Real Hampshire homes
PUBLISHED: 15:13 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:03 20 February 2013
Jill Belcher meets the owners of Old Lodge, a stunning Grade II listed property tucked quietly away in the pretty village of Titchfield
Shakespeare was in his hey day when workmen built a row of cottages not far from the Titchfield Abbey home of the Bards patron, the Earl of Southampton.
In the 19th century Sir Hugh Stanton RN amalgamated them to make one impressive home, removing the floor of a bedroom and constructing a 16-foot oriel window to create the High Room, now the magnificent drawing room of Grade II Listed Old Lodge.
Since 1998 this beautiful Tudor property, tucked away behind Titchfields High Street, has been home to Professor Peter Johnson, his wife
Dr Susanne Johnson and their children, Harvey (19) and 15-year-old Mariella.
I fell in love with it the first time I saw it, says gynaecologist Dr Johnson. When we bought it, it needed a lot of love and attention, so we lived in a caravan in the drive with our two young children for a few months. When the house was just liveable we moved in and I gave up work for a couple of years and mucked in working with the builders.
Making the grade
Initial major tasks included re-wiring, a new heating system, new kitchen, new roof lead in several places and chimney lining, and, because the property is Grade II Listed, every change had to be approved by the local authority.
The family called in builders I.W. Payne of Salisbury, who have continued to work on the house over the years.
They give you a quote and stick to it, they are the nicest people and they know all about working on Listed buildings, enthuses Dr Johnson.
She also paid tribute to painters Warwick and Son of Fareham and interior designers the Interior Trading Company of Southsea, who helped create the beautiful yet very comfortable home the family enjoys today.
Over the years improvement work has included a new garage roof, fencing, en-suite bathroom, family bathroom, roofing, the building of a heated swimming pool and patio, as well as a pool house. Recently, a York stone terrace has been re-laid on the northern side of the house while a new sandstone patio has been built on the west side.
It is a remarkably beautiful house, but even some locals have no idea that it exists in the middle of their village, because it is so well-hidden. To find it, you have to pass underneath a Tudor gateway at the end of East Street, go up the drive and then enter via the heavy oak front door so heavy it takes four big men to lift it, says Dr Johnson.
Through the entrance hall and to the right is Professor Johnsons study and a sitting room, the fireplace has the date 1601 inscribed in the timber.
To the left is the spectacular High Room, a drawing room with a definite wow factor, with its majestic oriel window in front of you and behind you a minstrels gallery.
There are also two heavy doors out to the rear of the property (which was in fact once the front) and thats not the only surprise hidden in this room. By the fireplace which has a wood-burning stove there is
a door. We kept this intact because we thought it was part of the history of the house, says Dr Johnson as she shows me the inside of the door covered with hundreds of labels from drinks and cigarettes of the past. The previous owners used it as a bar and we have a little fridge in here, so its very useful for parties and entertaining.
Double doors lead to the gorgeous dining room, with its intricately-carved panelling and open fire. Close by is access to the vaulted cellar which runs below the ground floor of Old Lodge.
Theres a downstairs cloakroom, boiler room, walk-in larder with exposed brickwork, beams and meat hooks in the ceiling, laundry room and freezer room.
The spacious kitchen, with its hand-made units, leads to the breakfast room and doors out onto a sheltered part of the York stone terrace around the house.
In the summer we have a big table and chairs out here and it becomes an extension to the kitchen.
Upstairs, Old Lodge has a total of six bedrooms over two floors. The master bedroom, with a gorgeous view of the garden, has an en-suite shower room. Harveys bedroom with plenty of room for his drum kit includes a dressing room and an interesting small cupboard beside the chimney.
We think this was a salt cupboard, situated there to keep the salt dry, says Dr Johnson. On the same floor is her study, Mariellas bedroom and the family bathroom.
Up another flight of stairs is the guest bedroom, which has exposed beams, and a door to a storage area, which the Johnsons had planned to make in to an en-suite bathroom. Another room, once the childrens playroom, is now used by them as a chill-out room.
For a village house, Old Lodge has an exceptionally large garden about 1.62 acres including formal lawns, well-stocked herbaceous borders, flower and rose beds, an ornamental fishpond and an orchard. There is a workshop and a woodshed. All the wood we burn in the house is from the garden.
The heated swimming pool has an automatic cover and the pool house boasts a shower room and kitchenette.
Dr Johnson says, We loathe having to leave, but my husband spends three days a week in London working for Cancer Research UK and the rest of the time in Southampton, where I also work. It would be much better for him if we lived closer to London, so were looking closer to Winchester.
The Old Lodge is on the market with a guide price of 1.185 million through Strutt and Parker of Winchester, tel. 01962 869999.
Building work: I.W. Payne of Salisbury (01794 341226).
Interior design: Interior Trading Company, Marmion Road, Southsea (02392 838038).
Decorators: Warwick and Son, Fareham (01329 822548).