Occupying an elevated position in the village of Westleton is this beautiful four-bedroom house about three miles inland from the Suffolk coast. Inside, the house has been sensitively renovated, coupling modern details with original Arts and Crafts architectural features. Quiet and secluded gardens, with a hand-built greenhouse and a shed, stretch to around half an acre and are chock-full of herbaceous planting, mature trees, productive vegetable beds and espaliered fruit trees. A large contemporary independent annexe is currently used as a studio and workshop.
Setting the Scene
The house is nestled in the village of Westleton, in the Suffolk countryside. The village’s Westleton’s 14th-century church, St Peter’s, was built by monks from Sibton Abbey near Saxmundham. The church’s tower has been toppled twice, firstly in 1776 under the strain of hurricane winds and again during World War II when a bomb destroyed it.
The house has a pargeted facade, a type of plasterwork particularly associated with Suffolk and some parts of Essex. Four red-brick chimneys sit atop the pantiled roof. Green widows, gutters and woodwork punctuate the soft ecru walls, accented in yellow and green, making the charming house particularly distinctive.
The Grand Tour
Approached via a quiet lane, the house is set back from the road, with verdant hedging forming the boundary, creating a sense of privacy and seclusion. The distinctive building is rendered in a soft ecru, with parageted façades accented in yellow and green, punctuated with green doors and windows; four red-brick chimneys sit atop the pantiled roof.
The main entry is to a welcoming vestibule. A hefty painted beam lies between two round decorative columns, delineating this space from the large hall behind. The interior spaces have been lovingly renovated over recent years with creatively considered contemporary design details, like tactile black encaustic tiles, paired seamlessly with the building’s original features.
The kitchen and dining room are open-plan, creating a sociable layout that works in harmony with daily life. At one side of the room, a central island with an oak waterfall worktop houses hand-crafted cabinetry, and a cream-coloured Aga sits within the chimney recess. Panelled doors open to generous pantry storage, and a utility area is hidden along one edge of the room. The dining area has been positioned centrally and has a warming log-burning stove. A pair of glazed doors optimise the easterly orientation, inviting light to flood in and allowing a natural flow between the inside and outside spaces.
A blackened spiral staircase ascends to a first-floor sitting room. Lofty pitched ceilings generously dotted with roof lights, metal tie rods, and generous proportions characterise this wonderfully light space. The perfect spot to read or watch movies, the room also has a quiet area to work or study, set within a levitating attic level at the far end of the plan.
There are a further three reception rooms on the ground floor, meaning the house has a very flexible layout and can be configured in several ways. A homely snug is located centrally and is replete with period features. Black encaustic tiles line the floors, and an open fireplace is set into one wall. The second sitting room, another peaceful space, has glazed double doors leading to the leafy south-facing courtyard, which is a lovely place for afternoon tea in warmer months. This room would work equally well as a fourth bedroom. A large study, with ample bespoke storage built into the recesses on either side of the open fire, leads to a rear hallway. A shower room completes the ground floor layout.
The straight flight of painted stairs is at the centre of the plan and has a beautifully raddled handrail. It leads to a wide, open landing and the three first-floor bedrooms. The main bedroom has an en suite bathroom with a luxurious roll-top bath bordered by Iroko wall lining. The ceiling of the second bedroom rises with the roof line. It has exposed purlins and is dual aspect, with windows framing far-reaching leafy landscapes. The third double bedroom has a southerly aspect with a window overlooking colourful garden views and the original brick-framed fireplace.
Two family bathrooms are distinct from each other in layout, materials, texture and atmosphere. One is conceived like a ship’s cabin, with walls lined in Iroko planking, floorboards stained pitch black, and storage neatly accommodated at every opportunity. The other is a bright space with small glass mosaic tiling and clever integral storage.
Sitting on the site’s eastern boundary is a contemporary garden studio, a flexible space that could be used for home working, storing cars and boats, or as a creative workshop. The building references the local agricultural vernacular with a simple geometric profile; black horizontal boarded cladding and walls of folding glazed doors. Spanning around 879 sq ft, the space is divided into three. Mono-pitch ceilings are lined in birch-faced ply; there is plenty of storage and a well-thought-out hand-crafted kitchen area. A vintage three-compartment train carriage, built into the western side of the annexe, adds character to this wonderful annexe. There is parking for four cars on the driveway.
The Great Outdoors
The gardens and terraces have been tenderly developed over many years, carefully designed to optimise the changing light of the day and attract local birds and wildlife. Herbaceous borders, perennial planting, and topiary bushes ensure interest, fragrance and colour throughout the seasons, and there are also productive patches for cultivating vegetables, fruit and flowers. Meandering paths connect the many pockets carved out for eating and drinking, and there are additional spots for watching the sunset over the big Suffolk skies.
A large sunken greenhouse is lined in concrete with an asymmetric glazed roof that stretches between oak rafters and metal tie rods. There is a garden shed clad in rough-sawn boards. The garden has an extensive rain-harvesting system
with underground storage tanks connected to the greenhouse and vegetable garden.
Out and About
Westleton is surrounded by rolling countryside in all directions, with RSPB Minsmere a short drive and the beach at Dunwich just two miles away. The village centres around a traditional green and has an active village hall, a handy shop with post office facilities and an independent book shop, Chapel Books. There are two pubs, The Crown and The White Horse, both great spots for evening pints and hearty Sunday lunches. The house abuts the Westleton Heath Nature reserve, a beautiful area to walk and run.
The market town of Saxmundham is just over seven miles away. It has a vibrant high street and Wednesday market for exploring a range of produce stalls. There are traditional butchers, KB Stannard & Sons for Sunday roasts and barbeques and a diverse selection of independent shops: Crisps the Stationers and Sax Velo, a handy cycle shop. There are many terrific places to eat and drink, from bistros and cafes, including Vela Art Gallery & Café, Trinity’s Café and an excellent fish and chip shop, Trawler’s Catch.
The area is the gateway to visiting the nearby fabulous spots along the coast, Thorpeness, Aldeburgh, Southwold and RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve all nearby. Snape Maltings, with its cafe and concert hall, is a favourite local spot on the River Alde. The surrounding countryside offers beautiful walks and cycleways.
There is easy access to the A12, and the house is close to Darsham Station, where trains run to London Liverpool Street via Ipswich and also connect to Cambridge and Norwich.
Council Tax Band: F
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