13 Jul At over 100 years old, Apple Ash is a joyously colourful and comfortable place.
Apple Ash – Philip Booth Esq – Homes Weekly
By Alison Stodolnic
At over 100 years old, Apple Ash is a joyously colourful and comfortable place.
A stylish and opulent home, on one of Henley’s quiet residential roads, it has been lovingly refurbished throughout by its current owners, Sandy and Colin Brooks-Johnson.
Apple Ash is their third major renovation project – having previously transformed a former museum into a hotel – and they are now planning to move to another smaller property that also needs fixing up.
“We have been here for eight years this September”, explained Mrs Brooks-Johnson. “We are thinking we should be downsizing, and we really would love another project”.
The couple carried out all the improvements and refurbishments themselves, she said: “We added a boot room, we added the orangery, and the garden was almost non-existent.
“I love a bit of vintage and I love colour, I always have done. I’m a real textiles girl, I was in the rag trade before so I have always loved fabrics and textiles and china, and nice bright colours.”
Apple Ash is semi-detached, the former wing of what used to be a large mansion house that was divided into separate dwellings some years ago, so the rooms are generously proportioned.
“It’s got space, which makes a bit of a difference,” said Mrs Brooks-Johnson. “It’s got nice high ceilings and some rooms are a really good size.
Before retiring, Mr Brooks-Johnson worked in the music business managing artists and bands. He managed Status Quo for over 18 years, as well as The Stranglers, Rod Stewart, Moot the Hoople and a whole load of other acts over the years.
He began his career as a booking agent, before moving into artist management: “I started off with Brian Epstein in the sixties, looking after people like Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers,” he explained.
“When I left Brian, I carried on being an agent for a very short while and I was booking David Bowie up for £15 a night, and Tom Jones as well.
“David Bowie was a mime act and I booked him, with a gentleman called Lindsay Kemp, into universities and colleges around the country.
“Before he became big he was trying to do that as well as being a song writer. He didn’t have a great deal of luck in the early days as a songwriter, in fact he was dreadful, and then suddenly it all became rather good and Space Oddity came up and that was it.”
Apple Ash is brimming with charm, and many of its original features such as ornate ceilings and dado rails have been carefully preserved.
The elegant entrance hall has a stylish ceramic tiled floor, and opens into a jaw-droppingly lovely drawing room with an ornate fireplace and two sets of double doors that lead out to the garden.
The dining room is next door, and beyond that is a rather handsome kitchen with a breakfast bar island, hand-painted kitchen furniture and granite work surfaces.
A dark blue two-oven Aga is set in a fireplace with pretty Delft ceramic tiles and a timber beam above.
The kitchen opens into the recently added orangery – a wide, bright, sun-soaked space with arched double doors and a limestone tiled floor with underfloor heating.
There are two en suite bedrooms on the first floor, and a family bathroom and three further bedrooms up on the second floor, two of which also have their own en suite facilities.
The master bedroom has a peaceful, private balcony overlooking the fields.
It also has a dressing room with fitted wardrobes, a wet room with Tadelakt Moroccan plaster walls and a mosaic tiled floor, and a bathroom with a freestanding roll-top bath.
The leafy landscaped garden at Apple Ash is especially lovely with a kaleidoscope of trees and shrubs and a wide terrace where you can sit outside and read, or daydream about your next project, or simply soak up the sun.
The garden also has raised flower beds, a number of useful sheds, a greenhouse and a well-nurtured and productive vegetable garden.
There is another garden and a driveway with plenty of parking space at the front of the house, behind electric gates with a secure entry-phone system.
Apple Ash is a simply fabulous house with an immense amount of character and is on the market with a guide price of £1,750,000
For more information, call Philip Booth Esq on 01491 635343.
At a glance
APPLE ASH, WOODLANDS ROAD, HENLEY
Gross internal area: 3,570 sq ft, 331 sq m
Guide price: £1,750,000
Agent: Philip Booth Esq on 01491 635343