The Old Orchard, Oakley, Bedford
Every property evolves over time as we put our mark on it to make it our own. Yet sometimes, what once stood is transformed into something unrecognisable, yet more practical for modern living.
The Old Orchard was once a 1960s bungalow, complete with some lovely retro features and décor; an upstairs had been added over time but the property didn't have a cohesive feel. The owners were looking to relocate to the area and were on the hunt for a period property as their new family home when they came to view The Old Orchard.
It certainly wasn't the home they had envisaged, but it caught their eye and they could immediately see the potential. "We had renovated our last house so, although the scale of the project was a lot bigger than we had done before, we were more excited than overwhelmed by what we decided to take on. I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to look like. We are very proud of what we have achieved.
The biggest challenge has to be getting rid of the 1960's features, such as the doors and windows. The upstairs was more modern so the two floors didn't flow and we needed to blend the two. Because it had been a bungalow, the downstairs was clearly divided into living and bedrooms, so we rejigged the layout downstairs to make it work for modern family living. It's been lovely living here. I just wish we could pick up the house and move it to where we are going."
The kitchen-dining-orangery is a favourite for the family to spend time in and you can understand why: it is light and bright, and the finish is exceptional. They have used reclaimed timbers for the renovation, as well as bricks and York stone to build a fireplace which really adds character to the room. And then you have those bifold doors, that when opened completely bring the outside in, and you can imagine how perfect a space this is during the summer months.
"There is a balcony in our bedroom and it is incredible in the mornings; we can just open the French doors and relax with a coffee and enjoy the beautiful view. The house has everything you could wish for: plenty of storage, a boot room (which is a godsend after those muddy walks), utility room and I cannot tell you how much I am going to miss the pantry.
The gym is incredible. This house is lovely; it has everything you could ever dream of."
At the front of the property is a small woodland with oak and yew trees, and a lovely new driveway complete with feature lighting. There is room here should you wish to add an additional garage or a carport in the future.
The owners have done some major works to the garden, but this is one project that needs completing. Allowing you to put your own mark, it is a blank canvas awaiting your instruction. There is a greenhouse, potting shed and an allotment area where the family grew rhubarb last year, and there is also a little pond. Beyond the garden, there are open fields as far as your eye can see. The garden also welcomes many visitors in the form of ducks, deer, squirrels and pheasants, and there has even been a sighting of a kingfisher at the pond.
Yet even in this idyllic setting, you can still grab essentials close by. The village shop is just up the road, as is the pub, which we can confirm sells fantastic food. Bedford train station is really close, approximately 3 miles away, and there is a primary and secondary school in the village. The renowned Harper Trust schools are also close by, and you are also a stone's throw away from the River Great Ouse which you can access from the garden, as the owners have installed a gate that leads directly there.
"If you had a wish list, this house would come very close to ticking all your boxes, and it is going to be incredibly hard to leave."