Sophisticated bolt hole overlooking Bristol to Bath cycle path in Mangotsfield
HAVING bought this house before the builders had completed construction in 2006, Margaret Fortune was able to influence the design and finish – and a great job she's done too.
Evidence of her taste for clean, modern design and neutral tones is everywhere, though the proliferation of textured surfaces, both hard and soft, mean it's a comfortable home, rather than a bland and sparse space.
Husband Duncan Bright calls it a bolt hole and somewhere where he can really relax. Fortunately, he shares Margaret's taste, and the couple are now combining forces to build their dream home on a plot in the South Gloucestershire village of Pucklechurch.
Building from scratch, with the help of an architect and a planning consultant, they are half way through the project and expect to be able to move in this summer.
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This is the reason for the sale of 23 Charnhill Crescent, which is perched on a pleasant tree-covered ridge above the cycle path that leads directly into the centre of Bristol, just five miles distant.
Indeed, all the windows at the back of the property overlook this little haven for squirrels and birds, while access to the cycle path is just down the end of the road.
On an estate of much older houses, this property stands out, but it is the high quality interior that deserves most praise.
Duncan, who works for the MoD at Filton, and Margaret, who has travelled the world with her job as a financial implementation consultant, clearly have an eye for luxury, neatness and practicality.
For example, once through the solid wood front door into the hall, a wide mirror on one side slides back to reveal the utility metres. On the other side of the hall is the cloakroom.
All the sanitary ware is contemporary and white, but while the two bath/shower rooms upstairs are finished in soft shades of brown and beige, this little room has a rather more striking ambience.
It is covered in bold, dark grey wallpaper with a large, silvery flower motif.
Elsewhere, touches of drama are achieved with furniture, art and sculpture, notably in the living room, where two enormous, cream leather sofas (with equally huge cushions) are most certainly designed for extreme lounging.
On one wall hangs a stunning painting of a fox, bought from the Blue Dot gallery in Cabot Circus, while three strongly coloured portraits brighten another wall.
In a corner stands a stone-based, flower-like sculpture, with Perspex fronds. (It's "sister" sculpture takes pride of place in the garden). In another corner is a big pot containing peacock feathers and beautifully made artificial flowers – just one of the many echoes of nature that pop up around the house.
Indeed, though fairly pale, the colour scheme is quite earthy, with a range of soft greens and browns fading to beige and cream.
This feeling is accentuated by the use of textured wallpaper. Not the woodchip or flocked variety, but more like a tightly meshed fabric. It gives a warm, and expensive-looking finish in several rooms.
Following the high-quality theme, the internal doors are all oak veneer, the kitchen floor and work surfaces are rose granite, with soft-closing, solid oak cupboards, and appliances include a double electric oven with gas hob, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and washer/drier. The cooking area is open to the dining room, which is bright, thanks to a set of French doors which frame the view of the gently sloping garden.
Landscaped to Margaret's design, the garden has a pond top and bottom, connected by a meandering stone path through which water continually flows. There are lights too.
Technology plays a large part in the appeal of this house, with a remote-controlled, surround-sound music system in most rooms and under-floor heating across the ground floor. Radiators warm the three double bedrooms upstairs, the bath/shower room and the en suite shower room.
Though it's a quiet area, the decent double glazing makes indoors extremely peaceful, while a high fence around the garden makes outdoors a private space too.
At the end of the garden is a larger-than-single garage, that's got plenty of room for a car and a bike – assuming you'll be making use of the cycle path.
This is a very grown-up house and Duncan acknowledges that it may be more suited to child-less professionals or older down-sizers. He explains: "If I was a young executive looking to cycle into work in town, this house would be very appealing.
"If you look at it from the outside it isn't that special, but come inside and you realise the quality is there and that everything is up together.
"I will miss living here, but I am also really looking forward to moving into our new place."
Charnhill Crescent Mangotsfield
0117 957 3616