A family oasis
Laura Cartledge heads to Hurstpierpoint and finds a home which ‘is not the norm’.
Home is a small word with big meaning.
For some it is a retreat, for others it is a hive of activity.
While at the unique Big Edgerley in Hurstpierpoint it seems it is a mixture of both.
Owner Sarah Baldey sums it up beautifully as ‘a family oasis in a busy part of the world’.
Designed by her architect brother Nathaniel Gee and completed in 2000, building the five bedroom home was something Sarah admits she feels was in her blood.
“Both my parents and my husbands built their own houses so we have been brought up in families that have done it,” she explains. “It was a wonderful experience and it means we know everything about our home.
“Timeless but modern was our aim and we were very conscious of it as it is easy to build contemporary but we wanted something that would work with its surroundings – that is why it is barn like – and not date,” adds Sarah. “And I think we have done that.”
This brief placed the focus on maximising natural elements as well as utilising ‘high end’ and high tech finishes.
“One of the things we really wanted was light and the views are key to us,” Sarah agrees. “We are eco-conscious too and have a system in place which means we collect our own rainwater.”
A keenness to make the property cost effective too also meant it was well insulated and has a system which allows the large entertainment room to be isolated
from the rest of the house and only heated when needed.
Add to this design features including a bespoke limestone cantilevered circular staircase and large grand doors and it is easy to see why it has seen Nathaniel win numerous awards like the 2001 Civic Trust award for contemporary design and rank as highly commended in the Daily Telegraph contemporary awards. However it is the similar pleasures like having a laundry chute and decking which means you can sit out over the pond which make the list of Sarah’s favourite things.
“The main living room is fantastic, Nath wanted it to feel like a chapel and that is why it has a curved ceiling,” she enthuses. “And I love the kitchen too, I designed the window across the sink myself – it is like looking at a painting.”
Internally there is plenty to admire, too, with this room which sits at the heart of the house constructed in linear design with teak work tops and limestone flooring along with a Viking cooker, two integrated fridges and freezer/wine fridge.
Meanwhile the breakfast area opens into a sun loggia which allows a relaxed area for the family and double doors invite you to the stunning gardens to the rear.
The grounds total approximately 2.13 Acres and play a large part in the reason Sarah’s always felt ‘the house needs to be shared’.
“We are heavily involved with the community and this is a house that has been shared, with the garden parties and events here for charities and the Hurstpierpoint festival,” she reveals. “Plus we have had private parties of course which have been wonderful, with camping on the lawn.”
Thankfully there is little worry about annoying the neighbours due to the secluded spot.
Believing that ‘landscaping is so important’ has seen the family purposefully create somewhere that ‘gives a nod to the old as well as the new’.
This sees ‘pockets of interest’ such as the meadows which surround the house and blend into the more formal gardens which wrap around the property, along with the large terrace running full length of the property and is ideal for alfresco entertaining.
Back inside it is also of note that the ground floor boasts a double bedroom with modern en suite shower room, while the other four – including the master suite which expands the full width of the house – are on the next level.
Throughout the attention to detail shines, no doubt helped by the fact the family played the role of interior designer.
“We sourced a lot of it ourselves,” says Sarah. “The French limestone we bought directly from the quarry in France and we searched for the square flint which we’d liked from Lewes – in the end we found someone in Henfield.
“We used a lot of high end things which have stood the test of time.”
This paired with the fact it is possible to walk into the village centre in eight minutes is the reason Sarah confesses the house is ‘not the norm’ and admits ‘we will be sad to move on’.
“But our kids have grown up and this house needs a young family,” she insists, revealing they don’t plan to go far. “It is a village with a centre, it has a soul which some don’t.”
Big Edgerley, College Lane, Hurstpierpoint, is on the market with Hampton’s International for a guide price of £1,950,000.
Contact Hamptons Haywards Heath Office, 28 The Broadway, Haywards Heath on 01444 419140 or visit www.hamptons-int.com for more details.
October 26, 2016 Interiors and Property