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Derelict cottage overlooking Watership Down could be yours for £600,000

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A derelict country cottage overlooking Watership Down is up for sale for £600,000 – despite fears the roof could cave in.

The 400-year-old retreat, which comes with its own garden full of rabbits, is ‘not for the faint-hearted’ and is too dangerous to enter because the stairs may collapse.

Elizabeth Cottage, at Crookham Common, near Newbury, Berkshire, has been empty for over a decade but will go on the market tomorrow for fans of Richard Adams’ 1972 novel and could be worth £1.2million when it is done up.

As well as rabbits down the ‘jungle’ garden, there are also mice, rats, deer, badgers and foxes overlooking Watership Down, which can be seen around four miles away in neighbouring Hampshire.

A derelict country cottage overlooking Watership Down is up for sale for £600,000 - despite fears the roof could cave in

A derelict country cottage overlooking Watership Down is up for sale for £600,000 – despite fears the roof could cave in

The 400-year-old retreat, which comes with its own garden full of rabbits, is 'not for the faint-hearted' and is too dangerous to enter because the stairs may collapse

The 400-year-old retreat, which comes with its own garden full of rabbits, is ‘not for the faint-hearted’ and is too dangerous to enter because the stairs may collapse

Elizabeth Cottage, at Crookham Common, near Newbury, Berkshire, has been uninhabited for more than a decade but will go on the market tomorrow for fans of Richard Adams' 1972 novel

Elizabeth Cottage, at Crookham Common, near Newbury, Berkshire, has been uninhabited for more than a decade but will go on the market tomorrow for fans of Richard Adams’ 1972 novel

Adam Hinchliffe, from Brighton-based Auction House Sussex, said anyone brave enough to take on the cottage and restore it would end up with a dream home.

The house has four bedrooms, its original 400-year-old timber beams as well as fireplaces and being set in stunning countryside. There is a one bedroom annex and 1.5 acres of land, much of which is overgrown.

It is also still close to the M4 and main train line into Paddington station in London, meaning commuters should not be put off.

Mr Hinchliffe said: ‘Properties like this rarely come on to the market. This is in an exquisite location backing on to Crookham Common.

‘There is a certain magic attached to the idea about doing up a wreck like this, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. This property needs total renovation and will be a stunning property when it’s been completed.’

He added: ‘It’s one of the last chances before Christmas to buy a house in 2021. There has been plenty of interest in Elizabeth Cottage with potential buyers downloading legal packs from our website, so it’ll be interesting to see who is really up for such a wonderful project.’

Auctioneer Adam Hinchliffe, from Brighton-based Auction House Sussex, said anyone brave enough to take on the cottage and restore it would end up with a dream home

Auctioneer Adam Hinchliffe, from Brighton-based Auction House Sussex, said anyone brave enough to take on the cottage and restore it would end up with a dream home

The home has four bedrooms, its original 400-year-old timber beams as well as fireplaces and being set in stunning countryside. There is a one bedroom annex and 1.5 acres of land, much of which is overgrown

The home has four bedrooms, its original 400-year-old timber beams as well as fireplaces and being set in stunning countryside. There is a one bedroom annex and 1.5 acres of land, much of which is overgrown

A description of the house online reads: ‘An unusual opportunity to acquire a detached four bedroom property on good size plot in a rural setting, requiring complete refurbishment.

‘The property is in poor repair and looks to have been derelict for many years. Elizabeth Cottage and land sits on a plot approximately 1.5 acres, with access to Crookham Common to the rear.’

It continues: ‘The main house comprises three reception rooms, kitchen/breakfast room and utility room on the ground floor.

‘First Floor there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. To the rear of the property there is a one bedroom annexe and outbuildings.

‘The property has development potential, the adjacent plot Elizabeth Farm obtained planning permission for three detached houses in 2012.’

It adds: ‘THERE WILL BE NO INTERNAL VIEWINGS POSSIBLE TO THE BUILDINGS DUE TO ITS POOR CONDITION. INTERESTED PARTIES ARE WARNED NOT TO ENTER.’

It is also still close to the M4 and main train line into Paddington station in London, meaning commuters should not be put off

It is also still close to the M4 and main train line into Paddington station in London, meaning commuters should not be put off

Watership Down was made famous by Adams’ novel about about a family of rabbits, which was turned into a hit Hollywood film. Pictured: The movie

Watership Down was made famous by Adams’ novel about about a family of rabbits, which was turned into a hit Hollywood film.

