Inspiration of the Week: picture-book prettiness in the western reaches of Oxfordshire
Does the perfect listing exist? The wonderfully named Wisteria House, now for sale, makes a convincing bid for the title
We hardly need elaborate on the draw of Oxfordshire. A place of achingly picturesque settlements, handsome stone houses and glorious greenery, it somehow manages to balance old-world charm with 21st-century desires (good pubs, interesting restaurants – you name it). The appeal is clear – and instant, which makes the arrival of a listing such as Wisteria House, in the village of Littleworth, all the more exciting.
It is, in its countenance, rather ‘Cotswolds’ in style – perhaps unsurprisingly, given that it’s only 20 minutes or so from those rolling hills). Constructed in the early 18th century using local stone taken from a nearby monastery, its façade is perfectly imperfect, simultaneously chocolate-box yet delightfully asymmetrical, its door not central, but just to the right. And that’s just the front… The well-established wisteria that gives this house its name is actually to be found at the rear, where it sprawls magnificently along a sunny south-facing wall, presumably providing succour to the bees residing in a hive installed by the current owners. Nothing, surely, is as sweet is as the taste of one’s own honey.
Inside, all is as it should be too, with a soothing palette of Farrow & Ball and Little Greene’s finest setting of the warm brick, terracotta and timber materials used throughout. The colours, among them palest pink, inky blue, cream and stone, are classic and unobtrusive – and it’s not hard to imagine how one’s own furniture or paintings might look against them. (As it happens, those already here are gorgeous, making a fine blueprint should you need inspiration…)
In terms of location, for those seeking to soak up everything this part of the world has to offer, you couldn’t be better placed. The much-fêted Double Red Duke is down the road, perfect for a celebratory Sunday lunch, while for those seeking to feed the mind, Kelmscott, home of William Morris, is just a 15-minute drive away. And, if you fancy stretching your legs, Littleworth sits bang in between the Cotswolds and the North Wessex Downs. That’s if you can drag yourself away from Wisteria House’s heavenly garden…
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