Cottages offer tranquil rural oasis bordering country house estate
WHEN Eileen Lee first saw her chocolate box cottage in the beautiful conservation village of Owston, the attraction was instant.
“We entered into the heart of the village, under the double arched bell tower towards a pretty grade II listed cottage, known as the estate house, which shone out from behind the trees and I instantly fell in love with it. Nothing else would suffice,” she says.
Vine Cottage wasn’t on the market, but she persuaded the estate owner to sell it in 1985, along with some of the historical arboretum that backed onto the garden.
The 17th century property had undergone some renovation, but Eileen and her first husband, Peter, maximised the potential and spent a small fortune transforming it into a stunning family home.
They engaged historic buildings specialist David Michelmore and his team of craftsman to restore the cottage and commissioned bespoke furniture from Shortland and Smallbone.
Brian Juhos, a London-based interior designer, advised on the décor.
In 1993, Eileen bought neighbouring Pear Tree Cottage and turned it into guest accommodation and she and second husband, Richard, later converted an adjoining outbuilding into an office and boardroom for their business.
“Each property has its own charm but as a whole we describe it as our oasis,” says Eileen.
Vine Cottage has three reception rooms, a kitchen with Aga, utility room, cloakroom, four double bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Pear Tree cottage has a hall, sitting room, study, large farmhouse kitchen with Rayburn, utility room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. A converted annexe now serves as the main dining room but was a boardroom with bespoke office furniture in solid oak.
Outside, there is a double garage, parking for up to ten vehicles, an outbuilding, a log cabin used as a gym and sauna, plus gardens and grounds of twoand-a-half acres.
Eileen and Richard are selling as they are considering living abroad. She says: “We have resided in the village for some 28 years. Our children Natalie and Benjamin have been fortunate to have experienced such a place to grow and to appreciate the good things that the tranquil, rural setting has to offer. The privilege of being part of this unique estate, is one that we are immensely proud of. To say we will miss the old place, its heritage and community spirit is an understatement.”
Owston is close to the A19 and three miles from the A1. It comprises of 19 houses, a Norman church and is also home to Owston Hall country house hotel with its championship golf course.