Architect Barbara Weiss likes to do things a little differently. Indeed, the last time we caught up with her was at her upside-down house: a converted pub in Westminster, central London, where she lives on the secluded top floors and sleeps on the lower floors (yes, it’s as brilliant as it sounds). This time, she’s giving us a tour of her latest self-designed home, which she’s aptly titled the inside-out house.
Ardhuncart Estate has been owned since 1952 by Col Harold Phillips, who bought the estate that straddles the River Don in the foothills of the Grampians as a summer retreat for his wife, Georgina (later Lady Kennard), and their five children.
For the Phillips family, Ardhuncart was a much-loved holiday home, where they fished for salmon and sea trout, shot grouse on the Ardhuncart moor, played tennis and hosted parties at Ardhuncart Lodge, a manageable, 5,400sq ft, nine-bedroom country house built in the Arts-and-Crafts style in 1901.
Damian Barr explores Sir Walter Scott’s impressive home, Abbotsford, which is full of a fascinating mix of items owned by the famed Scottish novelist, poet, playwright, and historian.
Abbotsford House was built by Sir Walter Scott as his grand home in the Scottish Borders. The property, set on the banks of the River Tweed, was bought in 1811 and then modified to the tastes of Sir Walter Scott. The writer died here in 1832, and the house was opened to the public just five months after his death.
The rooms that you visit today have been left virtually untouched since his death and a visit to Abbotsford House gives you an intimate insight into the personality and interests of this great man. Some of the most interesting aspects of the house are the personal collections of Sir Walter Scott which include unusual items such as the weapons of Rob Roy, the case book of Napoleon, and even a bullet and piece of oatcake taken from the site of Culloden Battlefield.
Visitors can see Sir Walter Scott’s Study, Library, Drawing Room, Entrance Hall, small Armoury, and the Dining Room where he died on 21st September 1832. The dining room contains paintings of several generations of the Scott family. Unfortunately, the last of his bloodline died in 2004 and the care of the house has now been taken over by the Abbotsford Trust.
Twelve glorious acres of manicured grounds surround partly Elizabethan Flete House, former seat of the Mildmay family, which overlooks Ermington and Dartmoor, enjoying ‘probably the finest situation in Devonshire’ according to Cornish poet and historian Richard Polwhele (1797).
At Holbeton in the South Hams, not far from Georgian Modbury, it was used as a maternity hospital in the Second World War and has now been converted into 29 apartments, retaining the principal rooms (library, dining, drawing and billiard rooms and others) for communal use, exclusively for over 55s.
Rymans Manor House in Appledram, West Sussex, a picturesque coastal area three miles south-west of Chichester, is bounded to the west by the main channel of Chichester Harbour, to the north by the River Lavant and to the south by a stream that runs into the harbour below Birdham Mill.
It is described by Pevsner as ‘a delightful small 15th-century manor house’, which takes its name from William Ryman, a prominent merchant and lawyer who was knighted in 1420 and appointed Sheriff of Sussex in 1434. He built the house of stone from the Bembridge and Ventnor quarries in about 1410.
This oldest part of the T-shaped house, which remains largely unaltered, comprises a three-storey stone tower with trefoil windows and a south wing of two storeys under a tiled roof.
The word ‘idyllic’ doesn’t seem quite enough for some properties — and the Old Watermill in Clophill, Bedfordshire, with water rights over the River Flit and waterfalls in the garden, is a prime example of just how magical a house can be.
The stunning property is thought to date from the 18th century, with many of the bricks transcribed with the date 1725. However, as expected, the bricks are just the beginning of the many period features retained in this property.
Within the house is ‘an undershot wheel which drove three pairs of stones, grinding both wheat for flour and grain for animal feed’. Although, perhaps the most obvious feature are the exposed ceiling timbers, which run throughout every room, and juxtapose effortlessly with the exposed red brick work.
Faced with the challenges of building on an island, a New York–based family embraces the benefits of prefab design with a custom Axiom timber home.
A traditional country property with about 20 acres of grounds, St Peter’s House is ideal for a buyer looking for a private retreat.
The interiors are full of charming features, including original panelling, moulded ceilings, stained glass and working fireplaces. The main residence has a striking reception hall with minstrel gallery, five elegant reception reception rooms, five main bedrooms and four secondary ones.
Writing in Country Life in 1997, the magazine’s then-Architectural Editor the late Giles Worsley referred to stately Grade I-listed Trafalgar Park, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, as ‘the Flying Dutchman of the property world, endlessly seeking an owner and being sold on while the fabric slowly decayed’.
The fine country house built by John James of Greenwich in 1733 for City grandee Sir Peter Vandeput was nevertheless described as ‘an estate agent’s dream, a house that always seemed to come back on the market’.