of the Isle of Skye is a wonder primarily<br />

because of the way the house sits so well<br />

in its extraordinary setting. Designed as ‘two<br />

connected volumes’, the entrance façade is<br />

built in traditional Scottish stone, which makes<br />

the building sit well in the rugged hills. In contrast,<br />

the north-west front looks suitably stark<br />

in the barren landscape, a mass of silvery<br />

larch wood and glazing that offers farreaching<br />

views across Loch Dunvegan.<br />

Dualchas Architects (0141 –550 1401;<br />

www.dualchas.com)<br />

London skyline<br />

Completed in 2012, The Shard has very quickly<br />

become a defining part of the London skyline. Its<br />

tapering form—like a huge spire of glass—<br />

soars over the capital, with a viewing platform<br />

at the top that commands 360˚ views for up to<br />

40 miles around. The apartments on the upper<br />

levels enjoy some of the greatest cityscape vistas<br />

in the world, with St Paul’s appearing as small<br />

as a matchbox from the penthouse.<br />

Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects<br />

(00 39 01 06 17 11; www.rpbw.com)

Paul Highnam; Andrew Lee; ImageGap/ Getty Images; Will Pryce/<strong>Country</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Picture Library<br />

‘<br />

The tradition of new<br />

country houses<br />

in Britain remains<br />

as strong as ever<br />

in the 21st century<br />

’<br />

Neo-Georgian<br />

This Wiltshire house was built in two phases<br />

by Ross Sharpe Architects and the Cirencesterbased<br />

practice Yiangou Architects. The principal<br />

section was finished six years ago in the<br />

style of a gentrified 18th-century Cotswold farmhouse<br />

and the extension, with its Venetian window<br />

and Regency garden façade, was added in<br />

2012. It combines Classical design with modern<br />

building materials, incorporating a concrete<br />

structure covered in lime render.<br />

Yiangou Architects (01285 888150;<br />

www.yiangou.com)<br />

Arts-and-Crafts<br />

The Arts-and-Crafts Movement transformed the way in which we view and value materials.<br />

This new farmhouse in Hampshire, with its dormers and arched porch, is designed in the<br />

spirit and idiom of that movement. It makes use of locally sourced brick, flint and clay.<br />

These materials relate the building directly to its setting.<br />

ADAM Architecture (01962 843843; www.adamarchitecture.com)<br />

Eco<br />

In COUNTRY LIFE’s ‘Best of Britain’ number<br />

last year (June 11), Editor-at-Large Clive<br />

Aslet commented that Downley House in<br />

Hampshire demonstrates ‘that the tradition<br />

of new country houses in Britain remains<br />

as strong as ever in the 21st century’.<br />

Hidden in a valley near Petersfield, Downley<br />

is at once romantic and Modernist. The<br />

house includes turrets and a great hall<br />

and makes extensive use of cross-laminated<br />

timber from sustainable forests<br />

in Switzerland.<br />

Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects<br />

(www.birdsportchmouthrussum.com;<br />

020–7253 8205)

Knots<br />

and<br />

bolts<br />

The versatility of oakframe<br />

buildings knows<br />

few bounds. From newbuild<br />

country houses<br />

via guest annexes<br />

and garden rooms,<br />

Arabella Youens<br />

takes a look at the<br />

elegant options<br />

Guest annexe<br />

After successfully commissioning an orangery and stable complex, the owner of this house in<br />