The cottage overlooks the country mansion of Phantom of the Opera composer Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber at Sydmonton, five miles from Crookham Common.

It is also a mile away from Greenham Common, a disused wartime airfield which was the focus for the peace protest in the 1980s.

Here hundreds of female anti-nuclear campaigners chained themselves to fences surrounding the base, including stretches of Crookham Common, and forced the US to withdraw cruise missiles from British soil.

Brighton-based Auction House Sussex will sell the cottage at a livestreamed auction on Tuesday.

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British Land unveils London Exchange Square scheme (GB)

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British Land reveals the opening of its new 1.5-acre Exchange Square located at Broadgate in the City of London. Designed by architects DSDHA, the park quadruples the amount of green space at Broadgate and creates a new outdoor space for workers and the wider community to enjoy in the capital. Exchange Square is now open to the public and includes 420m² of lawned areas, an exciting mix of planting and trees within its gardens, an amphitheatre with plenty of seating, and new retail and event space.

 

It aims to blend nature with the energy of London and promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of people who live and work in the local area. As spring approaches, the park will become a haven for workers looking to enjoy high-quality outdoor spaces when working from the office, and for the local community to enjoy a range of plants and biodiversity. The park’s range of planting is maintained by Exchange Square’s Head Gardener and is expected to be a popular choice for workers looking to make the most of premium outdoor space.

 

Health and wellbeing form a vital part of the €1.8bn (£1.5bn) investment in Broadgate to create an environment that brings people together to work, shop, drink and dine. Research commissioned by British Land shows that putting good design at the heart of urban development could lead to substantial improvement in peoples’ mental health, which would result in substantial economic rewards.

 

David Lockyer, Head of Campuses, British Land said: “As we start the New Year, Exchange Square aims to create an accessible, sustainable and better-quality place for workers and residents in the community in 2022 and beyond. Broadgate has undergone a significant transformation as a mixed-use destination that appeals to everyone. We hope that by creating a new outdoor area filled with green space, it allows visitors to find a tranquil place within a busy capital.”

 

Matthew Webster, Head of Environmental, British Land, said: “Exchange Square is a brilliant addition to London’s green spaces, and has a unique position within the City of London. Creating opportunities for people to encounter nature as part of their daily lives boosts wellbeing and productivity. This new, green space has been designed to enhance both physical and mental health in a variety of ways – through providing an area for tranquillity, opportunities for social interaction or through encouraging and making it easy for people to visit and move through the space.”

 

Deborah Saunt, Founding Director of DSDHA, said: “With Exchange Square, we are delighted to see the culmination of our Public Realm Framework for Broadgate, which has already enhanced and better connected the open spaces of Broadgate Circle, Broadgate Plaza and Finsbury Avenue Square. Our ambition for this new park was to create a landscape that nurtures both plants and people through retrofitting nature into the heart of the City, breaking down perceived barriers to the surrounding areas, and offering a space that provides opportunities for both recuperation and recreation.”

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Paint colour of 2022 is a deep purple called Very Peri

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Purple may not have graced our homes much since the psychedelic era of the 1970s, but all is set to change this year.

That is, at least, if we decide to follow Pantone’s recommendation. The world’s leading colour trend forecaster has controversially selected Very Peri, a shade inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower, as the colour of 2022.

It may seem like an odd choice when we’re still embracing muted tones and understated interiors. 

But Pantone’s annual colour choices wield huge influence with fabric and paint manufacturers and also among interior designers keen to deliver the latest looks.

Love it or loathe it: Pantone¿s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Love it or loathe it: Pantone’s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Pantone says Very Peri embodies ‘carefree confidence and a daring curiosity’. Such assertions are another reason why some interior designers will not be recommending Very Peri. 

One remarked: ‘None of my clients would want purple in their homes, especially in the corner that they’ve set aside for their desk.’

Others are more positive, praising its effectiveness in almost any space.

Andrew Dunning, of London Contemporary, says that it represents a further move away from the Elephant’s Breath, the mid-grey Farrow & Ball paint that held sway in interiors in the early years of this century.

