Raisins Cottage, Mackerye End, AL5 5DU
Offers over £3,750,000
The owners of Raisins Cottage have extended the living space of this lovely rural home, originally two farm cottages built around 1890, from a comfortable five-bedroom house to a spacious seven-bedroom property.
The owners of Raisins Cottage have extended the living space of this lovely rural home, originally two farm cottages built around 1890, from a comfortable five-bedroom house to a spacious seven-bedroom property. From the welcoming tiled entrance hall doors lead to a large farmhouse-style kitchen with an Aga and access to the garden, a charming timber-beamed sitting room with an open fireplace, an elegant dining room with a bay window, a cosy study with a brick fireplace, and a cloakroom.
Double doors lead from the kitchen to a wonderfully light-filled conservatory, with glazed doors on either side to both the garden terrace and the courtyard. The conservatory connects the original part of the house to the newer single-storey wing, where garages have been converted into a large family room plus two bedrooms and a shower room. The family room, which has glazed doors onto the garden, has been sympathetically converted with ceiling beams to reflect the older part of the house.
Stairs from the entrance hall lead to the five bedrooms and family bathroom on the first floor, where the spacious principal bedroom has an en suite. Both the family bathroom and en suite have baths with showers over.
The largest living area at Raisins Cottage is the converted barn next to the house, a wonderful open-plan, double-height space with a spiral staircase to a gallery platform at one end with room for a spare bed. With five sons, the current owners have used the barn as a games room with a full-size snooker table, and as an ideal space to invite friends and play music. The owners have obtained planning permission to turn the barn into a separate residence if required, which together with the carport and storage rooms, could also be used to accommodate extended family or as an Airbnb.
Raisins Cottage sits at the southern edge of a generous five and a quarter acre plot, consisting of gardens close to the house, an orchard, paddock, field used for football and cricket pitches, and a four-acre field that generates rental income as pasture for horses. A wide border full of cottage garden plants separates the house from the road, with gardens with mature trees, shrubs and flower beds on both western and eastern sides of the house. To the west a large terrace, ideal for watching the sunset, has lovely views over the garden, with the vegetable beds and the orchard beyond. On the eastern side an ornamental pond creates a tranquil focal point with peaceful views towards the paddock. To the right of the barn are outbuildings and three stables, with the football field and 3 acre horse pasture behind.
Raisins Cottage is in a delightful rural location surrounded by open countryside, close to the hamlet of Mackerye End. The pretty village of Wheathampstead, with its bakery, butcher, cafes and pubs, is just a few minutes' drive away, as is the town of Harpenden with its excellent schools and 25-minute train link to London St Pancras. From the house there's a network of winding lanes, paths and bridleways through woodland and farmland, a haven for walkers, cyclists and dog walkers, and a country pub a mile away. St Albans, Welwyn Garden City and Luton Airport are all less than 20 minutes' drive from the house.
"We feel very lucky to have brought up our family of five boys here. There's so much space, which is exactly what we were looking for when we moved here from Harpenden 27 years ago. The boys have loved growing up here, they've had football and cricket pitches in our field and so much freedom, and they've been able to have all their friends over - we've always had an open house.
Our favourite room is the sitting room, it has such a warm and cosy feel with the beams and log fire. We used to come in here to escape from the children when they were all at home, now we just enjoy spending time here together in the evenings. We love the kitchen too, the heart of family life with its comforting Aga and views over the garden. We converted our barn and put in a full-size snooker table, which has been a great place for the boys to have friends over; there was always plenty of space for them to bring sleeping bags and stay the night.
We've had some great parties over the years. For one of the boys' 18th we had a marquee in the courtyard, and for Rachel's 50th we had an Arabic tent in the garden. We have a party on Christmas Eve, cramming all our friends into the sitting room, singing carols with the log fire burning. We're a big family and if there's about 20 of us for Christmas lunch we'll set up tables in the family room, which we converted from some old garages next to the house, instead of the dining room.
We're so close to Harpenden, less than 10 minutes' drive to the station, yet we're a field away from the nearest house and surrounded by lovely countryside.
It will be difficult to leave here, it's a very special place, but now that our sons all have their own lives we're ready for something different, and we'd like to be free to travel and visit the boys and our grandchildren whenever we want. We would like a new family to enjoy this place as much as we have enjoyed it."
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