Staffordshire had this guest house designed and built by Prime Oak. The building was constructed<br />

within Permitted Development (the company undertook the responsibility of ensuring this was<br />

the case).<br />

Cost The supply and installation of the oak frame, the joinery and the insulated roof, which is lined<br />

with reclaimed tiles, cost £65,000, plus VAT.<br />

Good to know The company, which was established in 1998 and is based in the West Midlands,<br />

has an oak show site you can visit to inspect some examples of its work, including an annexe,<br />

garage, orangery and garden room. In the spirit of keeping the necessary skills alive, it also runs<br />

an apprenticeship programme with local colleges.<br />

Contact 01384 296611; www.primeoak.co.uk<br />

Garage<br />

This three-bay oak garage has one<br />

set of garage doors, an open log<br />

store and a pretty oak dovecote.<br />

Cost This garage cost £32,000 plus<br />

VAT (not including foundations).<br />

Good to know Julius Bahn Oak<br />

Buildings in Stourbridge, West<br />

Midlands, specialises in extensions<br />

and outbuildings. It will handle all<br />

planning applications and create<br />

bespoke designs for each client.<br />

Contact 03444 171400; www.<br />

juliusbahn.co.uk<br />


House<br />

This six-bedroom house in Surrey<br />

measures approximately 4,000sq ft.<br />

Oakwrights in Hereford was commissioned<br />

to build it and it took seven months<br />

to complete, with the owners moving<br />

into the property in June last year.<br />

Cost Approximately £750,000.<br />

Good to know Oakwrights prides<br />

itself on its state-of-the-art equipment:<br />

80% of the precision cutting is done<br />

by machine, with the craftsmen doing<br />

the scribe work, decoration and<br />

embellishment, much of which is done<br />

using traditional hand tools.<br />

Contact 01432 353353; www.<br />

oakwrights.co.uk<br />

‘<br />

Welsh Oak<br />

Frames makes<br />

all the frames<br />

by hand in its<br />

workshops<br />

’<br />

Kitchen extension<br />

The owners of a farmhouse in Flintshire, North Wales, replaced<br />

a single-storey annexe with this open-plan kitchen, dining<br />

and living space. Planning permission required the extension<br />

to complement and link seamlessly with the existing building.<br />

Cost The total project cost about £200,000: approximately<br />

£100,000 for the building work, £50,000 for the oak frame<br />

and a further £50,000 for bi-fold doors, kitchen units and<br />

furniture. Included in the project (not seen in the photograph)<br />

is a sitting area and bedroom with study.<br />

Good to know Welsh Oak Frame makes all the frames<br />

by hand in its workshops rather than using machinery.<br />

Contact 01686 688000; www.welshoakframe.com<br />

‘<br />

This round<br />

conservatory<br />

provides 360˚ views<br />

of the garden<br />

’<br />

Conservatory<br />

This oak-frame conservatory is part<br />

of a Grade II-listed 16th-century house<br />

in Warwickshire. Having spotted a round<br />

conservatory in a magazine, the owners<br />

commissioned Arboreta to create<br />

a similar design. In order to overcome<br />

potential problems with the listing<br />

of the house, a small walkway was put<br />

in place to connect the conservatory<br />

to the main house. The final design,<br />

with its nine windows, provides 360˚<br />

views of the garden.<br />

Cost The green-oak frame cost £36,000<br />

and the total cost to build was £52,000<br />

(including the frame).<br />

Good to know Arboreta is an arm<br />

of Welsh Oak Frame and specialises<br />

in building garden rooms, orangeries,<br />

conservatories and annexes.<br />

Contact 0800 288 8333; www.<br />

arboreta-oak.com<br />

Pool house<br />

This four-bay pool enclosure was built for a family in Kent. It’s an oak structure with structural feature<br />

trusses and a warm roof in which the insulation is fitted above the rafters, but below the tiling.<br />

Cost It took five weeks to build at a total cost of £135,000.<br />

Good to know East Sussex-based company English Heritage Buildings is the only oak-framed<br />

manufacturer to be awarded a BM TRADA Q-Mark and it’s focused on using traditional building<br />

techniques using modern technology.<br />

Contact 01424 838643; www.ehbp.com<br />

Orangery<br />

County Oak in Somerset was commissioned to build this oak orangery by a family<br />

in West Sussex who were looking to create a light space for entertaining that would<br />

sit well with their Tudor house. The glass construction was designed to echo<br />

the architecture of Elizabethan outbuildings and the house’s timber frame. Ashurst<br />

tiles were carefully selected to match the existing roof.<br />

Cost £45,000 including VAT.<br />

Good to know The quality of the oak—which is fully air dried rather than green<br />

or partially dried—shows off the beauty and texture of this wood at its best.<br />

