Gert Lush: handsome houses in the south-west for sale
Need we explain the everlasting allure of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall? We think not. Instead, we’ll let this lovely crop of listings – from a thatched cottage to a former chapel hall – do the talking
We’ve written before about this cottage in Dolton, North Devon, but you’ll have to forgive us for repeating ourselves, because the fact that this entrancing dwelling could be yours bears reiterating. Built in the 17th century, it’s thought to be the oldest house in the village, but while its history is tangible – note the perfectly uneven plaster walls, inglenook fireplaces and sturdy timbers – that’s not to say it feels stuck in the past. Far from it: smart tiling, classic marble surfaces and elegant fabric choices elevate the ancient spaces, making things feel fresh without trampling on the house’s heritage.
From North Devon to East – and to Bradninch, a sweet and small town near Cullompton. This corner of the county is, for many, particularly appealing, perfectly placed for making the most of Devon’s best bits. Surrounded by rolling countryside, it’s under an hour’s drive from the Jurassic coast, with its ravishing views and surfer-drawing swell, and is pretty much equidistant from Exmoor and Dartmoor (the beautiful Blackdown Hills are nearby too).
With all that wildness on your doorstep, a place of proper comfort to retreat to is a must – and this converted chapel house, once the Salvation Army’s local base, is just the ticket. Immaculately restored with debonair Art Deco flourishes by the current owner, Salvation House has kept much of its original fabric, but there are some swish new bits too – not least the lavish bathrooms (ideal for warming up in after a stomp on the moors) and fully modernised kitchen. Why not read more about it?
Yes, we love pattern and print and plenty of splashy colour. But there’s also a sizeable place in Inigo’s heart for the plain, the peaceful and the simple. Enter this cottage on Chapel Road, in the Cornish village of St Tudy. Built in the late 18th century and carefully restored by its current owners, the house is the very picture of pared-back style. Here, walls painted soft beige – courtesy of natural-paint specialists Bauwerk – make a peaceful backdrop to the owners’ thoughtfully chosen mix of antiques, while limewashed beams stand as quiet reminders of the house’s history. And although the rooms’ colour palette is relatively narrow, there’s no lack of interest here: textures – linen, wool, wood – are at the fore. We take our hat off at this masterful lesson in minimal decorating.
You can’t do a roundup of the best of the south-west without mentioning the Cotswolds – that most picturesque slice of England, which, stretching across six counties, is known for its ridiculously pretty houses. Wingfield, built in the early 18th century using the much-lusted-over local stone, is among them. Not far from Bradford-on-Avon, the house was once one single dwelling that was split into four, following the building’s use as a military hospital during World War II.
In buying this four-bedroom section, you’ll end up with the main part of the house. As well as being able to call the oldest part of the house, the exceptional library hall with its floor-to-ceiling oak shelves, your own, you’d also have your very own Arts and Crafts ballroom – added during an extension of 1899. A dance to the music of time, you say?
There’s much to recommend this house on the edge of Dartmoor (beyond its location, that is). Firstly, it’s the 700-year history of the place. Forming part of a Grade I-listed early medieval manor that has been added to and altered over the centuries, it’s now a proper patchwork – “a potted account of British architecture”, as our listing puts it. Thanks to the current owners, in the last 15 years alone Mapstone Hill been subject to more sensitive renovations (hence the addition of Crittall windows to a house that also has casement ones…).
Another reason it might pique your interest is the fact the coach house, built in the 19th century and converted into a two-bedroom dwelling, is in use as a self-catered holiday let of uncommon handsomeness. Pretty and with prospects? We like the sound of that.
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