Essex, £3.75 million
Elsenham House, Elsenham
Fine (020-8504 0977)
6 bedrooms, Clive Christian kitchen, 10 acres
A passion for France inspired Shenda and Richard Maher to decorate 13,194sq ft Elsenham House in flamboyant French style. ‘We have collected antique French furniture over the years, and have chosen French wallpaper and fabrics that we feel help best showcase it,’ says Mr Maher. ‘We love using rich fabrics and patterns in upholstery, and curtains that cascade down and pool on the floor. Our favourite room is possibly the sitting room, which has a huge fireplace and a big, retractable cinema screen that’s out of sight unless we’re using it, so its presence doesn’t distract from the traditional style of the room.’ The one room that departs from the predominant French theme is the indoor leisure complex, which has a swimming pool, spa and sauna.
Buckinghamshire, £1.595 million
Hawks Nest, Penn
Hamptons International (01494 677744)
5 bedrooms, modern kitchen, 0.25 acre
Hawks Nest is a masterpiece of contemporary style. Owners Dawn and Peter Bowrey have modernised it with one eye on entertaining and the other on the garden views. Throughout the house, the Bowreys have emphasised the simple lines of modern decor, particularly in the a sleek, open-plan kitchen and breakfast room, where bi-folding windows allow guests to flow out onto the rear terrace.
Surrey, £1 million
The Old Coach House, Dorking
Fine & Country (01372 745500)
4 bedrooms, views over the Box Hill valley, landscaped garden
The Old Coach House is a rare example of perfect balance. The period charm of this 100-year-old building blends seamlessly with the clean lines of contemporary design to create bright interiors that make the most of the amazing views over the Box Hill valley. The panorama is particularly spectacular from the kitchen, which has bi-folding glass doors across the entire back wall, as well as high, vaulted ceilings and a secret wine cellar hidden beneath the floor.
Buckinghamshire, £9 million
Fulmer Rise Manor, Fulmer
Savills (01494 731950)
8 bedrooms, 2 cottages, 8.2 acres
From the moment you step past Fulmer Rise Manor’s 13ft-high cast-iron gate onto the herringbone brick drive, everything conspires to create a sense of period grandeur. All the reception rooms are opulent, but none more so than the breakfast room, which has oak panelling to the 21ft-high coffered ceiling and stained-glass windows. However, owner John McNally’s favourite room is the bright drawing room, which required a huge renovation effort.
Buckinghamshire, £2.55 million
Burgess Wood House, Beaconsfield
Fine (01753 886177)
5 bedrooms, vaulted library, 0.33 acre
Burgess Wood House was ‘made for entertaining’, according to owner Susan Marson. The large, contemporary kitchen and the vaulted library/family room linked to it are the heart of the house, a flexible space where everyone gathers together. At the same time, the many other reception rooms allow people to spread out and enjoy peace and quiet, and one of the house’s most striking rooms is also one of its most private. The luxurious dressing room features a bespoke dressing table and wardrobes fit for royalty. ‘I asked cabinetmakers from Devon who worked for the Queen of Jordan to make me some wardrobes, and they’re just beautiful-perfect for someone with lots of dresses and shoes.’
Buckinghamshire, £2 million
Black Park Cottage, Fulmer
Fine (01753 886177)
6 bedrooms, medieval-style kitchen, 1 acre
Few interiors are as striking as those of 16th-century Black Park Cottage. Owners Noreen Cullen and Adrian Burns have decorated it in an eclectic Gothic style, with grand fireplaces and intricately carved furniture. The master en-suite, with its copper Jacuzzi tub, is a sight to behold, as is the kitchen. ‘We’ve given it a medieval flavour, with church pews for seating, as well as York stone flooring and an Aga set in an inglenook.’
Surrey, £2.45 million
Brackenwood Manor, Godalming,
Savills (01483 796800)
5 bedrooms, vaulted reception hall, 2.2 acres
Perhaps it’s because of the exposed bricks, the gabled roof or the oak frame, but Brackenwood Manor has a decidedly period feel, even though it was built recently. A vaulted reception hall gives access to a heavily beamed drawing room with a big brick fireplace. But it’s the light-filled conservatory that steals the show. Arranged as a formal dining room, it has two sets of folding doors that provide almost seamless access onto the garden and terrace.
Cheshire, £1.85 million
Fields Farm, Antrobus
Strutt & Parker (01244 354888)
6 bedrooms, farmland views, 1.16 acres
Fields Farm has much to recommend it to property buyers-it dates from the Georgian era, has easy access to Manchester and Liverpool, and affords long views across the surrounding farmland. But what makes it extra special is the magnificent kitchen, a light-filled room where all the obligatory requirements of contemporary eating-in (a large Aga, granite work surfaces, a big oak table) are set against the backdrop of original Georgian windows under a high, beamed ceiling. ‘We absolutely love the kitchen, and it’s undoubtedly the heart of our home,’ says owner Lynne Cornish.