Inspiration of the Week: a divinely restored former vicarage in South Gloucestershire
This sensitive restoration of this one-time parsonage does wonders for the spirits, not least because of its paradisical setting
We must confess to a sin. Our love for a well-done restoration project sometimes borders on the unhealthy, or, dare we say it, lustful. We could spend hours poring over a job properly and thoroughly done, where no corners have been cut and godly attention to detail has been paid. The latest object of this love? A former vicarage in south Gloucestershire that combines heavenly interiors with two acres of rejuvenated gardens.
The impression of a paradise found begins with the journey to the front door, which is via wooden gates that shield the house from the road. When opened, the gates reveal a sweeping driveway leading to the house’s entrance, from which glimpses of the gardens are tantalisingly caught. Venture in and you’ll find grounds that have been extensively replanted, with a herb garden enveloping the house in sweet fragrances come summer, and a kitchen garden beyond, producing a bounty of produce from mature raised beds, while a fruit cage yields all manner of berries and currants.
That is all before a greenhouse, where tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers and chillies are currently growing, and a separate orchard with apricot, cherry, pear, mulberry and apple trees – a veritable Eden, if you will, but one where, thankfully, enjoyment of the of fruit is unforbidden.
So, pick a guilt-free apple as we continue the tour, up an avenue of white rose bushes that lead to the front door, sitting pretty in the middle of a classically-proportioned façade done in Pennant Stone. Inside, the details are as bountiful as the gardens, with a Plain English kitchen topped with a Carrara marble worktop and finished with raw brass fixtures, for example. Or take the panelling, which is all bespoke, and extends to the study, where the bookshelves are finished with bolection-moulded cornicing.
Original details have been thoughtfully drawn out too, like in the drawing room, where an open fireplace makes for a cosy centrepiece. Or in the kitchen, where the original range alcove is now occupied by an electric aga and is finished in Delft tiles; some by Douglas Watson studios depicting the house and gardens. Was it the devil or God they say that’s in the details?
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