Get the best of both worlds
DEBORAH STONE looks at the period properties being renovated into boutique homes complete with contemporary interiors and amenities
ALTHOUGH sales of new-build homes are driven by modern open-plan design and good insulation to reduce heating bills, most of the homes sold in the UK are second-hand – and the most popular are period homes.
We love lots of original features such as high ceilings, cornicing and ceiling roses, or inglenook fireplaces and exposed timber beams.
But bad insulation and heat inefficiency can be a problem, so the solution is to buy a period property that has been gutted and rebuilt with modern materials.
Yet even better than a totally refurbished period home, is to buy one that comes fully furnished – with an updated interior design to match.
Innovative new estate agency Cuvelo provides just that, marketing refurbished homes that come with a one-year warranty and can be fully furnished and styled so the buyer can move in straight away.
It’s a concept that’s gone down particularly well in some of London’s classiest areas, fromwestminster to Knightsbridge and Kensington.
“Many buyers love the idea of buying a period home,” says Cuvelo co-founder Patrick Dougherty. “Yet the interiors of these homes are often tired, dull or both, so moving into one means taking on a project.
“The solution, therefore, is buying a period home that has been beautifully refurbished.”
Dougherty and co-founder Costanza Ranieri also run an interior design and refurbishment studio, Ivar London, and say their agency Cuvelo.com is a kitemark for quality refurbishments – hence the one-year warranty it offers.
Similarly, boutique property company Clearview Developments specialises in rejuvenating old houses and its latest conversion is the renovation and extension of a 19th century mansion in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Broadwater House, near
Broadwater Down and Hargate Forest on the Sussex High Weald, is a five-minute drive from shops, restaurants and cafes in Tunbridge’s historic Pantiles district and 10 minutes from the town’s railway station, with direct trains to London.
It was the first of 46 mansions built in the mid-1800s by the 4th Earl of Abergavenny with developer George
Mansfield, on Broadwater Down. Back then, the area had little more than a track leading through woodland.
Later, Broadwater House was divided into five apartments but the building became run-down and now Clearview Developments has planning permission to renovate the house and add a large extension in the same style to create 14 one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments.
“The property has true potential to be transformed into an attractive home for families and downsizers alike but also professionals who seek access to good transport links,” says the company’s director Jason Tema.
Ornamental ceilings, decorative stucco and floor-to-ceiling windows will be reinstated, original fireplaces retained, wooden entrance doors to the foyer restored and a staircase put in to replace one previously removed.
Apartments in the new extension will mirror the style and design of the original building but all will offer 21st-century conveniences such as underfloor heating, data and TV points, LED downlights and engineered oak wood floors.
With prices expected to start from around £400,000 for a one-bedroom flat (0333 444 2220; broadwaterhouse.com), the apartments are due for completion in spring 2021.And to complete the modern design in a period home, buyers will be able to choose from two furniture packages with a choice of colour palette.