Contact 01278 764415; www.countyoak.com

In with<br />

the new<br />

Carla Passino has the pick of newly<br />

built properties and restorations<br />

in London and in the country<br />

In London<br />

London SW1 from £2.1 million<br />

Number 1, Palace Street<br />

Best feature The perfect central London setting<br />

Style A modern take on period interiors<br />

Several of the 72 apartments at these converted government<br />

offices, due to be completed in December 2017, will enjoy<br />

views of Buckingham Palace’s gardens. The development spans<br />

five eras, ranging from Italianate Renaissance to contemporary,<br />

and has leisure facilities and full concierge service.<br />

Northacre (020–7349 8000; www.northacre.com)<br />

London SE1 from £5.95 million for a penthouse<br />

NEO Bankside, Sumner Street<br />

Best feature Double-height living areas overlooking the<br />

London skyline<br />

Style Uncompromisingly contemporary<br />

The soaring towers of NEO Bankside, on the South Bank,<br />

are as cutting-edge as can be. External bracings hug the<br />

buildings, removing the need for structural walls and giving<br />

complete flexibility to internal spaces, and its vast expanses<br />

of glass bring in the views of St Paul’s and the Thames. <strong>Winter</strong><br />

gardens extend the living area while sheltering you from the<br />

vagaries of the weather. There is a state-of-the-art gym plus<br />

the obligatory 24-hour concierge and security services.<br />

NEO Bankside (020–7998 1888; www.neobankside.com)<br />

London SE1 from £3.45 million for a penthouse<br />

One Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge<br />

Best feature The large, panoramic roof terraces<br />

Style Modern chic<br />

Facing Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, the penthouses<br />

