A Victorian Arts & Crafts masterpiece set in 5 acres
The Old Woodclyffe is a true Arts and Crafts masterpiece, attached and surrounded by mature gardens and private woodlands, within easy reach of Wargrave village and the Val Wyatt Marina. It was designed in the mid-Victorian period (1873) by the noted Scottish architect Cole A. Adams who became head of the RIBA. As was popular in the Henley Valley after the railway branch line opened in the mid 1800s The Old Woodclyffe was commissioned as a lavish holiday home by it's wealthy owners, Harriet Cook Smith (Florence Nightingale's Aunt and a great local benefactress) and Mr William Smith the Brewer of Fuller & Smith created this fashionable and well built home as somewhere to relax and entertain guests away from London.
The tiled roof elevations, red brick and flint walls are fine examples of the period. Internally the style carries forward the Arts and Crafts exteriors and blends it with Victorian Gothic,Aesthetic Movement motifs. Successfully marrying these architectural styles in a stunning way. The original character features have been preserved including a magnificent hand-carved staircase with barley twist spindles, ornate carvings, an exceptional stained glass lantern roof in the family room as well as extensive stained-glass throughout the rest of the house and a platinum and gold original Minton tiled fire surround in the master suite.
There is original solid English oak Versailles panel flooring with ebony beading on the ground floor. As well as a unique oval shuttered solarium, a grotto / fernery (visible from inside the sitting room) and ornate cornicing in both the dining and sitting rooms. The elegant accommodation extends to the second floor where all the bedrooms have been recently redecorated and refurbished but maintain their original features.
The property is accessed via double front doors into a Victorian lobby with intricate tessellating floor tiles and a screened area that is typical for the period. The lobby opens onto the magnificent statement entrance hall with high ceilings and ornate wood floors and the exquisite main staircase which rises past stained glass windows up a double height galleried stair well to the first floor hall.
There are a total of three generous reception rooms, plus a garden room, large study, kitchen and ancillary rooms on the ground floor including the original solid slate bed pantry and a shower room. The six bedrooms are all situated on the first floor, including a sumptuous master bedroom with dressing room and en suite bathroom. The second floor offers a great opportunity, with two attic rooms which could be converted in to additional accommodation or games rooms.
Taken as a whole The Old Woodclyffe is a particularly fine example of its type and yet also provides a very comfortable family home in a beautiful setting. All proportions and ceiling heights are very generous yet remain homely.
Gardens and Grounds
The property is approached over a shared pillared drive leading to a sweeping gravel driveway and turning circle. There is ample parking for several vehicles and covered space within a detached double garage. To the rear, the beautiful grounds face south and west and extend to about 5 acres, including mature formal gardens and woodland with several specimen trees. A paved patio area is ideal for dining alfresco. Lawns extend around 2 sides of the house, dotted with well-established flowerbeds and mature trees including a fine specimen Indian conifer supplied by Kew Gardens at the time of construction in the 1870s. A good cropping and established vegetable patch with herb garden is also accessible from the kitchen.
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Some of the most beautiful period features I've seen in a house in the area.Victoria Knight