A brisk walk in fresh country air sounds idyllic amid lockdown restrictions and tier-talk. Little wonder that UK property website Rightmove has reported that searches for houses in small towns and villages have tripled as city dwellers look to relocate to the countryside.
The Old School in Lewes, East Sussex
The South Downs National Park is the picturesque backdrop for this converted schoolhouse in Lewes. Built in the 1870s, the Victorian home has been refurbished while maintaining its original sense of space and light, putting a different spin on ‘cosiness’.
Painted trusses, original plank flooring and slate tiles form the raw material palette of the three-bedroom home, which is mostly set across a single level and surrounded by an acre of gardens.
The main space is the triple-height school hall, complete with exposed eaves, while the conservatory at the rear is an artist studio.
The Cottage & Waifs House in Belbroughton, Worcestershire
£1.06m via Fine & Country
Sitting at the foot of the Clent Hills in Worcestershire Waifs House and Cottage is a Georgian property in the leafy village of Belbroughton. The main six-bedroom building was once a home for ‘waifs and strays’ – young girls and women in need of refuge – but has also been a doctor’s surgery and a draper’s shop.
Built in 1790, the house has a handsome redbrick exterior that leads into a grand period entrance hall. Many original features, including ‘treacle tone’ panelling, an oak staircase, stone floors and oak floorboards all remain, and it boasts five reception rooms of varying styles.
Meanwhile, The Cottage is a self-contained ground floor apartment that can be used as guest accommodation and is currently let out as a rental property.
Garden Rose Cottage in Warwickshire
£790,000 via Mr & Mrs Clarke
The pretty Garden Rose Cottage sits in the country hamlet of Mousley End, close to Warwick and Leamington, and dates back to the 16th century. Initially a pair of cottages, the chocolate-box home has an open-plan downstairs level, crossed by rustic timber beams, that opens onto gardens designed by an RHS designer of the year.
The countryside home has been modernised while staying true to its historic roots, with low-ceilings, a woodburning stove, wooden doors and three bedrooms. Interiors are serene, neutral shades which avid readers of Country Living and Country Life may recognise.
Outside are two large lawns, a mature orchard, kitchen garden, courtyard and sun terrace, and a chicken coop (the chickens are sadly not included).
Garden Rose Cottage is surrounded by sweeping countryside views of lush fields and wooden copses, briar hedges and winding country lanes.
Dry Leys in Frilford, Oxfordshire
£1.6m via The Modern House
The 1930s ushered in a new wave of British art deco architecture in the English countryside, and Dry Leys, 10 miles outside of Oxford in the village of Frilford, is a striking example of this.
The five-bedroom Oxfordshire property has a Stamford brick facade punctuated by original Crittal windows peeking onto seven acres of gardens (including two paddocks for horses). Inside, rooms have warm wood panelling, oak-strip sprung flooring and stone fireplaces that are all original and create a rich palette for living in.
Other hallmarks of the 1930s inside the 3,880 sq ft countryside home include a secondary staircase and quarters for the housekeeper, Butler’s pantry, and a sweeping oak staircase in the entrance.
The Pool in Snodhill, Hereford
£579,000 via Fine & Country
Stone walls and rustic timber beams feature in every room of this converted barn, though dated carpeting and kitchen cabinetry point to the two-bedroom Snodhill property being more of a renovation challenge than a turn-key home.
Luckily there’s plenty to inspire the two-storey property’s new owners. It comes with five acres of land, a detached double garage – which could be turned into a work-from-home office or studio by its new owners – and a rear sunroom with quarry stone floors, overlooking the fields.