A former farmer’s cottage that’s been much enhanced and increased, with still more potential to extend, says Cheryl Markosky
Name: Caroline de Beaufort-Suchlick
Property description: Cream-coloured cottage that’s been pushed out and refurbished to a high standard. Main features inlcude five bedrooms, four bathrooms (no queuing), drawing room with fireplace and direct access to terrace and garden. There is also a dining room with hardwood floors, family-friendly kitchen/breakfast room, and a cosy snug warmed by a multi-fuel burner. Uninterrupted views of nearly two acres of garden, surrounding countryside and the Chiltern Hills are to die for.
Asking price: £1,650,000
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Estate agent: Giles Robinson, Robinson Sherston, The Old Forge, 16 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2BG
Area statistics: Average price paid for property in the RG9 postcode is £559,749, while the average detached house costs £957,946 (£442 a square foot). Average asking price for property in RG9 is £1,002,579 and the average rent is £1,944 per calendar month.
Fun facts: The highest turnover street is Grove Road (58.3 per cent), and the highest value street is Benhams Lane (£2,529,897).
Why are you moving? We’ve lived in the house for more than 25 years and have done a great deal to it, from buying land and creating a garden from scratch, to extending to accommodate our family, Max, now 28, Harriet, 26, and Alec, 23. Now the offspring have pretty much flown the coop and before we become too ancient, it’s time for a new adventure.
Have you found somewhere to move to? My husband Anthony, financial director of a commercial property company, has his office in Wheatley, near Oxford. So, the ideal spot for us would be Gloucestershire.
What do you like most about the property? The views. We’re in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and can see to the top of the Chilterns, and woodland and open fields in the distance. Luckily, there’s never been any flooding up here, and in the unlikely event if we did get flooded it would definitely be time to get the Ark.
What’s your happiest memory of the property and when did it happen? I have lots of happy memories here. One of the strongest and nicest was a family barbecue on a lovely summer’s day next to our pond.
When did you buy the property and how much was it worth? We bought the house from the Estate in 1987 for £176,000. We also purchased extra land to construct a garden. My mother was living in Henley and we liked the area, as it’s so commutable. Eleven years ago, we extended the house again, and within reason, the new owner could extend again. We also have a wood-clad barn that housed our kids’ playroom when they were small. Downstairs, is my darkroom and Anthony’s work-shop. The barn could be used as a double garage immediately, or form an annex.
Do you know your neighbours? We’ve all been here a long time (the most recent arrival came 22 years ago). The lady next-door is an artist and has a grandchild. Across the road, there’s a chap in his mid-70’s who used to run livery stables, and a delightful Irish couple lives in the barn. Everyone helps everyone else out, but we’re not in each other’s space all the time. If you haven’t got something, someone else will have it and will be happy to lend it.
What do you like about the local schools? There are plenty of good schools, including Moulsford, Cranford and Rupert House, the Dragon, Queen Anne’s, St Edward’s and Radley. Some of the schools run good bus services for the children in Nettlebed, which is only 1.5 miles away.
What’s traffic and transport like? There are good trains from Henley that connect to Reading, it’s only a 20-minute drive to Didcot station and there the Oxford Tube bus service runs between Oxford and London. You can pick it up nearby just off the M40.
What’s your favourite place for dinner in the area? There are lots of good pubs locally, including the Fat Fox Inn in the pretty village of Watlington. Only two minutes away in Nettlebed, there’s a terrific café called the Field Kitchen where you can have pancakes and Eggs Benedict for breakfast, and fish, a steak sandwich or a Field Club Sandwich for lunch.
How would you spend the perfect day off in your area? I’d sit in my garden reading a book, and then amble up to The Lord Nelson pub in Brightwell Baldwin for something fishy. Then, I might walk through the fields or visit the Warburg Nature Reserve in Bix.
What local secret do you know that would take a new resident a while to discover? Joyce Grove, a Grade-II listed Jacobean-style mansion in Nettlebed. Robert Fleming, father of James Bond author Ian, once lived there and American soldiers were stationed here during the Second World War. More recently, the house was used as a location for a number of films and TV programmes, including Right Ho, Jeeves – Midsomer Murders and Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Cat Among the Pigeons.
If you could change one thing about the house what would it be? Because we have two, big, hairy dogs, we should have built a ‘dog drying room’ for them in wet weather. And although there’s power for an electronic automated gate, we never connected it. I felt if the children can’t get out and open the gate, then what’s the world coming to?
What items are included in the sale? Some appliances, such as our nice electric cooker and new American fridge, won’t be included, but we’re happy to negotiate about some other items. We have very few curtains here. We’re not overlooked and after living in crowded London, love waking up and looking out.
Who would be your ideal buyer? A couple similar to us when we bought the house that have a young family and appreciate the countryside. Our children went off into the woods and built camps and I always knew they were safe.
What do you most fear about the selling process? Everything. They say selling and buying a house is probably one of the most stressful things you’ll do. Why does it have to be like this? Solicitors and other key figures always seem to go on holiday at crucial points and then everything gets held up.
Agents advice: Giles Robinson, of Robinson Sherston, said: “One way to reduce stress when selling a home is to go out when your agent shows a potential buyer round. We always arrive early to make sure everything’s all right and can help set out a house to look its best. Also, we’re here to manage chains if you get stuck in one, eliminating fears of people not being in the right place at the right time. As long as your house is clean, beds are made, the washing-up’s done and maybe there are flowers on the table, you should be fine.”
If you are selling your home and would like to be featured in this column, please email Zoopla content editor Myra Butterworth at firstname.lastname@example.org