Rooms with a view - A Regency house in Hampshire
PUBLISHED: 15:46 26 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:37 20 February 2013
Queen Victoria was familiar with this beautiful Regency house, which has one of the most spectacular views in the south of England, says Jill Belcher
Angie Ganly vowed she would never move to the Isle of Wight until she saw Oakhill in Cowes.
Husband Rich, a keen sailor, had spent a lot of time in the area and had already refurbished several large houses when he came across the eight-bedroom home with astonishing sea views.
When I saw it I fell in love with it straight away, he says. I knew it was an amazing house. I saw it on a Tuesday and bought it at auction in London on the Thursday. When my wife saw the pictures she said I could live in that although she had said she would never move down here.
Home from home
That was in 2001 and since then the couple have worked hard to turn the Baring Road home into a highly sought-after upmarket bed-and-breakfast business which has welcomed world-champion yachtsmen among its guests.
We have tailored it mainly for business people and for sailors, says Rich. I made sure when we refurbished it as a B&B that it could easily be used in the future as a family house as well.
I didnt put showers in the cupboards in the corners of rooms. I made sure things could be put back. It is really a nice house with guest rooms, a family home.
Rich and Angie have retained many of the original features, such as the high ceilings, ornate skirting and period fireplaces.
Built in the style of John Nash around 1830, Oakhill is situated within the Conservation Area of Cowes, only 200 metres from the seafront and a short walk from the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Its elevated position means it has wonderful views of the Solent and is ideal for watching yacht racing as well as liners en route for Southampton.
The house features in historic prints by J Brannon and, while Queen Victoria often parked her carriage in the stable block when visiting the Royal Yacht Squadron, there are photographs of her carriage outside Oakhill itself, suggesting she may have visited the house.
The original wooden floorboards are still in place in the reception hall, which has an elegant period staircase, while there is a further entrance hall to the western end of the house, this time with flagstone flooring.
The dining room has deep windows to two elevations, with two sets of windows opening to the balcony, from which there are stunning sea views. The room also has a period fireplace with marble surround and mantelshelf and original coving. There is a similar fireplace in the drawing room, which has a bay window with terrific views.
The kitchen/breakfast room boasts a built-in period dresser as well as a range of matching base and wall units, beech work surfaces, twin Miele oven, granite tiled surface with a Siemens halogen hob with period wood surround and flagstone flooring. The breakfast/dining area, which has a wooden floor, has built-in bench seating and built-in cupboards. There is also a utility room and cloakroom with WC.
The first floor has two shower rooms at either end of the landing, one of which has built-in linen cupboards. Bedroom one has a deep window opening to a balcony with panoramic views across the Solent, including the Royal Yacht Squadron. Its en-suite bathroom has a west-facing window seat with sea views.
There are also panoramic sea views from bedroom five, and from bedroom two, a double-aspect room with a shower room. Bedroom three has a cast iron fireplace, and there is also a fireplace in bedroom four. Bedroom six doubles as a study.
On the lower ground floor, reached via stone steps from the reception hall, there is a wine cellar/store with brick floor and flagstone shelving. Also on this floor is bedroom seven, with Solent views and an original cast iron range cooker. There are also Solent views from bedroom eight, and there is a shower room.
Claims to fame
In the grounds, a short distance from the house, is the studio, which has French doors to provide views over the terrace to the Solent and a shower room. The gardens include an extensive paved terrace with sea views, ideal for entertaining.
Since opening Oakhill as a B&B, Rich and Angies guests have included many famous sailors, including Paul Cayard, the first American skipper to win the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1998 and a seven-time sailing world champion. It goes without saying that Oakhill is a prime location for Cowes Week.
Rich devotes much of his time to charity work in the sailing world and he and Angie are now planning to sell Oakhill.
We would like some time out for us, although we wont move off the Island now, says Rich. We love the house, it will be a sad loss. I feel we have taken it to where we want it to be, but there is plenty of scope for someone else. If it doesnt sound too foolish, we feel we have been custodians, and we have done all the essential work.
Oakhill is on the market with a guide price of 1,750,000 through Christopher Scott, Wootton.
Tel. 01983 242121.