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Enter through the WINE rack! The family home with a boozy secret door

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Enter through the WINE rack! This £820,000 family home comes with a quirky secret door – would you fit one in your house?

  • This former bungalow has been converted into a four-bedroom family home
  • The property in  Berkshire’s Thatcham is for sale for £820,000
  • The house includes a secret room accessed via a door that looks like a wine rack 

Secret doors often hide behind a book case, but for those who fancy one in their home and like a drop of good wine, this house for sale offers some inspiration. 

The £820,000 family home in Berkshire comes with a quirky feature ideal for those tempted to add a bit of mystery and who love their plonk – a bespoke wine rack door that hides an entertainment room behind it.

The smartly converted bungalow also comes with two features that are massive ticks for many buyers since the pandemic struck: a shoffice for home working and an impressive outdoor kitchen set-up to get cooking and entertaining once the 9-5 is done.

This part of the house looks only like a wine rack
But it is also a door into a hidden room

This part of the Berkshire house looks like a wine rack – but it is also a door into a hidden room

The wine rack door leads into this entertainment space that currently includes a small bar area

The wine rack door leads into this entertainment space that currently includes a small bar area

The former bungalow in Berkshire has been converted into a four-bedroom family home

The former bungalow in Berkshire has been converted into a four-bedroom family home

The property in Berkshire’s Thatcham is listed for sale with a guide price of between £810,000 to £820,000.

It has been converted from a two-bedroom bungalow to a four-bedroom house with plenty of curb appeal.

And while it has an eye-catching modern kitchen, prospective buyers may be more likely to be wowed by a secret room accessed through a hidden door that looks like nothing more than a wine rack.

This room measures 4 metres by 3.5 metres and is currently used as what is described by the estate agent as ‘a snug or cinema room with a bar’.

The surprises at the converted property continue outside with a vast fitted outdoor kitchen ideal for budding pitmasters and garden chefs, which includes a commercial sized pizza oven, hot and cold smokers, and a BBQ.

Express estate agency, which is handling the sale, described the garden as ‘perfect for outdoor get-togethers and parties’.

The outdoor kitchen is part of the remodelling of the exterior space that includes new fence panels and a new driveway.

There is also a new garden outbuilding that is currently being used as an office and gym, and benefits from oil-fired radiators and its own electric board. 

At first glance, the inside of the converted property shows no signs of the hidden room

At first glance, the inside of the converted property shows no signs of the hidden room 

The surprises at the converted property continue outside with a vast fitted outdoor kitchen that includes a commercial sized pizza oven

The surprises at the converted property continue outside with a vast fitted outdoor kitchen that includes a commercial sized pizza oven

Stepping up to cook? The outdoor kitchen also features smokers, as well as a  BBQ

Stepping up to cook? The outdoor kitchen also features smokers, as well as a  BBQ

The interior of the property has been completely renovated with new underfloor heating

The interior of the property has been completely renovated with new underfloor heating

Touch of glamour: The modern dark brown kitchen has new lighting including at floor level

Touch of glamour: The modern dark brown kitchen has new lighting including at floor level 

The benefits of a 'shoffice' - the  garden has an outbuilding that is used as an office and gym

The benefits of a ‘shoffice’ – the  garden has an outbuilding that is used as an office and gym

In its advertising literature, the estate agent said: ‘This unique property has been remodelled and redecorated throughout to a high standard, and has been converted from a two-bedroom bungalow into a four bedroom house, perfect for a family.’

As well as new carpets, the house has automatic underfloor heating in the open plan kitchen, living and dining room, the utility room and all bathrooms. 

It heats up as each room is entered, and there is automatic touch-free lighting in all of the bathrooms. 

Tom Parker, of Zoopla, said: ‘This property has a lot more than meets the eye including a secret room disguised behind a wine rack. 

‘The hidden doorway leads to a cosy snug which is currently used as a cinema and bar, making it the perfect hideaway for entertaining friends or watching a film.’ 

