Country houses for sale

A stunning modern conversion of a gorgeous old Hertfordshire barn, with gardens by a Chelsea gold medallist

This beautiful old barn set within gardens designed by a multiple Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist has come to the market not far north of London. James Fisher takes a look.

For those looking for a garden sanctuary in a more modern setting, the Grade II-listed Barn House in Hertfordshire might be the perfect landing spot. This house — in the village of Caldicote, not far off the A1 north of Welwyn Garden City and St Albans, is currently on the books of Savills, priced at £4.25 million.

This was a rural barn until redevelopment began, some 20 years ago. The architects responsible for the change were Brooks Murray, who created a modern home under the skin of this barn.

The property is set around a central courtyard in almost a complete square, with a topiary garden and koi pond at the centre.

Four of the seven bedrooms are in the main part of the house, with three more in the self-contained Coach House.

Sensibly, both halves have at least one ground floor bedroom to make things easier for less-mobile visitors. The bedrooms on the first floor are the pick, however, with huge windows and fine views.

Inside the house there are several open-plan areas, including the kitchen and a double-height drawing room which has a wonderful feeling of space — not surprising, considering that there’s more than 7,000 sq ft in total.

There are Scandinavian wood burners for heat, smart home gizmos installed and a fresh, modern look.

While the house itself is rather extraordinary, the gardens beyond are just as much of a draw. They were designed by seven-time Chelsea Gold Medal winner Julie Toll, and offer complete privacy for enjoying the changing seasons, as well as places for both reflection and entertaining.

Part of that entertainment is sporting: there is a tennis court, outdoor swimming pool, plus a snooker room for rainy days.

Those with a desire for less-strenuous outdoor activities will be happy to hear that this is a fine place for the green-fingered: there’s a sunken fragrance garden (we’re not even quite sure what that is, but it sounds marvellous), a parterre with ornamental box and fruit espaliers, and spaces to grow vegetables and soft fruit in an ornamental setting.

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