Victoria Jenkins Interiors - A Georgian gem
PUBLISHED: 12:07 13 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:41 20 February 2013
When Sally Bogard spotted a dilapidated Georgian house in the Worcestershire countryside in the property section of a glossy magazine she dismissed it as 'too much of a renovation job'. Her husband had other ideas, as Victoria Jenkins reports.
After a two year stint in Australia Sally Bogard and her husband had returned to live in Sallys London flat when her husband spotted an amazing but somewhat dilapidated Georgian house for sale in Country Life magazine. However, as Sally says, Hopton Court, near Alfrick, looked as if it would be a major project. Sally was expecting her first of two daughters (Olivia, now 10, and Amy, 9) and was not at all keen on the idea of renovating such a large house, especially as it was Grade II listed. The owner of nearby Leigh Court had built Hopton Court for his son in the 18th century.
When we came to see it the huge iron gates wouldnt even open as they were so overgrown and it was like arriving at Miss Haversham's, she says. My heart was sinking.
Inside they found leaks in the roof with buckets placed to catch them, whippets occupying the kitchen, fractious plumbing and, when they moved aside an armoire, a big hole in the wall behind. Also the drawing room chimney smoked so couldnt be used till we put a Jet Master fire in, she says. And the swimming pool had a huge crack in it and would not hold water. We were facing 40 years of deferred maintenance.
Sally's husband got his way and she found they had not only acquired a six bedroom house but a 15th century black and white timber framed cottage which had never been made habitable and a three bedroom annexe as well. There was also a brook crossed by two bridges, woodland, a dismal 1960s swimming pool (which they turned into a swimming pond), an orchard, a vegetable garden, a tennis court, stables and a 12 acre field, which they now let out to a farmer for his sheep.
Because of Sallys pregnancy her husband took over the project management. We saw it in June and completed in October, on the day Olivia was born, says Sally. We stayed in my London flat until two days before Christmas and as the house was empty it was quite possible to get it renovated in the ten weeks deadline we had set ourselves.
First they had the ugly cement render on the exterior lime-washed in soft beige. Then they rewired, put in new plumbing, a new boiler, new flooring and replastered through most of the house. They restored all 41 sash windows and refurbished the bathrooms with CP Hart sanitary ware and installed a new kitchen and Aga.
The Bogards turned one unwanted bathroom into a laundry room; as for the new kitchen they were so inspired by one they had seen set up as a cooking school in a 17th century French hotel that Sally had shot it with two reels of film and taken detailed measurements.
So I was able to show photographs of it to a local joiner who then replicated the units with a few Georgian touches and Carrera marble worktops, says Sally. He also made the taller-than-normal and enormous beechwood table measuring some 5ft by 8ft.
To get the right height chairs to sit up at this table the couple had to have them made by the same French joiner who had made the hotel kitchen they so admired. I definitely did not want bar stools but English kitchen chairs were simply not made tall enough, says Sally. As a contrast to the Farrow & Ball Off White painted on the units she put a black and white Neisha Crosland wallpaper behind the open shelving of the dresser. Slate floors were laid in here and throughout the back of the house while the original floorboards at the front were stained and polished up.
Between them the Bogards had owned flats in London, Sydney and New York. All the furniture from them arrived on the same day, Sally recalls. Some was contemporary and some was antique mostly from France where we used to live but even such a collection was lost in this huge house. However, this did mean it all seemed to combine quite well.
Two days before Christmas they moved in. While the plaster was still wet on the walls! says Sally. The decoration had to wait and that took a year doing it in stages.
I love greys, greens and golds, so I chose these colours for the fabrics while keeping the same wall paint, a Benjamin Moore bone shade no. 974, throughout most of the rooms. In keeping with her colour scheme a New York artist friend, assisted by Sally, painted murals of the local woodland scenery on the dining room walls.
The final touch came when a London art dealer contacted them to say he had a Victorian watercolour of their house - would they like to buy it? So we did, says Sally. It was painted by the local vicar in 1856 and its so nice to think the picture has come home.
She finishes: Weve put our heart and soul into the house but now we are having to move because of the girls schooling. But were glad we had a chance to bring it back to life.
For sale: through Knight Frank for 2,250,000 Tel: 01905 746884
Local Contact Book
Robson Ward, The Old Malvern Bottling Works, 10 Belle Vue Terrace, Great Malvern WR14 4PZ; Tel: 01684 563577; www.robsonward.co.uk
Mandarin Stone, Unit 1, Wonastow Industrial Estate East, Monmouth NP25 5JB. Tel: 01600 715444; www.mandarinstone.com