Looking beyond decoration to really see a house is probably the most important skill for a housebuyer — and Drayton Manor in Somerset shows just how much it can matter.
Every house buyer knows that the décor of the homes they go to view is irrelevant. No matter how wacky the carpets, how startling the wallpaper or how heart-shaped the bathtub, it can all be replaced with relative ease.
That’s the theory, at least. The reality is often quite different. Take my wife, for example. When we were househunting some years ago, she rejected house after house purely on the basis of hideous 1970s curtains, outlandish gothic mirrors, and rooms painted in colours so bizarre that they could only be explained away by either extreme colour blindness or a lost bet.
Often, it’s not even that what has been done is bad, per se: merely that strong tastes, boldly expressed can be hard to see past, and instantly put you in the realm of love/hate.
All this sprang to mind this week when looking at the details of Drayton Manor, an utterly delightful house in Somerset which is for sale via Knight Frank at £2.395m. It’s a beautiful, Grade II-listed home with huge amounts of space, delightful gardens, and immaculately refurbished in a style which… well, a style which is, as mentioned above, strong and boldly expressed.
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There are plentiful 1960s and 1970s influence on display, with Pop Art hung on the walls, patterned rugs, bright orange and red sofas and chairs, and 3D wallpaper in many of the rooms.
Yet the windows, fireplaces and doors are classic Georgian country house; the underlying colour scheme of white and grey is entirely contemporary.
Obviously, you’ll either love it or hate it — but either reaction is besides the point for a house buyer. Focus on the rooms — from the grand dining room, pretty study and light-filled sitting room to the four large bedroom suites upstairs — and you’ll see a house with huge amounts of space and flexibility.
The grounds, too, have plenty to offer, with the seven acres holding lawns, paddocks, woodland, a double garage, a garden building that’s used as a home office-slash-gym, a small arboretum, tulip garden, and two further cottages.
Everything you could hope to find in a country house, in other words, in a rural location not far from Glastonbury, Taunton and Yeovil, with their attractions and decent road and rail links to Bristol, Exeter and London.
For all that, the contrast between the house’s classic Georgian looks and its striking interiors will always be the conversation started for looking at a house like this. The agents Knight Frank clearly know this, stating (in block capitals) in their details: ‘IMAGES TAKEN WHEN PREVIOUSLY FURNISHED’ — in other words, whether you love it or hate it, it’ll already be changed by the time you get here.
This Georgian house will make a wonderful family home, either for someone who loves what they see just as it is, or someone who doesn’t but can look beyond what’s currently in place.
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