FOR SALE: The ancient house with a BIG secret near Norwich
PUBLISHED: 10:37 09 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:55 11 June 2018
It looks like a house built in the 1630s should - but this property in Bramerton, near Norwich, has some pretty big secrets. Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit Orchard House, for sale with Brown & Co for £925,000, to find out more.
Utter devotion. That’s the only way to describe the motivation of the owners of this magnificent house that was built in some form during the reign of Charles II.
It was undoubtedly a house for someone of status, built in expensive brick, not timber framed like one would expect, and with an inglenook fireplace that again was for its time, a real status symbol. However, like so many houses, it lost much of its character and original features over time so that when the owners purchased it in 2011, little was visible with floors covered over with carpets and fireplaces hidden, the results of 1960s and 1970s fashions.
So, the owners literally had to peel back the layers of time and actually do more than that, they had to put back some of the layers. So, all the floors came up, with the owners going down four floors in the kitchen, for example, before coming to the original. Those bricks were cleaned and replaced but what the exercise throughout the house meant was that the floors could be levelled and under floor heating added.
Where original floor bricks could be used, they were, or floors replicated so in the hall you have a flagstone floor cast from an original of the time and no two stones are the same. There was only one original mullioned oak window remaining in what is now the master bedroom and the owners had this beautifully replicated throughout the house by a local craftsman.
So they look beautiful with the black monkey tail latches, and totally in keeping, but they are in fact double glazed. The walls were dry lined and an inglenook uncovered in what is now the dining room. In the sitting room, the owners had an inglenook completely recreated using some original bricks, interestingly which are believed to have been from an original fireplace and reused once before...blackened marks were on the wrong side from the fireplace they were taken from in the house as a clue to this. The owner told the bricklayer to ‘throw away his spirit level’ on building the fireplace, though, as he didn’t want it to be too perfect.
The renovation work to this exacting standard meant 21st infrastructure could be added and hidden; with taking the house right back almost to the start again meant things could be done which would have been impossible if tackling jobs at a later stage. So, for example all wiring and pipe work could be hidden.
Outside, the owners have exercised their same desire for authenticity with the front garden planted with beautiful flowers and plants to look like a 17th century parterre garden and at the rear, extensive work was done on a massive barn and outbuilding that had been used for sack making.
The owner had always wanted a walled garden so had the roof removed of this brick building, leaving the walls, to create a beautiful area of exotic plants and the perfect gin and tonic area, where you can sit and enjoy a drink, getting the last remnant of sunshine at the end of the day. The gardens are palatial with a beautifully kept vegetable garden and, as the house name suggests, a replanted orchard with old Norfolk varieties and there is also a grass tennis court.
The house is just so beautiful inside with a kitchen, sitting room, dining room and utility and five bedrooms over two floors, which are just stunning. The master bedroom suite was my favourite as the cleverly concealed en suite boasts a fantastic copper slipper bath, a real statement piece, as well as a shower with tiles depicting a 17th century style design.
The house is a complete triumph, it stands proud for a new generation –looking like it should but offering all the features we want in the 21st century. Devotion indeed.
Orchard House is for sale with Brown & Co on 01603 629871 www.brown-co.com