WATERSIDE - The Islands represents a truly idyllic riverside retreat at the upstream end of an ancient royal fishery dating back to Tudor times. The estate sits in what is known as “The Wind in the Willows Backwater” about a mile downstream from Marlow. Kenneth Grahame’s boathouse is at the top of the backwater; he lived in Cookham Dean whilst writing “The Wind in the Willows”. Seldom does such an unusual and unique property come to market; the current owners have been there since the late 1970s.
Nowadays, The Islands estate comprises the original part of the house, a cottage, and more than five acres of land and its own private island. Reportedly the largest private island on the Thames.
The driveway is approached via a pair of wrought iron gates and as one descends towards the house, the imagination is set alight as one steps back in time to another world of calm, tranquillity and languid afternoons relaxing in or on the water.
The entrance to the house is set beneath a turret and heavy double doors open to the reception hall which is oak-panelled with an open fireplace, a stained glass window and panelled ceiling, somewhat reminiscent of a Scottish hunting lodge, evoking the Victorian period. The reception hall opens onto the principal ground floor rooms, some of which are set at quirky angles contributing to the originality of the house. The drawing room and dining room are in the oldest part of the house. Both have open fireplaces and are inter-connected by a pair of oak-faced double doors in perfect keeping with the pillars, exposed beams and attractive cornicing. The true joy of these two rooms lies in the magnificent large bays with leaded light windows. Wide doors are set into the drawing room bay and they open inwards encapsulating the thought and attention to detail that has gone into every aspect of this property as it has grown over the years. The view from this spot is quite magical as the eye is drawn across the balcony and river, edged with water lilies, to the boating steps onto the island, giving a flavour of what might lie beyond. A library is located next to the dining room with an external spiral staircase descending to the original boathouse beneath. Today, this is still a wet dock with a terrace at the water’s edge. Terracing runs along the front of the house both at the water’s edge and on the ground floor, offering plenty of alternatives for al fresco dining. However, the pleasure of picnicking whilst afloat or on the island surely cannot be beaten.
Ground floor accommodation includes the split level kitchen and breakfast room. The larder is conveniently located with a service passage leading to the rear of the house. The study overlooks the river, from the right of the front door, lit by a large picture window, glazed side door and overhead skylight.
Rising to the first floor, there are four bedrooms including the master bedroom suite with a balcony off the dressing room; the perfect elevated vantage point from which to savour the river view with a cup of coffee or sundowners. The master bedroom retains hints of Art Deco with a carved wooden fireplace and marble hearth. One of the other bedrooms has an en suite shower room and another has a vanity unit set into the turret on the corner. Thanks to large bay windows, the rooms on the river side of the house are often filled with natural light. A large family bathroom completes the first floor accommodation.
A cottage in the grounds currently comprises a double garage with an adjoining studio/store room and a sitting room with double doors to a terrace overlooking the river. There are two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor. Subject to the normal planning consents, this could be converted into additional accommodation with a kitchen and modern amenities, making it perfectly suited for guests or staff.
This property is featured by our Waterside department.
Landscaped Gardens and Grounds:
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Ground Floor – Reception hall
cloakroom. First Floor – Master bedroom with en suite bathroom
dressing room and balcony