Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MY COUNTRY HOUSE IS A MANSION; A Stunning Sussex Manor House in 13 Rolling Acres, with Good Transport Links, Lures Londoners to Live the Good Life, Says David Spittles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MY COUNTRY HOUSE IS A MANSION; A Stunning Sussex Manor House in 13 Rolling Acres, with Good Transport Links, Lures Londoners to Live the Good Life, Says David Spittles

Article excerpt

Byline: David Spittles

SUMMERS PLACE, a listed Victorian mansion in 13 acres of Sussex countryside, is so stunning it makes the drive out of London worthwhile. As a new owner of one of the apartments within put it: "This is the sort of place that makes me feel special."

For 25 years it was the grand country house saleroom of the auctioneer, Sotheby's, and a suitable venue in which to flog one's heirlooms.

Today, the property itself is a coveted and restored antique, its original splendour returned by sensitive conversion.

Close to the delightful village of Billingshurst, the location makes this part of Sussex a real find for a commuter -- a country retreat, yet with one-hour trains to Victoria and a 20-minute hop to Gatwick or Brighton.

Berkeley Homes bought the manor from Sotheby's three years ago and set about the painstaking refurbishment. Virtually all the original architecture survives: the imposing facade, entrance reception with sweeping staircase, oak-panelled rooms, stained-glass windows, stone fireplaces, elaborate cornicing, vaulted ceilings, cast-iron radiators, mosaic floors, even original chandeliers.

The historic interiors are so strong that the new design elements -- hand-crafted kitchens and "classic-contemporary" bathrooms, often the seductive pluses of new homes, take second place.

Eleven apartments have been created in the mansion, while new town houses, mews cottages and an in-keeping apartment block have been built in the grounds, making 34 properties in all.

"The mansion apartments are the biggest draw because they have such character and wow factor," says sales manager Donna Spencer. "They're for people who want to live in true grandeur and don't want to compromise on space. We're getting viewings from downsizers moving out of big country houses, and from London-based buyers who are keeping a small home in town."

But there is a premium to pay. Prices range from [pounds sterling]470,000 to [pounds sterling]925,000. The latter figure will buy you a 2,200sq ft, two-bed apartment with high ceilings, an exquisite drawing room and cellar. …

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