Extended Georgian Cottage with Links to Pioneer Railway

LITTLE BUTTS in Sonning is a charming three bedroom cottage dating back to 1805.

Stephen and Lyn Walker have lived in the Pound Lane house for 25 years. When they bought it, it was dilapidated and threatened with demolition.

Since then, the couple have lovingly transformed it into a comfortable family home by renovating it, extending it and furnishing it with period furniture in keeping with its history.

“My husband is a bricklayer, so he does everything,” says Ms Walker. “It was a two-up two-down, with a lean-to shed at the back.

“The original part is the facade – the two front bedrooms and the dining room and living room.”

The couple have more than doubled the size of the house since moving in. On the ground floor, behind the two original reception rooms, a large kitchen/dining room overlooks the garden.

There is an oak and glass garden room, accessed by double doors from the living room, which lets in plenty of sunshine.

Ms. Walker says, “It’s beautiful. The house is flooded with light when the morning sun comes up and at the back we get the evening sun. There is also an office and cloakroom downstairs. On the first floor, the Walkers have created three characterful double bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms and built-in storage cupboards.

There are wood and tile floors throughout Little Butts, but the bedrooms are carpeted.

Ornate fireplaces, wooden doors and exposed brickwork give the house real character.

Over the years, the Walkers painstakingly sourced appropriate fixtures and furnishings, including “grandfather” clocks and antique furniture (the high-backed benches in the kitchen) that are around 200 years old.

The original stained glass windows have been preserved and skilfully brought up to date, so that the house remains both warm and beautiful.

Ms Walker says: “These are all original windows, but we changed the frames – we had the frames made to the original design – and obviously there is secondary glazing.

“We also have stained glass in the doors between the garden room and the living room. You can open or close them, so you can make it as open or comfortable as you want.

The great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel is believed to have stayed at Little Butts in the 19th century when he was building the Great Western Railway between London and Bristol.

Whether or not it was Brunel’s former residence, the house certainly has a long and interesting past. Walkers have done it proud by updating it and preserving its Georgian heritage at the same time.

The private rear garden is well maintained and filled with evergreen shrubs, yews and box hedges. There is a vegetable garden near the house, as well as terraces and a large lawn.

Crowning the top of the garden is the ‘wine cellar’, a brick structure with a roof and a wood-burning stove, where you can sit outside in all weathers and have a drink.

Ms Walker says: ‘It was a quirky outhouse and my husband tweaked it a bit. There are no doors on it but when you sit around the fire, and in the summer, it is lovely. There is also a garage and storage space outside the property, as well as a wide driveway to the front.

Mr and Mrs Walker are considering moving to Cornwall to be near their daughter and grandchildren.

“Our stay here has been absolutely lovely, so it’s going to be a big key when we go,” says Ms Walker.

“If we could just pick it up and move it, we would, but I guess it’s time to move on, right? We love it here and the neighbors are fantastic.

“We also have chickens. They can stay if someone takes care of them.

Little Butts is on the market with Davis Tate at an indicative price of £1,100,000. For more information or to arrange a viewing call (01491) 412345.

About Jermaine Chase

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