The property is on the market via Express estate agency with a guide price of between £810,000 to £820,000

The property is on the market via Express estate agency with a guide price of between £810,000 to £820,000

There are four bedrooms, including this one with a modern wallpaper design and bedspread

There are four bedrooms, including this one with a modern wallpaper design and bedspread

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Selling your home? Here’s how to make sure it has kerb appeal by sprucing up outside space

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As anyone who has indulged in the brutal ‘swipe left’ culture of internet dating will testify, you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression. And the same is true when trying to sell your property.

That’s why what lies at the front of your house — be it lawn, gravel or flagstones — can play a major role in making a sale.

Indeed, having a pleasing ‘shop front’ to snag potential buyers scrolling through listings or even walking past outside can offer leverage to boost the asking price, says Colby Short, CEO of estate agent comparison site getagent.co.uk.

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

Dress to impress: Colourful flower beds transform the look of a cottage in East Lothian, Scotland

‘Homes that offer a front garden carry a 4 per cent property price premium versus those without, and that equates to more than £11,000 in the current market,’ he says.

So what changes can you make to the patch in front of your house to help improve the saleability of the property?

Some alterations are simple, entry-level innovations. For example, even the smallest swatch of grass should be mown and rubbish-free. 

In fact, bins and recycling boxes are often the first thing you see in a front garden, as well as the detritus left by squirrels who have curated bits of dinner from your bags of rubbish. But it’s easy to hide bins away in a box unit.

‘If you’re trying to hide ugly bins, how about building a bin store with a planter on the top, then you can have some gorgeous outdoor succulents and flowering alpines?’ says QVC UK’s gardening expert Michael Perry. 

You can also buy wooden bin stores from outdoor furniture suppliers such as Wayfair (from £125.99).

Meanwhile, hanging baskets outside your front door help to break up a harsh brick wall, says Sean Lade, of Easy Garden Irrigation.

‘Hanging baskets are an excellent choice for adding colour and scent to your front garden and soften the front of your house. They should be installed at eye level —about 5 ft off the ground.’

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

Hanging baskets add colour and scent to a front garden and soften the front of a house

And think about replacing tired fencing or dilapidated brick walls with natural borders, such as Boxwood hedging, which will add visual interest and is also easy to prune throughout the year.

‘If you prefer a cottage garden appearance, then why not train climbing plants to create natural archways around your front door, porch or gate?’ says Deborah Cobb, product manager at builders’ merchants MKM.

‘Raised flower beds are also a clever way to add some natural foliage. If you fill them with evergreen shrubs, then they are an easy-to-look-after and low-maintenance option that will look good all year round.’

In terms of what plants to go for, Nicola Bird, founder of seed subscription service The Floral Project, suggests some annual flowers are perfect for planting at the front of your house if you’re looking to sell. 

‘They include varieties such as cosmos, phlox, zinnias and sweet peas — not only to bring a bright splash of colour to your front garden, but also serve as a great conversation starter with your potential buyers.’

Even if you don’t have a patch of grass in front of your home, there are other fundamentals which will help with the sale, says Jonathan Rolande, professional property buyer at housebuyfast.co.uk.

This includes jet-washing your path. And just before a visit from potential buyers, remove any vehicles, where possible, to help to create an impression of space.

‘Clean the windows, frames and front doors — and clean the house number,’ he says. ‘If the garden is mostly given over to parking, soften the look with pots and planters filled with bright flowers and attractive shrubs.’

 You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy

He adds that if you don’t have a lawn, terracotta planters on the front sills look great with fragrant plants such as lavender and rosemary appealing to the sense of smell, too.

If your front garden is really small, use decorative gravel such as pea shingle or slate chippings, suggests Thomas Goodman, property expert at homeowner and tradesman connection website myjobquote.co.uk.

‘This will give you an attractive, low-maintenance base for topping with a few nice plant pots.

