This wonderful house is situated in Southborough, on the northern periphery of Royal Tunbridge Wells and at the heart of the High Weald of Kent. Constructed in 1882 and extending to 2,622 sq ft internally (with the potential to extend further into the very large attic), the building retains its ecclesiastical architectural integrity, yet contains sensitive contemporary interventions that create a space perfectly suited to modern living. The Bethel is within easy reach of many shops and amenities, but also on the doorstep of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Setting the Scene
The current owner has completely reconfigured and renovated the building with considerable sensitivity being paid to the original fabric. As part of the extensive works carried out, everything from mains utilities to the wooden sash windows were overhauled and replaced, along with all wiring, plumbing and the fitting of underfloor heating in the main living areas. Through opening up the interior to reconfigure the existing space, the current owner has created a superb home, which is wonderfully airy and light, whilst simultaneously intimate and warm. The soaring double-height living area, with its large clerestory glazing, is both the focal point and a celebration of the building’s original, ecclesiastical purpose.
The Grand Tour
The Bethel is something of a local landmark. Primary entry is through a grand double aperture, which is surrounded by impressive classical jamb mouldings. At the front of the building is off-street parking for two cars.
The front doors open directly into the expansive open-plan living space. The walls have been sandblasted to raw brick, lending added warmth and texture to the tremendously voluminous room. Contemporary hardwood flooring runs underfoot, adding to this layered aesthetic, while full height windows on all sides allow a wonderful quality of natural light in. An alternative entrance can be found at the side of the building, complete with an outdoor dog-wash, providing a practical solution to long muddy countryside walks.
Directly ahead of the main entrance lies the heart of the home: the kitchen. Beautiful joinery by Neptune and pale quartz worktops are complemented by appliances by Miele and a smart extractor fan, all set within a large island.
Beyond the kitchen, the ground floor hallway with slate tiles running underfoot provides access to two bedrooms, one with an en suite bathroom. A hatch opens to reveal a stairway to the cellar, where there is plenty of storage space. A utility/ laundry area lies across the hall from one of the bedrooms and encompasses a wet room opposite.
A set of stairs at the rear of the plan ascends to a wonderfully appointed study or extra bedroom, with the main bedroom suite and dressing room beyond. The main bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, mirroring the volume of the spaces throughout. An elegant en suite bathroom lies adjacent; this contains a cast iron claw-foot bath that allows for languorous evenings spent soaking and reading before bedtime. Untreated brass hardware adds texture to the space. Beyond the bedroom is a mezzanine overlooking the double-height living area, providing a sense of pleasing circularity between all spaces.
The Great Outdoors
The large courtyard garden lies at the western end of the building and is a brilliantly easy space to maintain. A veritable sun-trap, it provides ample opportunity for alfresco dining and cooking in the warmer months. Two patinated larch clad walls encase the space with climbing Jasmin and Roses.
Out and About
Tunbridge Wells offers a wide range of independent shops, theatres, coffee shops, supermarkets, and an abundance of farm shops and restaurants, including critically acclaimed Tallow, a short stroll away. There are many highly regarded state and private schools in Tunbridge Wells and the local surrounding area including Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School, Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar, Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls, Tonbridge school, Judd, Skinners and many good options for primary schooling.
Southborough itself has been subject to an ambitious regeneration scheme in recent years, with the final phase coming to completion. The focal point is the new Southborough Hub, centred around the Southborough Civic Centre encompassing a new town square. A new library, theatre, shops, cafés and a multitude of other community services and businesses are based in and around the Hub and there are extensive plans for future famers markets and pop up fairs. The regeneration scheme has benefitted the high street more broadly and there is a wide selection of independent shops including; The Earl Grey Tea Rooms, award-winning Southborough Butchers and the Atman Clinic, which is a recent move from the centre of Tunbridge Wells.
Beyond the Southborough Hub there are three large games fields, abundant with blackberries in the autumn; there are also the local allotments nearby. A short walk to the north, Southborough Common offers 75 acres of beautiful common land and woodland.
Trains run from local station, High Brooms into London Bridge in 40 minutes and London Charing Cross in under an hour. The M25, Ashford station (for the Channel Tunnel) and Gatwick Airport are all within easy driving distance. Brighton, Rye, Hastings and Lewes all less than an hour away by car.
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