Bank on a waterfront
Homes with views of the sea or rivers can command a premium, says Fred Redwood
We all know that water is precious — and when it comes to property it’s also expensive. But, then, living by a lake, river, estuary or the sea is just about every homebuyer’s fantasy.
It is such an attraction that estate agents Knight Frank published research which attempted to put a price on the dream.
a lakeside home, it estimates, is 42 per cent more expensive than its counterpart inland. Riverside settings add 70 per cent; coastal views add 72 per cent; harbours 98 per cent and estuary views 102 per cent.
Being near water — in a creek off the River Camel — captured the interest of artist David Pearce when he first saw his five-bedroom home, St Mary’s in little Petherick, Cornwall, two years ago.
‘It was so unusual for these parts — a sheltered river valley with overhanging trees, creating lots of light and shade, with the river tinkling in the background,’ says Mr Pearce, 52, who has exhibited widely in london and New York. ‘It was so green.’
The two acres of woods and gardens and the 300 ft of riverbank have provided subjects for Pearce’s colourful faux naive paintings. egrets, swans, herons and kingfishers all nest in the grounds.
Now he is moving to australia and St Mary’s is for sale with Jackie Stanley ( jackie-stanley.co.uk) at a guide price of £1.25 million.
Wales has long lagged behind london and the South-east in terms of property prices. However, if a house in Pembrokeshire has a sea view then its value can spiral by up to 50 per cent. Carol Peett estimates that 65 per cent of her clients at West Wales Property Search Finders come looking for a cliff-top home. Upper Porthmawr Farm, Whitesands, Pembrokeshire, is a five-bedroom farmhouse dating from the 1750s, standing in ten acres of grounds. With sweeping views over Whitesands Bay on the St David’s Peninsula, it is for sale with Fine & Country ( fineand
country. com) for £ 1.3million. Not everybody who likes living beside water does so for the peace and solitude. Riverside Homes specialise in homes on the Thames, and their clients are a distinctive type according to managing director, Russell Day.
‘ They are a mix of creatives, empty-nesters, downsizers and young professionals,’ he says.
Doubtless these buyers will be attracted to london City Island — an apartment block overlooking the Thames in london’s e14. With a spa, cafe, bar and pool, the one to three-bedroom apartments are built by Ballymore and eco World and start from £365,000.
If you are not put off by the quirky, then take a look at Osier Island on a secluded stretch of the River avon near Wyre Piddle, Worcestershire. The two-bedroom property, which is built on a raised platform, is a nature lover’s delight.
But there are no mains services, so the owner uses a solar panel for electricity, bottled gas for cooking, a wood-burning stove for heating and a rainwater holding tank. The only way on or off the island is by boat. Osier Island is being sold at auction through Knight Frank ( knightfrank.co.uk) for £190,000.
Holiday home developers have not been slow to pick up on the stress-busting qualities of a waterside environment. Watermark in the Cotswolds, a 90-minute drive down the M4 from london, has been targeted at city types.
With watersports on the 40-acre lake, the timber-built homes are eco-friendly and The Deck House is for sale for £ 625,000 with watermarkcotswolds.com.
Meanwhile, Dream lodge’s most recent development is on the banks of the River Ouse at lazy Otter Meadows, Cambridge. The cedarclad lodges come in a variety of styles, from alpine to eco and classic French. Owners can also moor their own boats at the marina and there is a private lake for fishing and a swimming pool.
Ownership is available from £99,000 ( dreamlodgegroup.co.uk).
The architect and designer Charles Francis Annesley Voysey had a horror of dirt. his collars were always clean and starched — ‘the brightest thing in the room,’ said his nephew-in-law.
he designed his own clothes — jackets without lapels, trousers with cuffs — so that no crease or nook or cranny could hide a speck of fluff or dust. he insisted on symmetry, tugging at his shirt cuffs so that exactly the same length showed beneath his suit arms at each wrist.
In the houses he designed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he insisted on a private on- site office provisioned at all times with a ‘stool, drawing board, basin, soap, towel and clothes brush’.
If you are imagining a puritan presiding over austere, colourless rooms, think again. Voysey was quite the opposite. Those starched shirts were ‘a beautiful blue’ and a cravat of ‘flamboyant’ printed Liberty silk was threaded through a tie-ring at his neck.
