We take a peek inside a magnificent home in Dereham
WHEN I arrived at Jocelyn and Philip’s home in the centre of Dereham I was struck by how quiet it was; there was not a sound. Equally stunning were the walled courtyard entrance, entered through a door in a wall from its surroundings and the extensive rear garden, bordered by mature trees. The feel was far more country house than town centre environment, a hidden gem.
“Our original intention,” recalls Jocelyn, “in moving to Norfolk was to find a place in Norwich. I had known the county for years as my godson and parents have a second home in Thornham. I thought when I retire this is the place for me. We chose Norwich as I am used to town living – call it my London genes – so we viewed seven properties. It was our final viewing, which we did one morning at 7.30am, knowing nothing about the town. Immediately on walking in and seeing the beautiful kitchen with bespoke units overlooking the courtyard to the parish church that totally clinched it, but there was more.”
“Yes,” adds Phil, “as Mathew Green, the developer, led us through to the rear of the house where there are three very sizable reception rooms. As we looked out we could not believe the wonderful gardens and trees, right here in centre of town. So we made a cash offer that day. We could move quickly, so deal done and now we have
lived here for five years. We were blown away by the fantastic space, the layout, the modern interior in a period building.”
Their home forms a major section of the old Guildhall, which is Grade II listed. Built in 1829 for the Barton family as their home, it later was bought by local government and became Dereham Guildhall and used, among other things, for weddings. In 2001 Greens Developments bought it. Subsequently Mr Green senior died and it was his son Mathew who finally developed the building into four townhouses, of which Jocelyn and Phil’s is the biggest at 4,500 square feet. It includes the section which was once the Orangery.
Jocelyn, born in Minster in Kent to a Dutch mum and English father, lived her early years at Nijmegen in Holland, before returning to the UK age 11 to live at Goffs Oak in Hertfordshire, her father being a director at Tesco.
“He retired early,” explains Jocelyn, “enabling him to become an antique dealer specialising in English and Dutch clocks. He has had a shop in the Portobello Road for years, hence my London genes! After school, I had the opportunity to enroll as an Eurobond trader and became fully fledged, one of the youngest at 22, working for the Industrial Bank of Japan.
“I was actually trading through Black
October. I was later invited to work for Cantor Fitzgerald both in London and Amsterdam.
“However in my early 30s, I became burnt out, due to too much traveling and stress. I think we needed the 90s and the noughties as a time to reassess ourselves.”
After a period recharging her batteries, Jocelyn opened an up-market clothes shop in Hitchin, helped by her dad. Due to the original stress, she had been very interested in alternative medicine, aromatherapy and holistic practices, so after four years with the clothes shop, she changed direction, managing an aromatherapy clinic for a friend, before becoming a rep for Lamberts Health Care, based in Tunbridge Wells, specialising in nutrition and health supplements. She now covers, Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and bits of north west London.
Phil and Jocelyn had known each other when she was 22 for a short time. However, years later and both single, he got in touch with her out of the blue and the rest is history. Phil, who was brought up in Chelmsford, became an insurance broker for five years after leaving school, but for most of his life he has been in the motor trade in sales.
When they both moved in 2011, he joined the Mercedes commercials dealership at Norwich airport as a sales executive. His dad, Robert Hutson, is an architect who has designed several pieces of furniture for the house including the coffee tables in the TV room and the dining table in the garden room. Phil has always loved modern; Jocelyn, like her parents, likes period style, but this property combines the best of both worlds.
“Without doubt,” explains Jocelyn, “I love the kitchen best. It’s so sociable and I enjoy doing dinner parties for friends and family; love it when all my girlfriends come up to stay. We go to Norwich shopping in the day, on the Number 8 bus – two favourites are Scarlet ladies wear and Berrys & Grey Interiors.
“Then cocktails in the evening in the garden room and a good meal, which I cook. I have always enjoyed cooking and hosting. Fabulous!
“I have two cats, Billy Bob who is four, a Savannah, and Willow, a rescue moggie who is two, who are both very dear to me and I adore them. When we can we get up to the beach at Holkham; so beautiful, and different – you cannot believe you are there.”
So what about walks, I ask? “As I get lots of exercise on the golf course every Sunday morning,” replies Phil, “playing at both Dereham and Sprowston, we are not natural ramblers. So as Jocelyn mentioned, Holkham Beach and then lunch at the Victoria, another favourite being The Duck at Stanhoe.
“We love the Norfolk beaches, both north and east, but other than that, my walking is around Waitrose at Swaffham!” adds Jocelyn, giggling.
“Making the decision to move to Norfolk has been a breath of fresh air. Looking back the decision to come to Dereham, to this lovely property, was so much better than even expected. As we are based more or less in the centre of Norfolk, everything is to hand; city, coast, countryside, plus the convenience of the town. Fantastic choice all round!”
Drawing Room: Sofa by Mulberry, 0207 2259166. Greek icons bought in Mykonos, clock from father’s shop
Master bedroom: Bed from Hypnos from Bakers & Larners in Holt, 01263 712244. Chest of drawers and side tables from Ikea, rug from Raveningham Carpets, lamps from John Lewis
Guest bedroom: Bed, all furniture and chandelier from Laura Ashley
TV room: Coffee tables designed by Robert Hutson; sofas from Next, 0333 0055006. Glass bowls from Langham Glass, 01328 863500. Clock on window sill from Snape Maltings’ home shop, 01728 688303
Below: Attic bedroom
Kitchen: Similar units from Kitchens Etc. 01328 823111. Table and chairs from Heathfield Antiques, Holt, 01263 711609. Tiles from Eastern Glazed Ceramics, 01603 775300. Dutch farmhouse clock from Jocelyn’s father’s shop in the Portobello Road
EXTERIOR: The courtyard exterior was converted by Green Developments 2009/10
As it was, built for the Barton family in 1829