Thatch Cottage is a home for all seasons, according to owners Susan and Stewart Taylor. They have spent approximately 17 years at the picturesque property and have always found it to be a homely and welcoming place. "In the summer, we sit outside under the pergola and enjoy the lovely garden and peaceful surroundings - it is so quiet out there you could hear a pin drop," Susan says. "When it is very hot outside, we also like to relax in the drawing room, which is always wonderfully cool at that time of year." But, she adds: "The drawing room is also extremely cosy in the winter time with the log fire."
Two-bedroom Thatch Cottage is situated in the village of Great Horkesley and is believed to date back in part to the 1600s. With its thatched roof, beautiful beams and exposed brickwork, it still retains much of its original character and charm. "We were attracted to it because it was such a pretty house," she remembers. "We have always lived in places that are a little bit different and this house was unique. We loved its character and its comfortable cottage style, and we wanted to retain that in all the work we did to improve the house and make it our own."
A BEAUTIFUL HOME
The inviting home has been significantly upgraded by the Taylors. They have a concrete floor laid, installed new central heating and replaced the bathroom and kitchen. Double-glazed windows and doors, which blend beautifully with the traditional style of the cottage, unique windows have been installed by Evolution and they have had a new orangery added on to the kitchen. "We have also had sliding door wardrobes fitted in the bedroom, replaced the front door and redecorated throughout," Susan explains. "With the exception of my husband's study, we have opted for a neutral or pale colour scheme throughout to keep the house feeling light."
The single-storey home comprises the large drawing room, which leads through into the dining area. This in turn opens into the kitchen, which has been beautifully fitted out with country-style units and work surfaces, a central island and a five-ring gas hob. This is now open-plan to the glass-roofed orangery. "This part of the house does have a more modern feel but it works well with the old cottage," she says. "It is a lovely, light space, where it is nice to spend time with family and friends. In the summer."
The bedrooms and the family bathroom, which has a roll-top bath, are at the other end of the house. "The second bedroom is currently used as a study but it could be ideal as a bedroom," she adds. "It has an en suite cloakroom and space to add a shower should anyone wish to." Much of the spring and summer is spent outside at Thatch Cottage. Susan and Stewart have created a splendid pergola, with room for their large family and friends to dine outside. There is also a comfortable seating area and a koi carp pond, with a filtration system. "We have enjoyed lots of barbecues and family occasions out here," she says. "Up to 40 people can be seated here very comfortably."
The character home, which was re-furbished and re-ridged just four years ago, is in an excellent location. It is within easy reach of the town of Colchester, with its outstanding schools, and shopping and leisure facilities, as well as its mainline station with trains into London. It also enjoys easy access to the A12, and the hospital and dentist. "Everything you need is close by but at the same time this is such a tranquil place to be," Susan points out. "You can go for walks through the nearby orchards and it is in an excellent position for exploring the countryside of Essex and Suffolk."
SETTING THE SCENE
Thatch Cottage is set in generous landscaped rear gardens. There is a superb outside seating and entertaining area, with a stocked koi carp pond and a large pergola. There is a private driveway, with block paving to the front and side. The current owners have added new fencing.
The property is ideally located close to the Roman town of Colchester in the Stour Valley, made famous by the paintings of John Constable who depicted themes from around the neighbouring villages including Nayland, Dedham and East Bergholt. The nearby villages of Great Horkesley, Nayland and Stoke-by-Nayland all have excellent local facilities including various shops, post offices, a doctors' surgery and public houses/restaurants. Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England, offers a much wider range of recreational, shopping and educational facilities and the commuter can take advantage of a regular inter-city train service from Colchester to London's Liverpool Street Station, the journey taking from 50 minutes. The property is highly accessible to Colchester with the town centre and train station located approximately 4 miles away.
WITHIN EASY REACH
The A12 is also close at hand and there are good connections to the continent with both excellent links to Stansted airport and the port of Harwich. With the A12 so close, driving is also easy. Once on the road it only takes about 40 minutes to reach the M25 and 50 minutes to reach Stansted Airport