Hillfield House was once home to Gloucester's Trading Standards officers — not that you'd know it to see the place today. Toby Keel takes a look.
How do you balance out your competing desires for grandeur and cosiness?
It’s a question that has occupied most property buyers at some stage. High ceilings and stone floors offer plenty of wow factor, but smaller rooms with lower ceilings, carpets and real fires flickering in a corner are far cosier. Some of us will prefer the former, others will lead towards the latter. And somewhere between the extremes, we each try to find a place which satisfies our own sensibilities.
For those who lean more towards grandeur, a house is currently on the market in Gloucester which is just about as grand as they come, certainly at this price bracket. Hillfield House is for sale with Charles Lear & Co via OnTheMarket at £1.6 million, an incredibly impressive Victorian building where the main hall alone will convince the right buyer to pull out the cheque book.
This Grade II-listed building, in the Wotton area just north of Gloucester’s centre, was built in the 1860s and is filled with period touches, from the fireplaces and ornate cornicing to stone pillars and the extraordinary stained glass windows.
The reception hall, more than 30ft long and 20ft across, has a chessboard stone floor, and as you can see from the pictures here is big enough to swallow a grand piano — and make it look small as it does so.
Just as grand is the first floor, accessed by a stone staircase, lit from a skylight above and ringed by an ironwork balustrade that looks out onto the space below. All your fantasies of hosting a Bridgerton-style ball can finally be fulfilled.
For all this grandeur, the living rooms themselves do offer cosier, more intimate nooks. Off the main hallway and the corridor beyond are a drawing room, sitting room, study, kitchen-breakfast room and seemingly-endless series of reception rooms.
Hillfield House was once used as an office for the local Trading Standards; rooms that were once full of desks and filing cabinets are now full of soft furnishings and bookshelves.
Above are nine bedrooms — eight on the first floor, and one in the tower above, the latter just off a winding staircase which leads up to a tower room that has views across the city.
The master bedroom has a dressing room and an en-suite with a free-standing bath, while elsewhere on the first floor is a games room big enough to take a pool table. That’s if you can resist the urge to put a full-size snooker table in that astonishing main hall, of course…
Add in the string of cellars below and there’s over 12,500 sq ft of space on offer in a building that also has lovely gardens, yet is still within easy reach of the city centre and the railway station.
As big a home as this is, there’s even scope to make it bigger: the agents note that more accommodation could be built in the grounds, subject to permission from the authorities.
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Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.