Today, almost 160 years after his birth, Voysey’s style feels as modern and cheering as ever. A beautiful new book, C. F. A. Voysey: Arts & Crafts Designer, published by the Victoria & Albert Museum, celebrates his work with lavish colour photographs. There is much to inspire.
his own wallpapers (in 1896, The Studio magazine wrote that the name Voysey had become as synonymous with wallpaper, as Wellington was with boots), fabrics, furniture and ceramics were carousels of colour: golden birds in a field of scarlet poppies, pale blue seahorses in an inky sea, holly berries bright against wintry evergreen leaves.
The studio at The Orchard, his house at Chorleywood in hertfordshire, was papered with a bold, fantastical wallpaper of desert islands and palm trees.
his work, which was influenced by William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement, balanced lively, moodlifting, often whimsical patterns — hearts, Birds of Many Climes, Alice in Wonderland, The house That Jack Built — with restrained, uncluttered room layouts.
Voysey- style would appeal to anyone drawn to colour and lively patterns, but instinctively tidy and minimalist. The Studio magazine in 1903 described his work as having the character of ‘a greyhound, with its sensitive grace and its outlines clean, vigorous and austere’.
‘Our home,’ Voysey wrote philosophically, ‘in which we seek refuge when our daily toil is over, should, beyond all things, afford repose for the mind and body; and that repose can only come of simplicity. The more elaborate the embellishment of any room, the more impossible it is for the weary brain to find rest within its walls.’
If you are looking for Voysey fabrics for cushions and blinds, online homewares shop Zazzle sells lengths of two of Voysey’s most popular designs Owl (pictured right) and Apothecary’s Garden (£19 per metre,
zazzle.co.uk), which would be very spring-like and charming as we approach winter.
Liberty has the Gallymoggers Reynard fabric, a take on Voysey’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland print, which would brighten a child’s bedroom (£22.50 per metre, liberty.co.uk). Wallpaper shop Common Room has recently issued a wonderfully jungly wallpaper Lioness & Palms inspired by one of Voysey’s 1918 watercolours found in the archives of the V&A (£140 per 10m roll, commonroom.co). Kate hawkins, founder of Common Room, says that Voysey’s work is never contrived or cliched: ‘he gives you what you want without you realising you want it — it’s not what you expect.’ Pilgrim Tiles reproduces nine of Voysey’s tile designs for fireplace surrounds, kitchens and bathrooms. his curled- up Cats would delight a catlover, while his Delft- style blueand-white ships would be crisp and clean in a bathroom (from £7.50, pilgrimtiles.co.uk).
Jackfield Ceramics has a range of Voysey’s large Alice in Wonderland tiles that would make excellent stands for houseplants, hot casserole dishes and teapots, if you’re in the mood for a Mad hatter’s tea party.
One of Voysey’s identifying markers was a cut-out heart shape in the wood of his furniture. Tasha Interiors makes a children’s bed with a heart stamped on the headboard (£495, tashainteriors.co.uk), while kitchen wares shop Arisanti sells chopping boards with cut-out hearts (from £11, artisanti.com), and John Lewis heart wooden spoons (£3, johnlewis.com).
George Butlin, editor of The Orchard, the Voysey Society’s journal, talks of the designer’s ‘exquisite yet simple detailing. The plain unwaxed oak finishes were counterpoised by carefully contrived hammered brass and copper fittings to unique and particular effect’.
VOySey admired fixtures and fittings so much that he would have antique hinges, door locks and keys mounted on boards and framed. One could pull off a similar trick with ironmongery from Poole Waite & Co ( poolewaite.co.uk) or key plates and brackets from english Salvage ( englishsalvage.co.uk).
Charles Lawrence, chairman of the Voysey Society, praises his ‘exquisite’ regard for detail, and also his ‘ modest and memorable’ interiors. To calm his energetic wallpapers and brighten his dark oak furniture, Voysey would paint the woodwork in his houses white — kept scrupulously clean of course.
CFA Voysey: Arts & Crafts Designer by Karen Livingstone, Max Donnelly and Linda Parry, V&A Publishing, £40.