at One Tower Bridge make the most of the views with floorto-ceiling<br />

windows and spectacular roof terraces, which<br />

have an outdoor kitchen with a dining and seating area.<br />

Residents also have access to a beautiful pool and spa,<br />

24-hour concierge service and a virtual golf experience.<br />

The Berkeley Group (020–7871 0011; www.berkeleygroup.co.uk)<br />


London WC2 £7.5 million<br />

9, Betterton Street, Covent Garden<br />

Best feature The striking kitchen<br />

Style Streamlined and ultra-modern<br />

This converted four-bedroom town house<br />

is packed with dramatic features, from<br />

the double-height ceilings in the kitchen<br />

to the minimalist fireplace in the sitting<br />

room and the magnificent terrace. The<br />

gym, the steam room and the cinema<br />

room can be controlled from your iPad.<br />

CBRE (www.cbreresidential.com; 020–<br />

7420 3050) and Knight Frank (www.<br />

knightfrank.co.uk; 020–7499 1012)<br />

London SW6 £16.95 million<br />

The Penthouse at The Tower,<br />

Chelsea Creek, Fulham<br />

Best feature The magnificent terrace<br />

with outdoor tub<br />

Style Timeless classic<br />

Penthouse living doesn’t get much better<br />

than at The Tower, the angular waterside<br />

building rising above Chelsea Creek docks.<br />

Once completed, this five-bedroom property,<br />

which takes up the two top floors<br />

of the 25-storey tower, will have beautiful<br />

interiors designed by Taylor Howes—the<br />

kitchen with a grey-veined marble island<br />

and Gaggenau appliances is especially<br />

striking—plus a landscaped sky garden<br />

and magnificent views across the Thames<br />

and the London skyline.<br />

Knight Frank (020–3811 2241; www.<br />

knightfrank.co.uk)<br />

In the regions<br />

North Yorkshire from £1.58 million<br />

for a town house<br />

St Leonard’s Place, York<br />

Best feature A superb location in the<br />

heart of York<br />

Style Regency meets modern<br />

Selling agents Savills call St Leonard’s<br />

Place ‘the most exclusive development<br />

that York has seen for several decades’.<br />

Set close to York Minster, this Grade II*-<br />

listed crescent is being converted into<br />

five exceptional town houses plus 29<br />

apartments and six mews properties.<br />

The houses—a thoughtful restoration<br />

of five of the original crescent homes—<br />

will blend magnificent period features<br />

and contemporary touches, such as<br />

open-plan living areas and automated<br />

sound and lighting systems.<br />

Savills (01904 617820; www.savills.com) ➢

Surrey £4.25 million<br />

High Warren, The Warren, Ashtead<br />

Best feature The manicured interiors<br />

Style Modern classic<br />

Timeless architecture meets contemporary<br />

design at this boutique development<br />

of five villas. This elegant house<br />

has five bedrooms, including a vast<br />

master suite with dressing room and<br />

balcony and four airy reception rooms.<br />

A separate annexe provides accommodation<br />

for guests or staff.<br />

Knight Frank (01483 564660; www.<br />

knightfrank.co.uk)<br />

Hampshire £2.595 million<br />

Woodlands, Sandy Down<br />

Best feature Beautiful grounds with private woodland abutting historic woods<br />

Style Versatile modern spaces with a period flavour<br />

As the name suggests, this four- to five-bedroom house, which sits in more than<br />

1½ acres by the ancient Roydon Woods, comes with its own stretch of woodland.<br />

Inspired by New Forest architecture, Woodlands marries traditional details—from<br />

the Michelmersh bricks with corbel detailing to the handmade clay roof tiles and<br />

the hand-carved oak banister in the turning staircase—with a flexible, contemporary<br />

use of space. All the main rooms make the most of the beautiful rural views.<br />

