House near Newmarket offers best of both worlds
At first glance, Oak House, situated on an idyllic country road with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, seems to be a characterful, centuries-old property. It is, however, a thoroughly modern home built in an attractive period style and boasting plenty of light and space.
Located on the edge of the picturesque village of Carlton on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border, this enchanting dwelling – on the market with Jackson-Stops & Staff for £725,000 – essentially offers the best of both worlds: a contemporary dwelling with the look and charm of a grade II-listed house.
Circumstances beyond their control have meant that the present owners, Gary and Sally Hollister, have had to leave the home they love earlier than planned – and Gary, who works for Harlow Group in Essex, will be taking early retirement.
“We’ve only been here six months and we’re reluctantly having to move away from the area,” said Sally. “Gary’s elderly parents have finally decided that they can’t cope, so we’re going to find a property with an annexe for them.”
The couple’s carefully considered redesigning of the kitchen, a beautifully modern cooking area, is a particular standout feature – a labour of love of which Sally is justifiably proud.
“Everybody said I was mad to change the kitchen, to be honest with you,” she noted, “but I just wanted something more in keeping with the house, so we went for solid oak tops and a solid oak floor. We knocked the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room and made it open-plan.”
Commenting on the pleasing-to-the-eye appearance of the house, Sally, who is originally from Birmingham (her husband is from Wales), continued:
“That’s one of the good things about it; everybody thinks it’s old but it’s not – it was only built in 2003.
“To be honest with you, we weren’t going to view it – it was too small for us. But we were going this way anyway and we stopped outside and fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. The oak canopy and the pargeting outside are really pretty, I think. Gorgeous views too and we get amazing sunsets.”
The couple – the second people to own the house – move quite regularly, though six months is the shortest amount of time they’ve ever lived anywhere, and were previously residing in Clavering, near Saffron Walden.
Sally believes they would probably be staying “a good couple of years” more if things had been different, and are now looking to relocate to Herefordshire or Worcester.
On the subject of further changes they carried out, besides the kitchen, Sally said: “We’ve decorated the lounge – we’ve put a wood burner in. We’ve decorated downstairs, basically, and upstairs was going to be my next project.”
The kitchen opens out onto the patio and the lady of the house loves the fact that the sun warms the garden throughout the day.
“It’s a sun-trap – we’re always out there,” she said. “We sit out there and have breakfast, we love it.
“It’s a lovely garden as well; it’s really well-stocked. The wisteria’s just about to come out so it will look really pretty soon.”
Sally concluded: “There are fantastic walks all around here and the village is very friendly – we’ve never been made to feel more welcome. Everybody was bringing jam round and asking us to go for drinks. There are really nice people around here and we get on really well with the neighbours either side.
“I’ll also miss the views and the sunsets – and the kitchen.”