Ralph reviews a detached Georgian house in Hargrave
Last week saw the great British summertime establish itself in the time-honoured fashion of predictable unpredictability! I have been donning my raincoat and stripping it off again more times than I care to mention. It was on one such changeable day, when all four seasons played their part, that I set off to review a beautiful period property in Hargrave. One of my favourite parts of Cheshire, I always think that Hargrave offers the best of both worlds – a tranquil semi-rural location yet with easy access to Chester as well as the motorway networks, perfect for a busy pug.
When we arrived in Hargrave we turned off the road onto a sweeping gravel driveway and as the tyres crunched pleasingly over the stones I gasped in delight at the sight in front of me – a white painted Georgian house with a stuccoed entrance complete with an exquisite wrought-iron balcony above it. Without so much as setting paw outside the car I already knew that this was a veritable gem of a property.
As I leapt down from the car I was vaguely aware of being surrounded by stunning grounds but there would be time enough to explore outside, for now, the lure of this majestic but oh so welcoming Georgian house beckoned. Once safely ensconced inside in the entrance hall I paused and took a moment to soak in my surroundings. There was truly so much to admire that I scarcely knew where to look first – beneath my feet was a beautiful block wooden floor and in front of me swept a stunning period staircase befitting of such a distinguished home.
To my left my attention was caught by an ornate door surround and stepping over the threshold I found myself in an elegant drawing room. Period features abounded wherever I looked and I was beginning to feel like quite the country gent’s lapdog – a life to which I would be perfectly suited! I was especially drawn to the open fire with a marble surround, to be honest, despite it being July I would have welcomed curling up in front of a hearty fire for a quick snooze – perhaps on a suitably regal red velvet cushion…
Beyond the drawing room I spied another room and trotted merrily across the wooden floor to investigate. Here I found a garden room which, being south-facing, flooded with sunshine as soon as the sun was able to break through the clouds.
I would like to commandeer this room as my “R and R” space – well a pug needs some well-earned rest after working so hard all day selling houses! My next stop was the dining room which I have to say was very “Remains of the Day”. With plenty of space for a very large dining table (quite large enough to seat all my friends from doggy daycare), another open fire with marble surround, wooden floors and a large period style window I almost expected to turn round and see Anthony Hopkins ready to serve me a drink!
With a little growl of laughter at my own fanciful imagination I continued making my way through the ground floor of Hargrave Hall. To my delight the kitchen was large, welcoming and had a distinctly farmhouse feel – I especially coveted the rayburn range cooker as I have it on good authority that they bake “pug cookies” (otherwise known as scones) to perfection!
Before heading to the upper floors I also found a playroom, boot room, cloakroom and utility, as well as stairs down to the cellar.
I discovered that the accommodation at Hargrave Hall was just as plentiful on the first and second floors. Having bounded up that elegantly sweeping staircase to the first floor I found a study and a library area – being an incredibly well-read pug this would be put to good use to display all my books on ball throwing, ball catching, ball chasing, ball snatching, spectacular tumbles whilst catching balls, death-defying tricks whilst chasing balls etc… Despite the wide cross-section of literature I own I am sure there would be plenty enough space to house even my extensive collection of books. I also found a family bathroom and two large bedrooms on this floor, one with a dressing room and the other with an en suite shower room. Both of them also boasted ornate period style fireplaces – I could almost feel myself transported back to the 19th century when it is thought the property was built. I could imagine coming in from the cold and rain and heading up to one of these bedrooms to warm up in front of a fully stoked fire cheerfully dancing in the grate!
The piece de resistance for me was seeing, on the landing, the doors that open on to the balcony I had noticed when I arrived at Hargrave Hall. What a vantage spot to keep a look out for delivery men – I would be able to spot them a mile off and what a volley of barks I could send up then, fabulous!
Onwards and upwards I went to the second floor where I found two further bedrooms and a bathroom – the perfect place to hide away one’s teenage pups…
Now, I am an astute kind of a pug and it had not escaped my attention that the first and second floor rooms I had just explored did not fully cover the footprint of the ground floor. Ah ha, I love a good mystery and with my nose to the floor, keen not to miss any clues, I set off in search of the missing rooms! By following my finely tuned senses I found myself back in the kitchen and there I noticed a door which leads into a rear entrance hall which, in turn, houses a staircase. Upwards I bounded, stopping briefly on the first floor to pop my head into a games room – how fabulous, I could turn this into a doggy dance studio – I have always fancied learning the “Gangnam style”. However, there was no time to pursue this line of thought further, my nose told me that more treasures awaited on the second floor and sure enough there I found a completely self-contained annexe apartment with a kitchen, sitting room, two bedrooms and a bathroom – the mystery of the missing rooms was solved!
Feeling very pleased with my investigative prowess I returned to the ground floor and headed out into the grounds of Hargrave Hall, and what grounds they are! To the side and rear of the house is a vast parking area, I also noticed a double garage and outbuildings including loose boxes. I then had to set off at a steady run to circumnavigate the rest of the grounds which include a beautifully established garden, paddocks and no less that 3 ponds (business opportunities abound for open water doggie swimming). In total the grounds stretch to around six and a half acres and a run round the perimeter certainly counted as my circuit training for the day!
Although my aching legs and pounding heart were grateful to clamber back into the car for a recuperative nap on the way back to the office, I was sad to leave Hargrave Hall. Such a magnificent period property is very rare and the next owner of this wonderful home will be very lucky indeed. If what you have read tickles your fancy, please get in touch with either myself or one of my team on 01244 322322 to arrange a viewing.
Until next time
Love Ralph X