John D. Wood & Co (01590 677233; www.johndwood.co.uk) and Spencers<br />

of the New Forest (01590 622551; www.spencersnewforest.com)<br />

Oxfordshire from £1.425 million<br />

The Acre, Cumnor Hill, Oxford<br />

Best feature Distinctive, low-impact architecture<br />

Style Tailored to suit your taste<br />

Innovative architecture and sustainability meet at The Acre,<br />

a development of just five houses on Cumnor Hill created<br />

by Kevin McCloud’s HAB Housing. Each property has<br />

been designed to make the most of its position on the hill<br />

while minimising its impact on the environment, with plenty<br />

of natural daylight, hemp as an insulating material and<br />

bird-friendly gardens. The bespoke interiors will be finished<br />

to meet each buyer’s taste and needs.<br />

Savills (01865 269010; www.savills.com)<br />

Berkshire £4.35 million<br />

Moor Green Farm, Finchampstead<br />

Best feature The idyllic location<br />

Style Modern Georgian<br />

Views across the Moor Green Lakes<br />

Nature Reserve, a lake-peppered haven<br />

teeming with roe deer and more than<br />

200 bird species, are just one of the<br />

many draws at Moor Green Farm. This<br />

six-bedroom, Georgian-style country<br />

house has bright, beautifully proportioned<br />

reception rooms, a magnificent kitchen/<br />

breakfast room and plenty of scope<br />

for fun and relaxation—including<br />

a gym, a games room and a cinema<br />

room. Outside, the lawned gardens<br />

and grounds extend to 5.7 acres.<br />

Strutt & Parker (01256 702892; www.<br />


Property market<br />

Penny Churchill<br />

IT’S been a tough year for UK<br />

property developers whose<br />

mission in life is to satisfy the<br />

housing needs of the world’s megarich.<br />

Even in the gilded north Surrey<br />

enclave of St George’s Hill, Weybridge,<br />

‘the first half of the year was<br />

completely wiped out by the panic<br />

surrounding the General Election,<br />

fears about Labour and the SNP, the<br />

non-domicile grey cloud and the added<br />

ingredient of Stamp Duty,’ reveals<br />

Tim Garbett of Knight Frank in Esher,<br />

who has reigned supreme on the hill<br />

for much of his 40-year career.<br />

‘<br />

Built with<br />

opulence and<br />

privacy in mind<br />

’<br />

Fortunately, the return of a Conservative<br />

government appears to<br />

have steadied the ship and normal<br />

service resumed this month with the<br />

launch onto the market, through<br />

Knight Frank (01372 464496), of<br />

the Royalton Group’s spectacular,<br />

21,500sq ft Woodlawn (Fig 1) in<br />

East Road, St George’s Hill, at<br />

a guide price of ‘excess £25 million’.<br />

Claimed to be ‘the biggest and most<br />

exceptional house in St George’s Hill,<br />

and arguably the most desirable<br />

property available in the UK’, Woodlawn<br />

stands on the footprint of an<br />

original W. G. Tarrant manor house,<br />

built in 1913 and extended in 1924.<br />

Designed by the architect Julian<br />

Bicknell with ‘opulence, relaxation<br />

and privacy in mind’, the classically<br />

proportioned stucco house stands in<br />

3.7 acres of secluded grounds on one<br />

of the largest sites in the 900-acre<br />

St George’s Hill estate, part of which<br />

is designated Green Belt, on which no<br />

formal building is allowed.<br />

114 <strong>Country</strong> <strong>Life</strong> Month 1, 2015<br />

Fig 2 below:<br />

Secluded<br />

Woodrow at<br />

Windlesham,<br />

Surrey, by<br />

Hencan<br />

Southern.<br />

£19.75m<br />

A talent to amaze<br />

Three new-build country houses in Surrey<br />

offer living on a grand scale<br />

The main, three-storey, formal<br />

block of the house stretches the full<br />

width of the site with, to one side,<br />

a service court with five garages and<br />

two staff flats, linked to a pool and<br />

leisure suite that extends down the<br />

garden. Unusually nowadays for a house<br />

designed with the international market<br />

in mind, the entire built area is located<br />

Fig 1 above and<br />

left: ‘The biggest<br />

and most<br />

exceptional<br />

house in St<br />

George’s Hill’:<br />

the Royalton<br />

group’s new<br />

Woodlawn.<br />

Excess £25m<br />

above ground, with no underground<br />

construction whatsoever.<br />

Unbridled opulence is the order of<br />

the day, with symmetry a recurring<br />

theme throughout, from the Art<br />

Deco-inspired, double entrance staircase,<br />

to the domed entrance hall.<br />

Other highlights include the linked<br />

drawing and dining rooms, the study/<br />

library and the open-plan kitchen,<br />

breakfast and family room, leading<br />

to the sun room, with its magnificent<br />

views across the manicured grounds.<br />

That, in turn, leads to a sumptuous<br />

day room overlooking the swimming<br />

pool and spa, where, at the touch of<br />

a button, a drop-down screen converts<br />

the room into a luxurious<br />

cinema, with upholstered walls to<br />

soundproof the area ‘for optimum<br />

viewing pleasure’.<br />

Unlike many of the new mansions<br />

built in the north Surrey arena in<br />