‘Fix anything that’s broken, including gates, fences and walls. These detract from any nice planting and give the impression of a home that’s not properly maintained and is going to need work.’

Colby Short says some items in your garden should be permanently jettisoned to improve the chances of a sale.

‘You may think your garden gnomes are cute, but to a prospective buyer, they can be just plain creepy. The same goes for any large statues or display items, particularly if they are of a political, religious or risque nature.

‘When it comes to potential buyers, you want to present a blank canvas. But that doesn’t mean this canvas can’t look good and add appeal in its own right.’

On the market… with kerb appeal 

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Buckinghamshire: This four bedroom semi-detached cottage is on the edge of Denham Village. The bedrooms are spacious overlooking front and rear gardens. Struttandparker.com, 01753 481 781, £800,000

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

Suffolk: There are four bedrooms in this detached house in Old Newton. The property dates from the 16th century and has a thatched roof and mature gardens. Fineandcountry.com, 01379 646 020. £1.2m

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Elephant Park expands its retail offer (GB)

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Lendlease has announced the openings of two new spaces at Elephant Park: all-day kitchen and bar RAREBIT; and community garden store The Nunhead Gardener.

 

RAREBIT – the all-day kitchen and evening dining, bar, and grocery store – has opened its first brick-and-mortar location on Elephant Park’s casual dining hub, Sayer Street. The brand-new concept has a menu focusing on British favorites including the Welsh ‘rarebit’, and its grocery stocks a range of independent wines, craft beers, and coffee from East London coffee shop, Climpson & Sons. This selection is complemented by cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy, charcuterie from London Smoke & Cure, and produce from Natoora.

 

The Nunhead Gardener is the latest brand to move from one of Lendlease’s meanwhile units into a permanent space at Elephant Park, following the likes of Dima Beautiful, Beza Ethiopian Vegan, and bar and bottle shop The Tap In. The 900ft² unit on Sayer Street stocks a selection of indoor and outdoor plants, as well as specialty gardening tools, seeds, and seasonal scented candles.

 

Guy Thomas, Head of Place Assets at Lendlease, commented: “Both of these openings speak to our core values at Elephant Park, with a commitment to providing our local community with uses that are independent, sustainability-oriented, and unique. The arrival of RAREBIT adds a new cuisine to casual dining hub Sayer Street, and The Nunhead Gardener’s revamped permanent space has created a plant haven that we know local people will love.”

 

Mark Angell and Will Nias, Co-Founders of RAREBIT, said: “RAREBIT is about bringing a modern, fresh concept to people who want top-quality food and drink. Whether that be for grocery shopping or sit-down dining, we are so excited to be welcoming customers through our doors at Elephant Park. It is such a buzzing area, and we are proud to introduce RAREBIT to this diverse and vibrant environment.”

 

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Hotel Indigo debuts in Austria

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Hotel Indigo opened its first hotel in Austria, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt. Located a short walk from the city’s historic center, the hotel offers 158 guest rooms, a rooftop garden resembling an urban jungle, a restaurant, and a lobby bar.

 

Taking inspiration from a famed local architect, Otto Wagner, a key member of the Secessionist movement, guests will find touches of gold used throughout the fixtures in the bathrooms as well as intricate patterns, made famous by Otto, woven into the carpet design in the hallway, and the tiles behind reception. Otto’s love for gold, Art Nouveau design, and ornate patterns can also be seen at famous local buildings such as the Majolikahaus, a short walk from the hotel. From ground level, the building looks innocuous, but as guests look skywards, they will see the top floors are decorated with exquisitely sumptuous floral motifs in brightly colored porcelain and gold leaf, a hallmark of the new style.

 

Stefanie Augustin, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt, commented: “We are pleased to open our doors and accept our first guests into the first Hotel Indigo in Austria. We sit in the heart of the surrounding neighbourhood and strive to make all the locals proud, by helping to bring a bit of that external story in so guests can truly experience what Vienna has to offer.”

 

 

 

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