Love at First Sight: seven homes for sale to set hearts aflutter
Whatever your stance on Valentine’s Day, the romance of these listings is hard to deny. Cupid, draw back your bow…
- Elizabeth Bennett
Call us old-fashioned, but we find something a cottage bundled up in foliage ridiculously romantic. One look at this Grade II-listed house in the Cornish village of St Tudy, its façade covered with climbing shrubs, including wisteria, jasmine and clematis, should have you agreeing (and that’s before you’re greeted by the joyful rose shrub spilling generously over the low stone wall that joins the front gate…). Then you’ve got Cornwall itself – land of legendary tragic paramours Tristan and Isolde and setting of Daphne du Maurier’s love- (and scandal-) laden novels. Its picturesque interior villages, like St Tudy, will always be a good base for exploring all this beautiful county has to offer.
A textbook chocolate-box cottage on the outside, the two-bedroom house has surprisingly pared-back interiors, acting as something of a palate cleanser. The talking-point walls are either traditional exposed lime plaster or have been painted in muted Bauwerk shades. Curved surfaces and arched doorways, meanwhile, lend almost a Moroccan feel to the place – something accentuated by the rainfall shower set behind a tadelakt wall partition.
If a beautiful garden is key to your heart, Hanmer Road has it in spades (if you’ll pardon the pun). The mature English country garden of this postcard-pretty thatched house in Simpson is bursting with flowering perennials and shrubs, planted to delight all year round. Protected on three sides, the terrace is the perfect sun trap in which to enjoy a well-deserved cup of tea or glass of wine after a hard day of gardening, while in colder weather, you can soak up the sun in the insulated and comfortably kitted-our garden room, painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Breakfast Room Green’.
The house itself, a Grade II-listed thatched cottage built in the 17th century, is equally charming. Enchanting details, such as original beams and sloping ceilings, are complemented by neutral pale tones and terracotta pamment tiles.
Whether a florist, book store or coffee shop, many of us have dreamed of one day opening our own independent bricks-and-mortar business in a handsome building, full of charm and character. In the village of Debenham in east Suffolk, this dream could become reality. Arranged over two storeys with potential for multiple figurations, this house (which comes with its own commercial space) dates to the late 19th century and has had previous lives as a haberdashery, a bakery and, most recently, a gallery.
History hangs heavy here, with the house overlooking the village’s Grade I-listed 13th-century church of St Mary Magdalene and its market green. Debenham itself is storied, filled with examples of late medieval and Renaissance architecture, including several Tudor houses. Tranquil countryside is on your doorstep too, while London, Cambridge and Norwich are just a train ride away.
Over in East Sussex, this red-brick cottage is ticking all our boxes. The top half of its façade hung with warm terracotta tiles, it’s a lovely example of the Sussex vernacular, similarly expressed in its 18th-century interiors, where weathered floorboards join exposed timber beams and original pine joinery. However, it’s the inspired colour choices – particular points go to the mustard-yellow bedroom and pale-pink sitting room – and cleverly considered details, such as the antique French verdigris bath, that make this home truly sing.
Location-wise, it’s hard to beat, found on a quiet lane in the Winchelsea Conservation Area. Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, with its walking and cycling routes, is just next door, while the town of Rye itself and its celebrated beaches are only three miles away.
Whether it’s a forever home to put your stamp on or a project to get your teeth stuck into, Crowland Manor might be the perfect long-term match. This house, which dates to 1690, needs some love and attention but its bones are spectacular.
A patchwork of periods, the house has Stuart origins, Georgian additions and Victorian alterations, evidence of which can be seen in its fabric (including a large amount of materials uncovered in the excavation of the garden, which have been prepared for reuse in restoration work). The building, with its Palladian façade of limestone-dressed red brick and walled garden with wild roses, is surely handsome, but it’s the stories held within its walls that renders its romance ineluctable.
As ‘wow factor’ homes go, this house – a grand Victorian villa in the Kentish coastal town of Ramsgate, recently scrupulously restored – has got to be up there. As part of its seven-year reno, even the façade has been given a facelift, repainted in Keim’s ‘French Grey’ and with plaster mouldings refreshed to perfection. The Greek Revival details, such as giant pilasters, terracotta urns and ball and steeple finials, are the icing on this magnificent cake.
The interior designer owner’s talents shine brightly inside, thanks to meticulously restored historic features, from pine floorboards and timber sash windows to original cornicing. Meanwhile, modern additions – such as stylish cast-iron radiators with brass fittings, and a spacious open-plan kitchen with Corian worktops – bring a soupçon of contemporary swishness that’s hard to resist.
If you count friends and family among the loves of your life, this grand 17th-century house, set among four acres of private grounds in South Yorkshire, is perfect. There are eight bedrooms for guests to retire to, two generous reception halls for hosting drinks, and a huge postbox-red Aga, primed for dinner-party prep. Plus, in the outbuildings you’ll find a heated swimming pool, sauna and games room.
The historical details are sure to impress too. One of the earliest of its sort in the region, it was built in 1698 in the William and Mary style. Paying heed, its current owners have sympathetically restored the place to celebrate its original features, from trompe-l’oeil paintings to bolection-moulded door architraves and fireplace surrounds.
- Matt Gibberd on the importance of materials in designHomes
- Shades of Difference: five homes with prismatic palettes for saleHomes
- Inspiration of the Week: from clapped-out to clutter-free in ClaptonHomes / Interiors
- Let the Light In: five bright homes for saleHomes
- Matt Gibberd on the importance of light in designHomes