I am lucky to spend most days either in or looking at some wonderful properties in all sorts of styles. It's a constant source of inspiration and I find it interesting to see how other people live. I've come across so many features where I've thought, 'ooh I'd love that in my home', and so (cue Carrie Bradshaw voiceover) I got to thinking...what would be on my dream property wishlist? You know, things that you would absolutely love to find when walking through the door of a potential new home.
It wasn't terribly hard to come up with a list! Here are my top five, I'd love to know yours.
1. INGLENOOK FIREPLACE
Top of my wishlist is the epitome of country living, the inglenook. I want a big one, preferably one I could stand up in! There is nothing better than a real fire - my aunt has a huge fireplace with a log burner in her cottage, similar to this one, and I find that even in the summer all I want to do is light it up and sit by it.
2. FLAGSTONE FLOOR
I was lucky enough to work on a magazine shoot at this location house in Rochester. As soon as I walked through the door in to this magnificent hallway I was struck by the rugged beauty of this worn flagstone floor. It may seem cold but I'd rather have a floor like this with tons of character rather than some boring carpet - that's what area rugs are for!
3. FIREPLACE IN THE BEDROOM
This is a bit of strange one - I've no idea why I've always wanted a bedroom with a fireplace in it but I do. I think it's probably because it gives a feeling of cosiness even if it's not a real working fire. Technically, I suppose I do have a bedroom with a fireplace in it, but a) it's not my bedroom, it's the office/guest room and b) it's really just a hole in the wall. One day I might get around to fitting in a proper surround or a log burner, then I can tick it off the list, yay!
4. WALLED GARDEN
There is something so quintessentially English about a walled garden. It conjures up images of country manors, tumbling roses and veg patches. I'm not looking for anything quite as grandiose as this one on the Holkham Estate in Norfolk, but something on a smaller scale would be nice. I'm not very green-fingered but they just look so darn pretty! I'd probably have to hire a gardener.
5. LEADED WINDOWS
When I was young there was a house that we always drove past on the way to my Nan and Grandad's place which had windows that seemed to sparkle as we went by. I would stare at it, mesmerised, and decided then that I would live in a house with sparkly windows.
I later learned that these were known as 'leaded' windows and are a common feature among medieval buildings, like De Vere House in Lavenham, Suffolk (above). Glass could only be manufactured in small pieces at that time and was joined together with lead to form larger panes. The typical lattice design has been used for centuries and is still used today, although modern windows don't seem to sparkle like the really old ones.
I'm not sure if they look as good from the inside and may make rooms quite dark so I would have to compensate by having large picture windows at the back of the property, ok?
Luckily, all the features I have listed here would probably be quite easy to find all in one place as they are all of a certain ilk - it's not like I'm asking for Victorian cornicing, a thatched roof and picture windows! But maybe I should get Kirstie and Phil on the case, just for the craic.