This marvellous six-bedroom Grade II-listed Regency townhouse sits on a quiet private road in the seaside town of St Leonards-on-sea in East Sussex. Spread over four floors, the villa unfolds across some 4,300 sq ft of beautifully executed living space. Voluminous ceiling heights and plenty of preserved original features sit alongside contemporary interventions, creating spaces perfect for family life and entertaining. A covered first-floor veranda has far-reaching views of the Sussex coastline, as well as direct access to a mature and established landscaped garden. St Leonards is a charming seaside town that is rich with Regency architecture and has quick transport links to London and the rest of the UK.
Setting the Scene
Designed by Decimus Burton, the famed architect responsible for much of St Leonard’s, Regent’s Park and Piccadilly in London, Archery Villas was originally composed of five stuccoed villas constructed as holiday homes for Londoners. The architecture is symmetrical, defined by its classical proportion and is historically important, representing what would be called in modern terms a ‘commercial development’ incorporated into the town planning of St Leonards. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
The entrance to the house is on the lower-ground floor, opening to a beautiful, light-filled reception hall with large black and white marble chequerboard tiles. The colour palette throughout the house is pared back and neutral, with most of the rooms laid with pale pine floorboards, allowing the focus to stay firmly on the sea views and the original features. French doors open from here to the lovely garden, allowing a wonderful sea breeze to pass through in the warmer months. On the right is a large reception room, which overlooks the wonderfully green landscaped gardens. Next door is a cosy study tucked away; it is the perfect spot for quiet contemplation. There is also a large family bathroom on this floor.
A set of stairs leads to the upper-ground floor, where the living spaces continue. The hallway here is voluminous, with classical arches and further original wooden flooring. A vast, turned staircase is the focal point, while an original plaster cast medallion showing a classical scene, highlights the Victorian obsession with antiquity.
On this floor, the original main reception room has been converted into a large kitchen and dining room, perfect for the day-to-day routine of modern life and entertaining on a large scale. Here, the locally made wooden kitchen cabinets and central island are topped by black beauty granite , the swirls of the marble echoing the pattern of the sea. A wood-burning stove warms the room, adding a cosy touch, and three floor-to-ceiling sash windows open to the cast-iron veranda, framing calming sea views. A large pantry is next door, accessed from the kitchen, adding valuable extra storage. Adjacent to the kitchen is a beautiful formal reception, with a gas fire and a large sash window overlooking the quiet square. There is a useful guest WC and cloakroom on this floor.
The house was originally designed so that the sun warms the rear veranda in the morning (a wonderful place to take a coffee), and moves around to the sitting room at the front by the evening.
On the first floor are two large en suite bedrooms. The primary bedroom suite overlooks the landscaped gardens with spectacular sea views. A vast space, it takes up one-half of the plan, where a bathroom with a freestanding bath and spectacular sea views can be accessed through double doors; a dressing room lies at the other end of the bedroom. The second suite is next door and has an en suite bathroom and views over the quiet, private road.
On the second floor are two further bedrooms set into the eaves. The sea-facing bedroom has the best views in the house, from the highest vantage point. A large guest bathroom has another freestanding bath, a shower, a vanity and a WC. On the lower-ground floor, at the front of the plan, is another large guest bedroom with fitted wardrobes and en suite. There is also a useful guest cloakroom, a WC and a plant room.
The Great Outdoors
Externally, the home has two privately allocated parking spaces to the front. To the rear, the gardens have been extensively landscaped under current ownership, creating a private oasis where you can feel the sea breeze. A large sandstone terrace is perfect for alfresco dining, surrounded by fragrant orange blossom bushes. Mature bamboo, palms, mimosa, Indian Bean and olive trees have been planted to create a wonderful green space, and a pretty seashell path leads to an arbour at the end of the garden, the perfect spot for taking in the evening sun.
Out and About
St Leonards on Sea is a veritable hub of galleries and restaurants. Close to Archery Villas lie the Hastings Antique Centre, Lucy Bell Gallery, Project 78 Gallery and the Fleet Gallery. For the culinarily inclined, there is Galleria Seafood Bar, Tommy’s Pizzeria and St. Clements Restaurant – the Kino Teatr and Heist Market are also within strolling distance from Furze Croft.
Hastings is close, as is Bexhill-on-Sea (home to the De La Warr Pavilion). The area’s rejuvenation is best epitomised by the additions of the Jerwood gallery by HAT Projects, which opened in 2012, and a new pier by dRMM, which opened in 2016 and was awarded the 2017 Stirling Prize for architecture.
Trains run from St. Leonards Warrior Square to London Bridge and Charing Cross (journey times approximately 90 minutes) and Brighton (journey time around one hour).
Council Tax Band: G
St Leonards-on-sea was the brainchild of architect James Burton and later his son Decimus. The resort was a Regency playground that continued to be developed east and westwards along the coast until the early 20th century.
With echoes of London’s Marylebone and Belgravia, the Burton’s previous projects, St Leonards became well-known for its wooded slopes framing grand townhouses, villas, shops, public buildings and entertainment spaces. Extensive pleasure gardens were available for residents with a subscription, and the town’s stuccoed frontages became increasingly desirable holiday homes for those in London.
James Burton’s grave is marked by a classical pyramid in the churchyard of St Leonards Church. After he inherited the design project from his father, Decimus lived in St Leonards for the remainder of his life.
Princess Sophia of Gloucester stayed at Gloucester Lodge (formerly Castellated Villa) in 1831, whilst Princess Victoria and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, resided in the town at Victoria House for the winter of 1845-35. Most famously, Queen Adelaide passed a winter in St Leonards in 1837.
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