Reconnecting with its roots
A home inspired by a 100 year garden is a very special place indeed, learns Laura Cartledge.
Jackie Cole’s story of finding the site for her Warsash home sounds like an extract from The Secret Garden.
“Completely,” she smiles. “It was a case of opening a gate, well the gate had fallen down actually, and thinking where is the plot?
“When we first saw it we had to scramble over a wall,” reveals Jackie. “I just saw it and said ‘yes!’ It was completely overgrown but it was amazing and we knew we wanted it.”
The 100 year old gardens didn’t only provide the location for The Badgers, a six bed home with a self contained one bed flat, but also influenced its design.
“It was a case of how will the new house fit in, rather than looking like it has just been plonked,” she agrees.
“Planning wanted it to be sympathetic, because we are in a sensitive area, which meant there were lots of challenges – but that was inspiring to us.”
The outdoors influence is cited as the reason the three floor property boasts ‘some very big doors’, and bifold ones around the swimming pool, ‘so you get the feel of the natural environment’.
“We were able to put our own mark on a lot of it, particularly when it came to the outside areas,” explains Jackie.
“Like the Victorian walkway that needed to be reclaimed as part of the planning. It is things like that which inspired us, what we were drawn to.
“It is an amazing garden, with shrubs, plants and trees which are extremely old.”
Placing the house in the corner of the two acre site means it can make the most of the views from the bank of the River Hamble and south-facing position – both of which are reasons Jackie says ‘you want to be involved with the outdoors’ here.
Thankfully Jackie and her husband could draw on their previous experience to really make the most of it all.
“We have built quite a few houses and I have done interior design – but I don’t work for customers anymore,” she confesses.
“My husband comes from a building background but this was our first project from the start which was lovely.”
Taking on a new build wasn’t planned however.
“We weren’t actually looking to move. We hadn’t finished our previous home. We just went to get a guide,” Jackie laughs.
“We got told you won’t find a plot like this come up in the next ten years so had to act quickly.
“Fortunately we were in a position where we could start the project but we had to sell our place to finance the rest of it,” she adds.
“We moved into a mobile home on site for the last year. It was very much hands on but meant we got a feel of where the sun rose and set.”
Jackie compares the process to being ‘like Grand Designs’ and admits they nearly got in touch with the programme to ‘see if they would be interested’.
“But we knew what we were doing,” she jests, “and they don’t tend to go for that.”
The work was completed in 2005, so the Coles have been able to enjoy the fruit of their labour, and vision, for a decade.
“It was only when we stopped that we took a breath and thought ‘gosh, did we do that?’” admits Jackie.
“My favourite spot is the porch, off the hallway, where there are some comfortable chairs. It is nice for a glass of wine.
“Then right at the top we have a studio which is like a lookout tower. You can be in there and see the cruise ships going past,” she continues.
“The other lovely room is the balcony from the lounge where you can watch the sunset from,” lists Jackie.
“And I love it at Christmas; we have a huge tree and a bar in the lounge.
“There are a few areas for different times of the year – there is always somewhere to go in the house.”
Having spent ten years soaking up all the 7,794 sq ft home has to offer the family feel it is time for others to make the most of it.
“You get to chapters in your life where you want to change your lifestyle and I think we are there now,” says Jackie.
“But I still love everything about it. It’s been fabulous, the parties we have had – it’s been super.”
How The Badgers measures up:
7,794 sq ft of accommodation split over three levels
9,000 sq ft is you include the triple garage and swimming pool
Six spacious double bedrooms with four ensuites
One bedroom self-contained flat on the top floor
The living space includes: grand reception hall, kitchen/breakfast room, formal dining room, media room, games room, drawing room and indoor heated swimming pool with changing room and a steam room.
A log cabin within the grounds creates a perfect guest hide away. It is equipped with a kitchenette, bedroom and en-suite, reception room and a decked veranda to the front of the cabin.
Thanks to the Victorian origin of the gardens they comprises of mature trees and shrubs meaning it is low maintenance, yet there is plenty of scope to develop the grounds further.
In keeping with the property being an ideal entertaining space sees the grounds scattered with Bang & Olufsen ‘rock’ speakers which work to connect the whole property as one.
Warsash lies on the east bank of the River Hamble between Southampton and Portsmouth – ideal if you like yachting or water sports as there are numerous clubs locally.
Manor Farm Country Park and Victoria Country Park are also nearby, while shopping can be found at Southampton, GunWharf Quays in Portsmouth and in the cathedral city of Winchester.
Excellent links to the M27 motorway, M3 and Hamble Station mean travelling further afield is also a breeze.
The Badgers was on the market with Hamilton Parker Buckingham, 9 Latimer Walk, Romsey, POA.
For similar properties call 01794 511212 or visit www.hpbproperty.co.uk
July 24, 2015 Interiors and Property