When the weather is fine – and let’s face it, UK weather can be challenging for doses of vitamin D – there is an exceptional charm to a good English lakeside that can match that of our continental cousins in every way. Take possibly the UK’s finest famous lakeside location (ignoring notable exceptions in Scotland), Bowness-on-Windermere, made famous as the Victorian and Edwardian tonic retreat of choice – possibly with a bit of help from Beatrix Potter. To be more precise, one of the largest stretches of water and ‘the’ largest of the Cumbrian lakes Windermere saw it fit for speed record attempts in the 1930’s by Sir Henry Seagrave. Nowadays the speedboat laws have calmed the water sports to a much more sedate pace of 10 knots, which no doubt the Victorian’s would approve of.
Surrounded by steep hills and cliffs Bowness was the setting for our project and is possible the most sought after of all the English lake locations. Add to that the rejuvenated and cosmopolitan Marina is a stone’s throw and that less than 20 houses have access to the lake itself, makes this one of the most sought after for its location alone. The landscaped gardens snaking down to the water edge lapping at the private jetty, calling you to open the ornate wooden boat house and come enjoy the satisfying therapy of a boat trip out on the vast felt surface.
The house itself, originally believed to have been built late in the 1800’s occupies one of only a few dozen spots that have private access to this precious lakeside edge. The views, my, those scenes. They are (almost) exclusively private landscape views that are and were the subject of many an artist grand master. To sit out on the veranda sipping a favourite beverage, in a gently swinging chair and take in that exceptional vista is about as gratifying as it gets for a UK country view involving water.
Stripping back the property, the home needed a thorough health check and thankfully most of the bare bones was in order before we could undertake a massive transformation to totally modernise the holiday home to a much more contemporary lifestyle which the owners had briefed us with. As an initial undertaking there was a full programme to retain and restore with care any original features – such as the marvellous bay window detailing, coving, wood features and archways.
The entrance was converted and now opens up to a large seating area to welcome guests in comfort or take a quiet rest in front of the fireplace. With a glamourous and eclectic mix of pieces and featuring a full wall of mirror to counter the door’s corner opening position.
It was clear that to maximise those monumental views in line with a brief that was to include entertaining, the living quarter needed to be opened up by removing one of the walls to create a larger sitting room come music room with easy access out on to the terrace. The area was visually divided for a zonal delimitation using panels.
The owners covet a glamorous look with the use of metallic fabric and materials to shimmer as well as more subtle sheers and muted tones. Layered with some deeper earthy tone and deep blue velvets creating a very layered luxurious look.
The bespoke bar area shouts out for late night entertainment with a loosely musical theme and plenty of sparkle.
The 5 bedroom property has 3 ensuite bathrooms (with 2 further well-appointed bedrooms in the upper floor). Each were completed to the needs of the owners’ offspring so that they can immediately be comfortable as a home-from-home.