recent years, the approach to the<br />


Find the best properties at countrylife.co.uk<br />

house is genuinely impressive, with<br />

double entrance gates opening onto<br />

a central driveway, framed by an<br />

avenue of hornbeams and bisected by<br />

a long axial fountain pool. Security,<br />

always a major concern, is provided<br />

by sophisticated CCTV and video<br />

systems, backed up by a steel palisade<br />

and 7ft-high fencing on the northeastern<br />

and eastern boundaries.<br />

Who can afford such splendour in<br />

this day and age? At the moment,<br />

probably not an Englishman, agrees<br />

Mr Garnett, who has been fielding<br />

enquiries from Chinese, Middle East<br />

and Indian buyers, as well as the<br />

occasional Russian. However, proof<br />

positive that some life is returning<br />

to the market is the fact that he has<br />

already received two bids on the<br />

house.<br />

And, given that the next sale down<br />

the line in St George’s Hill this year<br />

was a brand-new mansion set in 1½<br />

acres, also built by Royalton but sold<br />

privately with no prices released,<br />

Woodlawn may well turn out to be<br />

the catalyst that kickstarts the toplevel<br />

revival in this exclusive neck of<br />

the woods.<br />

Certainly Paul Finnegan of Savills<br />

(020–7016 3780), which have joined<br />

Knight Frank (020–7629 8171) as<br />

joint selling agents for local developer<br />

Hencan Southern’s prestigious<br />

new mansion, the 22,000sq ft Woodrow<br />

(Fig 2) at Windlesham, Surrey,<br />

will be hoping for just such an outcome.<br />

Currently on offer at a guide<br />

price of £19.75m, secluded Woodrow<br />

stands in an idyllic, four-acre parkland<br />

and woodland setting, off one<br />

of Windlesham village’s premier roads<br />

and close to the historic towns of<br />

Ascot and Windsor—as well as the golf<br />

courses of Sunningdale and Wentworth.<br />

Built on four floors, with the high<br />

ceilings and the expansive rooms<br />

Fig 3: Imposing<br />

Burford Place<br />

at Picketts Hill,<br />

near Haslemere<br />

in Surrey,<br />

is an Octagon<br />

house within<br />

easy reach<br />

of the area’s<br />

good schools.<br />

£4.75m<br />

All the boy’s toys<br />

demanded by today’s international<br />

buyer, Woodrow makes the most of<br />

its generous living space, with five<br />

grand reception rooms, eight bedrooms,<br />

nine bathrooms, a 9,800sq ft<br />

underground leisure and swimmingpool<br />

facility, two staff apartments<br />

and garaging for six cars.<br />

East Molesey-based Octagon is<br />

another Surrey developer with an<br />

excellent track record for building<br />

one-off, top-of-the-range houses for<br />

the international jet-set, notably in the<br />

north Surrey golden triangle around<br />

Wentworth. Increasingly, however,<br />

the company has been successful in<br />

developing a niche market catering<br />

for wealthy young British families<br />

moving out of London to be close to<br />

WHEN, in 2007, Cheltenham-based property<br />

developer James Deacon bought<br />

a former organic mushroom farm set in 6½<br />

acres of land in the heart of the Cotswolds, his<br />

intention was to build a substantial new neo-<br />

Georgian manor on the site. Having applied for<br />

the requisite planning consent, he was surprised<br />

to have his application rejected by the<br />

planners on the grounds that it might be ‘too<br />

pretentious’, with the suggestion that he opt<br />

for a more modern design.<br />

The result was the strikingly Minimalist The<br />

Kudos, designed by local architect Andrew<br />

schools such as Eton and Wellington,<br />

reports David Smith of Octagon’s<br />

sales team (020–8481 7500).<br />

The firm’s latest venture is the construction<br />

of the imposing Burford<br />

Place (Fig 3) at Picketts Hill, between<br />

Farnham and Haslemere, which<br />

has been built in the footprint of<br />

a former manor house, with five reception<br />

rooms, seven bedrooms and six<br />

bathrooms, set in 5½ acres of grounds<br />

with outbuildings that could easily<br />

be adapted for stabling. The house<br />

sits in a lovely rural setting within<br />

easy reach of good schools at Hindhead,<br />

Haslemere, Liphook and Petersfield<br />

and is for sale through Strutt<br />

& Parker in Farnham (01252 821102)<br />

at a guide price of £4.75m.<br />

Smith Associates and built on three floors with<br />

all the ‘boy’s toys’ you could ever dream of—<br />

underfloor heating throughout, a digitally controlled<br />

heating system, bathrooms by Kohler,<br />

internal and external sound wiring, an integrated<br />

mood-lighting system, a 20-seat soundproof<br />

cinema and underground garaging for 10<br />

cars. Its 10,000sq ft of living space includes<br />

five reception rooms, five en-suite bedrooms and<br />

a pool and gym complex ready for completion.<br />

Meanwhile, Mr Deacon prepares to embark<br />

on his next project, a substantial renovation<br />

elsewhere in the area, as Luke Morgan of Strutt<br />

& Parker (020–7629 7282) handles the sale of<br />

The Kudos, at a guide price of £3.75m.

