“The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with bold colours, playful interiors and materials both new and aged”
Set within an encircling shared courtyard, amidst around an acre of private garden, this inviting four-bedroom house on the border of rural Essex and East Hertfordshire occupies a verdant corner of Great Hallingbury, a village less than eight minutes’ drive from Bishops Stortford. Forming part of an 18th-century farmhouse, and extended in 2014, the current owners have carried out extensive renovations, artfully pairing original architectural features with lofty contemporary additions. Arranged over three floors, the house’s colourful, light-filled, modern interiors span around 2,723 sq ft. Lying adjacent is an enticing dining terrace, and, just beyond, a rear garden, as well as a double garage and parking for several cars. There is an array of outbuildings on the lawned and wooded part of the garden, where works have commenced on a substantial ancillary building, for which full planning permission was secured.
Approached via a shared drive that leads under an archway into an enclosed courtyard, this house is tucked into the north-east corner of its plot. A gabled porch shelters the principal entrance, where a pair of half-glazed doors open to a hallway. With ample space for coats and shoes, this generous space sets the scene for what unfolds beyond. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with bold colours, playful interiors and materials both new and aged.
An inner hall lies beyond; to its immediate left is the living room. Thought to have previously been a ballroom, this main reception space is bathed in a wonderful quality of natural light care of a west-facing bay window. Golden-hued timber boards extend underfoot, dado-height panelling lines the walls and a stone fireplace forms a natural focal point for sociable gatherings.
The adjoining door leads to the kitchen and dining room. Bearing hallmarks of the home’s historic origins, exposed timber studs create a gentle delineation between the two areas. There is plenty of space to congregate, eat and chat, and a handy pantry and utility room sits adjacent. Two sets of black metal-framed glazed doors lead from the kitchen and dining spaces onto a terrace, which is perfectly positioned for morning coffees and alfresco dining.
The kitchen has been entirely remodelled in recent years to accommodate the practicalities of everyday family life. The room has a generous cooking area and work surfaces, and appliances are housed neatly within lines of British Standard cabinetry. A joyful space, the room rises with the roofline and a triangular gable window pulls overhead light and frames leafy views.
The two further ground floor rooms lie beyond. Utilised by the current owners as a study and a playroom, the two spaces are separated by pocket doors, creating a wonderful flexibility of use. Both lofty, bright and spacious, each room is distinct in character. The orangery/study is mono-pitched, with an entirely glazed roof overhead, and the playroom has exposed roof ties, a skylight and a gabled window. A discretely positioned WC completes the ground floor plan.
Ascending the dog leg staircase, three bedrooms are dotted across the first floor. There is a feeling of open space throughout. Natural light streams through the many windows, framing the greenery of the surrounding courtyard and countryside views. The main bedroom has a wonderful en suite shower room, decorated in a green and white geometric pattern with Bert & May tiles. The other two bedrooms have generous runs of built-in storage. A family bathroom with a roll-top bath and separate shower sits at one end.
Laundry facilities are neatly tucked under the stairs to the second floor. A quiet retreat, the fourth double bedroom occupies part of this attic space and sits under exposed rafters, ties and purlins.
The outdoor space, split into three distinct areas, offers wonderful variety, colour and interest throughout the year and forms an integral part of the overall experience of the house.
A generous terrace sits adjacent to the kitchen and dining room, providing a terrific spot for long barbecue lunches and evening drinks. Just beyond lies a garden in which to nurture and grow flowers, vegetables and herbs. Cordoned apple trees grow heavy with fruit in summer months, and a Juliana greenhouse provides ample opportunity for homegrowing.
An expansive lawned area of almost an acre sits slightly separate. Edged with bushy foliage and hedging, this verdant escape has at its far end a large wooded area of mature trees, perfect for cookouts and building dens. Two large timber outbuildings sit centrally. With plumbing and electrical supply, these provide wonderful overflow space for parties and large gatherings. A resistance swimspa pool lies alongside, together with an outdoor shower.
Full planning permission has been secured to build a substantial ancillary building, which will accommodate a gardener’s room, a green house and large store; footing has started to be laid, validating the permission.
A wide turning circle within the shared courtyard provides parking at the front of the house. There is secondary access to the rear of the house, via a further shared driveway, where there are two dedicated parking spaces and a double garage.
A web of winding country lanes link the villages of Great Hallingbury, Little Hallingbury and Woodside Green. The centre of Bishop’s Stortford is an eight-minute drive, and is full of restaurants, cafés and independent shops, such as Humphrey’s Butchers. Le Peche Mignon is a terrific French inspired café and food store, while Peach offers great brunch options and Eat 17 is a foodie utopia. The town also has several major supermarkets.
The surrounding area boasts many wonderful restaurants and pubs. Chater’s, in Saffron Walden, is a great spot for a tasty lunch, The Fox and Hounds in Hundson is a terrific gastropub and the 16th-century country inn The Cricketers, in Clavering, has a wide range of real ales on tap. There is also a much-loved farm shop & café nearby at Sparrows End.
Locals are spoilt with a multitude of outdoor activities on their doorstep. The heart of Hatfield Forest – a 1,000-acre biological Site of Special Scientific Interest – is reached in around 30 minutes on foot from Howe Green. The café is a particularly lovely spot for a coffee, and rowing on the nearby lake is an enticing way to spend an afternoon. Glorious Epping Forest is only a 20-minute drive south.
The Henry Moore Foundation, at Perry Green, has open studios and gardens displaying the artist’s wonderful sculptures; it stretches over 70 acres of rolling fields and meadows. Cammas Farm is a fantastic family day out and provides the opportunity to pick your own fresh fruit. Mountfitchet Castle, a unique open-air immersive museum experience, allows visitors to travel back over 900 years and witness life in a medieval Motte.
The area has many educational institutions. There are several well-regarded primary and secondary schools close by and the independent options of Howe Green House and Bishop’s Stortford College are all under a 10-minute drive. Hockerill Anglo-European College in Bishop’s Stortford, Felstead School in Dunmow and Gosfield in Halstead are also very well regarded.
There is easy access to the M11 (5 minutes) with onward links to the M25, A14 and A1. Stansted Airport lies approximately three miles east. For connections to London via the underground, Epping and Walthamstow stations are 16 miles and 27 miles south respectively. Bishop’s Stortford mainline train station, seven minutes drive from the house, serves Tottenham Hale in around 24 minutes, London Liverpool Street in around 37 minutes and Cambridge in approximately 30 minutes.
Council Tax Band: G
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.