Ralph reviews a contemporary detached house in Farndon
So the new year has arrived with a bang, brr! One of my highlights of the post-festive season is getting settled on the sofa on an evening, with a bowl of carob treats on my lap whilst immersing myself in a good winter drama – there are always so many to choose from at this time of the year. That said, I don’t want to be a complete couch potato and I’m still feeling rather inspired after last year’s Strictly Come Dancing so all last week I was practicing my dance steps and I think that the jive is my dance – after all I am the master of the bouncy bouncy jump!
In between my dance practice I did take time out for a jolly jaunt to the village of Farndon to review a wonderful and somewhat unique detached family home, Ash Paddock. When dad and I arrived at our destination, I stepped down from the car and felt the cheerful crunch of gravel beneath my feet whilst simultaneously tilting my head to gaze up at the rather magnificent house in front of me. Ash Paddock is a modern house whose façade is beautifully reminiscent of an elegant Georgian house with a centrally placed front door, Georgian style windows and a symmetry which I knew would thoroughly appeal to my dad’s sense of order. I cast a glance at him and, sure enough, I saw a look of serene satisfaction on his face.
From first impressions Ash Paddock looked to be a property full of promise and I could not wait to start my explorations so, with a spurt of energy, I set off towards it at a sprint. Through the open front door I hurtled and came skidding to an eventual halt on a tiled floor within a beautiful entrance hall. I could see that this opened into a larger area of hall and what looked like a dining area beyond. I popped my head through a door on my right and found a charming reading room. Nodding with silent approval, I took a few steps further forwards in the hallway passing a bookcase on my left that, I have to confess, I barely noticed but I did see dad throw me a wry smile as I passed – so wry that it made me stop in my tracks. Looking pleased as punch dad pulled the bookcase open and it was actually a secret door – Oh My Goodness, I felt like I had been transported into a Harry Potter movie – abracadabra and magically another room appears. With a shiver of excitement, I stepped through the secret doorway and found myself in a study. I simply could not believe my eyes and with a few whines of uncontrollable enthusiasm I set off to explore the other delights, hidden or otherwise, that Ash Paddock might have on offer.
Following my nose further along the hallway I saw, to my right, the most extraordinary staircase I have ever seen in my life. This wrought iron work of art looked like some sort of enchanted tree that literally grew out of the floor and wound elegantly upwards. As I stood, mesmerised, I started to wonder if I was indeed in Griffindor or Hufflepuff’s common rooms – As I glanced around I almost expected to see the pictures on the walls moving, with their inhabitants talking to me and telling me to take the dumbfounded look off my face!
With some difficulty I forced my gaze away from the staircase and focused my attention on the dining area in front of me. The marble floor of the hallway continued into the dining room and that, together with the amazing three panel bifolding doors that opened onto the garden gave a delicious Mediterranean feel to the space. That said my paws felt beautifully warm so I knew that I was in the presence of one of my most favourite things in the world – underfloor heating – honestly nothing is better for a rather pampered pooch than being able to lay down wherever you fancy on a nice warm floor! Turning to my left a set of steps led me down into the open plan living area. With two sets of bifolding doors this was a really show-stopping space and made me yearn for summer and those long evenings full of birdsong and gentle breezes. However, my heart was warmed (as were my toes) by the exposed brick fireplace with inset log burner that was currently aglow with deliciously burning embers. Arh, I thought to myself, winter is not so bad after all!
With some difficulty I dragged myself away from the warm glow of the fire and set off in search of the kitchen. As I had come to expect at Ash Paddock, I found a perfect space full of light and charm. Beautifully styled with contemporary country style units and a centre island, it was a room to entice and welcome you, not least because it opened into a stunning orangerie which was also blessed with bifolding doors – the perfect setting for a lazy summer’s breakfast.
My next stop was the first floor and I shivered with delight at the thought of ascending that spectacular staircase. I took myself back into the hallway, gazed adoringly upwards and started my assent. With every step I felt like I was stepping further and further into Hogwarts! At the top of the stairs I found myself on a spacious galleried landing. Hardly knowing where to start I tossed an imaginary coin (well, we were in a magical house) and tails meant I turned right! I drifted past a rather fantastic piece of art on the wall and in my peripheral vision I saw dad smirk. Ah ha, I thought, all is not as it seems here so I turned about tail and kept my nose studiously to the floor. My diligence paid off as I detected a slight breeze under the “artwork” – surely not, I thought, but yes indeed, I had found another secret door and, as it swung open, I gasped in delight at the sight of a beautiful bathroom hidden beyond it.
Shaking my head in bemused disbelief I wondered what else I might find at Ash Paddock. I didn’t need to wait too long, the next doorway I stepped through led me into a suite of rooms, a stunning bedroom, a dressing room and an en suite bathroom. But, without doubt, the piece de resistance was a magnificent balcony that the bedroom opened on to – oh my, I am not sure I would ever be able to leave this house!
Exploring the rest of the first floor I found a further three bedrooms, two of which had en suite shower rooms. I also spied another set of stairs which led me up to a second floor where I was delighted to find another secret door hiding a fifth bedroom or TV room – what a fabulous place to hide away on a rainy Sunday afternoon to watch your favourite box sets! Having experienced the full delights of the house, I made my way slowly back to the ground floor, expecting to find Dumbledore, Hermione or even He who Cant be Named at every turn!
All that remained now was to explore the outside space. At the front of the house I found a lawned garden and a handy double garage, trotting round to the back of the house I discovered a large lawned garden with two terrace areas but, would you believe it, I also found another of my favourite things in the world, a walled garden – I held my breath as I stepped into its serene calmness and was charmed to find a sunken seating area as well as a pond – areas designed to soothe and relax you – I sat cross-pawed by the pond and engaged in a spot of mindfulness.
Before I knew it, my eyelids felt heavy and I drifted off into the land of make believe where wizards and their faithful pugs lived in a magnificent house, with secret doors and walled gardens and an enchanted staircase…. And when I woke up I was magically back in the office!
If you are as enchanted by Ash Paddock as I was please do not hesitate to contact myself or one of the team on 01244 322322 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a viewing.
Until next time
Love Ralph X