The house that love built

Bick­er­ton House is a home filled with love, a feel­ing that’s ap­par­ent the mo­ment you step in­side Cheshire Life: Jan­uary 2019 Cheshire Life: Jan­uary 2019

Cheshire Life - - Join Our Ambassador Club - Kate Houghton John Cocks

Ron and Anne Mor­ris have lived at Bick­er­ton House, in the tiny vil­lage of Bick­er­ton near Chomon­de­ley, since 2006, hav­ing spot­ted it in Cheshire Life.

‘We had just com­pleted the re­build and ren­o­va­tions of the pe­riod prop­erty we lived in in Mar­ford, near Ros­sett,’ Ron says. ‘I came home from work and Anne greeted me with a drink and the words “I’ve been shop­ping.”

‘It was early Fe­bru­ary,’ Anne tells me. ‘I was read­ing Cheshire Life and I saw a line draw­ing of the house, which was still un­der con­struc­tion. I was so ex­cited, I had to go im­me­di­ately to see it.’

Ron adds: ‘Anne was born in Peck­for­ton, just a few miles away. Her grand­fa­ther was a game­keeper for Lord Tollemache at Peck­for­ton Cas­tle.

‘She had al­ways wanted to live in this part of the world, but houses come on the mar­ket very rarely.’

‘When I ar­rived I found a half-built prop­erty up a drive­way filled with rub­ble,’ Anne says. ‘I walked into the en­trance of the house and felt so emo­tional – this

was ex­actly where I wanted to be. I brought Ron here the very next day. We bought it and moved in on June 6th. At the same time we were com­plet­ing on a home in the South of France, so I ended up kit­ting out two houses at the same time!’

The in­flu­ence of their Cannes home is clear in ev­ery room of Bick­er­ton House. Softly coloured wooden floors through­out are com­pli­mented by a muted pal­ette of calm­ing shades of creams and tau­pes.

Ev­ery­where you look there are in­di­ca­tions of the ro­mance that fills this house; love hearts are to be found in abun­dance.

‘When we moved in, the floors down­stairs were all mar­ble tiled,’ Ron tells me. ‘We had it all re­placed with Tedd Todd wooden floors, made be­spoke for us in the ex­act colour we wanted. We also re­designed the lay­out of the mas­ter suite.’

Anne says: ‘The day af­ter Ron re­tired he was knock­ing down walls and rip­ping off tiles. We took it all apart and de­signed a new one ex­actly the way we wanted it.’

Ron adds that they changed the lay­out: ‘There was a cor­ri­dor at right an­gles to the land­ing, which you en­tered through a cen­tral door, and then run three doors off that into the bed­room, bath­room and dress­ing room.

‘We closed off that door, opened up the cor­ri­dor and made

a sin­gle en­try into the mas­ter bed­room, with the bath­room and dress­ing room lead­ing off from there.’

It’s a gor­geous space, I have to say. The bath­room is fives­tar-ho­tel-lux­u­ri­ous while the dress­ing room al­lows for a se­ri­ous shoe col­lec­tion…bliss.

When this lovely cou­ple bought Bick­er­ton House it came with its very own de­tached gym.

‘It didn’t make sense to us to have a gym there,’ says Anne. ‘It was too hot! We de­cided to con­vert it to a three-bed­room cot­tage. We moved the gym to our base­ment, which the builder had planned as a me­dia room.’

Once they had this sorted, Ron looked around for his next project.

‘The house sits in a 1.2 acre plot,’ he says, ‘and so we bought the field next door to pro­tect our en­vi­ron­ment and our views.’

Anne added: ‘This gave me the

“It’s a gor­geous space. The bath­room is five-star-ho­tel-lux­u­ri­ous”

op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing I had never done be­ own horses! We knew we wouldn’t be rid­ing, of course, so we de­cided on minia­ture horses and bought three six month old Fal­a­bel­las. A year later we bought an­other horse, but we needed some help to keep the grass down, so we then added five Ja­cob sheep.’

Ron laughs: ‘I sud­denly had to learn about a whole new thing – fenc­ing.’

One gets the im­pres­sion that the lucky Anne only has to smile at her hus­band and he ca­pit­u­lates on her ev­ery whim, from houses to horses. It’s def­i­nitely a re­la­tion­ship based on a mu­tual love and I ask how long they’ve been to­gether.

‘We met when we were 12,’ says Anne. ‘We dated for two weeks when we were at school, but then that was that. Ron left at 16 to join the mer­chant navy and when he came home a year later we met again. I was still at school then. The fol­low­ing Jan­uary we started dat­ing again and have been to­gether ever since. We’re joined at the hip – we just get on.’

Not sat­is­fied yet, with his field and his horses and his sheep and his fences, Ron de­cided he needed to own the wood­land be­hind the house, too.

‘We were walk­ing in the wood­land above the house and I won­dered if we could buy that too,’ he says. ‘It be­longed to the Eger­tons. It took me 12 months to con­vince them; I called the es­tate of­fice ev­ery Mon­day morn­ing to ask the ques­tion – and even­tu­ally they said yes. Then we started to ne­go­ti­ate. I look af­ter it all and keep the paths clear – our lit­tle dog Mika is very low to the ground and gets stuck in the leaves!

‘To cel­e­brate our 45th wed­ding an­niver­sary I bought 45 red hearts and at­tached them to 45 trees through­out the wood; they’re all still there.’

Ron and Anne have had a busy life. Af­ter leav­ing the navy, Ron worked in the oil in­dus­try and they lived four years in Bahrain be­fore re­turn­ing to the UK, where Ron es­tab­lished a com­puter busi­ness, which he sold just a mat­ter of weeks be­fore the

fi­nan­cial world went hor­ri­bly wrong in 2008.

‘Our life has pro­gressed in quite de­fined stages,’ says Anne, ‘and now we’ve de­cided, af­ter much soul search­ing, that we’re ready to move on to the next stage and put this house on the mar­ket.

‘Ron will be 70 next year, I have dodgy knees – and we’re both per­fec­tion­ists. We like ev­ery­thing just so.

‘We clear the field and muck out the horses ev­ery day. Ron keeps on top of the wood­land and the gar­den him­self. But it’s just get­ting too much for us to keep it the way we like it.

‘We’re in no hurry to sell, though. We’re not un­der pres­sure, but we’d pre­fer to move while it’s not too trau­matic an ex­pe­ri­ence. We don’t want to leave it un­til we’re 80! We haven’t even got a pref­er­ence as to where we move, we just know that we want an­other new build.’

Wher­ever Ron and Anne find them­selves, you can be sure it will in­volve hearts and flow­ers all day long, in an­other house built with love. Bick­er­ton House is for sale through Strutt & Parker Ch­ester. Guide price £2,700,000 strut­tand­ Tel: 01244 354872

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