Property news<br />

Edited by Arabella Youens<br />

Lego for grown-ups<br />

Building a house from scratch is a dream many of us have had in the dead hours<br />

of the night. For those lucky few who manage it, how have design trends<br />

evolved over the past few years? Arabella Youens finds out<br />

Dreamstime.com<br />

WHETHER it be chutes to<br />

the laundry room or dedicated<br />

rooms for hobbies,<br />

today’s country houses provide an<br />

insight into the lives of a 21st-century<br />

family. However, one constant across the<br />

spectrum of new-builds, be they in Berkshire,<br />

Buckinghamshire or Berwickshire,<br />

is that they’re places to have fun.<br />

Sandy Mitchell, who runs RedBook,<br />

an agency advising clients on creating<br />

new houses (020–7060 6222; www.<br />

redbookagency.com) says: ‘Everyone<br />

knows that a country house is expensive<br />

to run, so it’s important at the outset<br />

to invest energy into creating something<br />

that the owners will really enjoy.’<br />

He has clients who are currently<br />

restoring a house in Derbyshire and<br />

installing a zip wire from one of the<br />

turrets down to the garden. ‘That’s not<br />

something we see every day, but is<br />

suggestive of this movement to be less<br />

formal than perhaps people were in the<br />

past. There’s a trend towards relaxing<br />

boundaries both inside and outside<br />

and a focus on family and children,<br />

on entertaining and sharing the space.’<br />

Layouts<br />

These tend to change depending on how<br />

deep into the countryside you are,<br />

explains Hugh Petter, director of ADAM<br />

Architecture (01962 843843; www.<br />

adamarchitecture.com). ‘Houses closer<br />

to London—or any city—tend to have<br />

less emphasis on boot rooms and<br />

instead have more luxurious garages<br />

or large basements with cinemas, saunas<br />

and steam showers as well as huge<br />

master suites with separate “his and<br />

hers” bathrooms and dressing rooms.’<br />

As it’s considerably easier, for planning-permission<br />

purposes, to increase<br />

floor space by digging down into the<br />

basement rather than above ground,<br />

new country houses will often make<br />

the most of the subterranean space.<br />

Janine Stone, which works on newbuild<br />

projects in the immediate Home<br />

Counties and beyond, has recently<br />

created a basement garage for a client<br />

that was embedded into the landscape.<br />

‘This delivered a major statement for<br />

Saturday night<br />

at the movies:<br />

cinema rooms<br />

are becoming<br />

less formal<br />

so that they can<br />

double as ‘chillout’<br />

rooms<br />

New-build<br />

trends<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

the client, but, importantly, the design<br />

didn’t impact on the landscape of the<br />

surrounding countryside and the house,’<br />

explains founder Janine Stone (020–<br />

7349 8888; www.janinestone.com).<br />

Interiors<br />

The open-plan kitchen and breakfast<br />

room forms the heart of a new-build<br />

country house—however, regardless<br />

of whether it’s within the M25 or not,<br />

kitchens in such properties are<br />

more subtle in design than they<br />

have been in the past. ‘A lot of bling<br />

isn’t popular now,’ says Stuart Cole<br />

of Knight Frank (020–7861 5101;<br />

www.knightfrank.com). ‘More subtle<br />

finishes are better.’<br />

He adds that cinema rooms are<br />

becoming less formal than they have<br />

been, with ‘fewer rows of cinema seats—<br />

instead, people go for large sofas so<br />

that the space can be used after the<br />

film is over as a “chill-out” room’.<br />

Carpets are out and wood or stone<br />

floors—at least, at ground level—are<br />

in, says Stuart. A lot of the details will<br />

