The lay­out on the first floor is charm­ingly ran­dom,

due to the ar­range­ment of short cor­ri­dors and lit­tle cor­ners.

Victorian Homes - - Shopper -

Be­fore mov­ing to Radford Villa, which they have started to share oc­ca­sion­ally with bed and break­fast guests, the cou­ple lived in a farm­house in Sur­rey. “We had been hop­ing to move for a while, to some­where deeper in the coun­try­side,” Carol says. They were feel­ing a grav­i­ta­tional pull to­wards the south­west of Eng­land, as Peter’s fam­ily hails from that re­gion, and it was their daugh­ter who dis­cov­ered the villa for sale.

“We came to see it, and liked it be­cause it isn’t a cho­co­late-box-pretty sort of place, more a rus­ti­cally el­e­gant house,” Carol says. “It has a few quirks and in­ter­est­ing nooks and cran­nies. Also, it feels down to earth around here. We feel part of a real com­mu­nity, in an area that has a rich in­dus­trial her­itage.”

The villa was in good con­di­tion when they ar­rived, though the dé­cor was a bit on the bright side for their taste. Im­por­tantly, many of the orig­i­nal pe­riod features, such as the fireplaces, win­dow shut­ters and ceil­ing cor­nices were in­tact, so the cou­ple let the in­te­rior em­brace them for a while be­fore they be­gan to put their own stamp on it.

Carol cher­ishes her grand­mother’s vast 1920s col­lec­tion of Spode Ital­ian Gar­den china. “We do use it, but only very oc­ca­sion­ally,” she says.

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