As a champion of the deft use of patterned wallpapers and brighter colours, Dunning considers Very Peri to be warm rather than chilly, particularly if furnishing fabric companies produce a lush velvet in the shade.

‘People have been scared of colour, but I think Very Peri could work well in a ‘wow’ piece like an accent armchair upholstered in the shade,’ he says. ‘It’s also an option for a cloakroom, a smaller place in the home in which you can be more audacious.’

Beth Travers, of Bobo1325, a Manchester design business, also argues that we should lower our resistance to the colour purple. 

Its historic links with royalty endow the colour with ‘luxury, power and nobility’. Since Very Peri is a blue tone of purple, Travers believes it can be ‘relaxing and soothing’.

Paula Taylor, of Graham & Brown, the paint company whose range includes the purple-blue Tanzanite, also thinks going bold could bring decor dividends.

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

‘Our Tanzanite used in a hallway would make visitors feel reassured and joyful. In a living room, it would be crisp but comforting, especially when teamed with one of our soft-whites, such as Baked Cheesecake, for a more timeless effect.’

The warm reception to Very Peri — in some quarters at least — could indicate that the shade will become an important part of the rise of blues and greens, a movement that began this year.

Simone Suss, of Studio Suss, a London design business, says this is connected to the wish to bring nature into our homes.

Such is the growing demand to introduce more elements of the great outdoors in the interior that more housebuilders will be prioritising ‘biophilic’ elements in their developments next year.

‘I am always inspired by the natural world,’ says Suss. ‘ I think biophilic design will be key in 2022.’ 

The other shades vying for supremacy in 2022 include Dulux’s selection Bright Skies, an airy blue that aims to inspire hope. Dulux recommends several palettes to accompany Bright Skies such as Greenhouse.

This array of blues and greens encompasses Fresh Foliage and Calming Meadow.

Breakfast Room Green, a cheery tone ideal for kitchens, and Stone Blue, a light indigo, are among the five shades that Farrow & Ball is tipping as the colours of 2022. 

The company is also backing the elegant School House White, along with Incarnadine, a dramatic crimson, and Babouche, a sunny yellow.

F&B senses people are ready to step outside their comfort zone which could augur well for Very Peri. 

But, in the short term, this shade seems less likely to suddenly explode than to be seen in small touches, such as Dark Flowers, a £23.95 poster print featuring sultry purple blooms from Desenio and purple cushions, such as the £25 cotton velvet cushion from Cotswold Company.

Loaf’s Joelle £2,345 19th-century style bed is available with a purple headboard for those who aspire to a more formal, almost regal setting after the pared-down aesthetic of the past two decades. But experimenting with Very Peri does not necessarily mean a break with the past.

It can look smart with any shade of beige or grey. Going with purple requires confidence. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for Very Peri over the next 12 months.

Savings of the week! Draught excluders 

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

The draught excluder, a long sausage-shaped pillow placed at the foot of a door, is a low-tech, planet-friendly means of staying cosy indoors.

This utilitarian item seems to inspire creativity among designers meaning that you can have warmth, plus aesthetic appeal. 

Low-cost options include the Kaia from The Range in charcoal, reduced from £11.99 to £10.99 and the Plush Bear in mustard at £5.59, down from £6.99. 

Not On The High Street’s cheery blue and red plaid version, pictured left, is reduced from £22 to £11.

The Snap Croc from Dora, a mid-price option, is down from £32 to £9.60. 

It resembles a crocodile whose aggression focuses on warding off chills. Wayfair’s Emmett excluder, with its prints of bees and ladybirds, reduced from £28.99 to £26.99 would lift any decor.

If you want to splash out, William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes. The widest (99cm) is £40.80, from £48.

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How to build your own garden room

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THINKING OF BUILDING A garden shed? Here’s Some expert advice on WHERE to FIND PLANS, HOW to SOURCE MATERIALS AND WHEN to CALL FOR HELP

Back gardens have seen a lot of action over the last two years as many of us got stuck into projects to improve our exterior surroundings. One of those key jobs was often upgrading the humble garden shed to a status symbol of sorts, as a place to escape the confines of the house and as a way of demonstrating DIY prowess.

With a raft of digital tools now available to even the most novice DIYer, access to the information required to construct building projects is just a click away.

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