be ‘influenced by hotels that clients<br />

have visited,’ adds Sandy. ‘Gone are<br />

the days when you’d expect to be a little<br />

less comfortable in a country house and<br />

the expectation is that the interiors<br />

will look and feel as sophisticated<br />

in the country as they are in London.’<br />

Technology<br />

The amount of technology clients are<br />

fitting into new country houses has<br />

taken a few steps back recently, believes<br />

Malcolm Stewart of Kensington<br />

Audio Visual (020–7736 1483; http://<br />

kensingtonav.com). ‘The primary<br />

concern is that owners will be able<br />

to control heating, ventilation and airconditioning<br />

effectively. You can easily<br />

run up annual heating bills of £50,000<br />

in large houses and, if you have spare<br />

bedrooms, you want to be able to “turn<br />

them off” when they aren’t in use.’<br />

Next in importance is security, with<br />

CCTV, panic alarms and security doors<br />

in remote areas where police response<br />

times can be a concern. ‘Then, I’d say<br />

the focus is on lighting control, music<br />

systems and audio-visual distribution<br />

to avoid having to have multiple satellite<br />

boxes cluttering the house and,<br />

finally, access controls, which are<br />

important if the house has two<br />

entrance drives and staff.’<br />

Nevertheless, whether it be because<br />

technical aspirations might be stymied<br />

by slow broadband or because there’s<br />

a conscious aspiration to put ‘clear<br />

water between home and the buzz<br />

of the city’, the further away from the<br />

bright lights you get, the less technologically<br />

advanced a new house<br />

will tend to be, adds Hugh.

New houses<br />

North Yorkshire, £875,000<br />

Carlyle House, Harrogate<br />

Carter Jonas (01423 582937)<br />

Although this house is Grade II listed,<br />

it forms part of a development<br />

and restoration of a former police<br />

station. It comes with three bedrooms,<br />

a kitchen/breakfast room<br />

and a south-west-facing garden,<br />

which has been laid to lawn.<br />

Commute to Bath<br />

Somerset, £1.6 million<br />

Perkins Court, Freshford<br />

5 bedrooms, 3,913sq ft, cart-shed garage, garden<br />

Savills (01225 474501)<br />

This house forms part of the Freshford Mill development based around a renovated mill straddling the<br />

River Frome. The garden has a terrace with views down to the lake. The village, six miles south-east<br />

of Bath, lies in the Cotswold AONB and has a train station, a community shop, a surgery and a pub.<br />

Surrey, £1.795 million<br />

Langham House, Betchworth<br />

Millwood Designer Homes<br />

(01424 390150)<br />

This five-bedroom village house<br />

lies just on the edge of the Surrey<br />

AONB, providing extensive opportunities<br />

for walking and riding. It<br />

comes with a spacious open-plan<br />

kitchen with bi-folding doors that<br />

lead out to the patio and garden.<br />

Pieds dans l’eau in Dorset<br />

Dorset, £7.5 million<br />

Vanquish, Poole Harbour<br />

6 bedrooms, indoor pool, private mooring<br />

Hamptons International (01202 709283)<br />

The entire top floor of this contemporary house is dedicated to the master suite. Full-width sliding<br />

doors take full advantage of the view onto Poole Harbour and the nearby Parkstone Yacht Club. A lift<br />

provides access to all the floors of the house and on the lower level is garaging and a media room.<br />

Berkshire, £3.95 million<br />

Byways, Ascot<br />

Bewley Homes (01344 626959)<br />

The standout feature of this sixbedroom<br />

house is the kitchen/<br />

breakfast room, which is naturally<br />

lit by a roof lantern. The property<br />

comes with underfloor heating<br />

and an integral studio flat.

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