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Property: Quality of a time gone by.

Byline: Marsya Lennox

As Sir Walter Tapper put the finishing touches to Eastham Grange at Eastham in Worcestershire, E M Forster's Howard's End was not quite on the bookshelves and cars were coming off Ford's first auto assembly line.

The show village of Bourneville was starting to mature and Hampstead Garden Suburb in London was still nearly new.

Pevsner regarded the Eastham Grange design as good, reminiscent of the 'free Tudor' of Hampstead and he took time to note the idiosyncratic, mix and matched gables.

But this property was, and still is, a long way from the suburbs, built from 1908 as a substantial country house, described as 'spectacular' by its 21st century selling agents.

Designed in the Arts and Crafts style, the house is rooted in an era when 'back to basics' meant honouring traditions of the past while serving the present.

Practical layouts combined with masterful use of top quality materials produced homes that stand the test of time.

Eastham Grange proves the 'art in craft' theory that beauty is in usefulness, not meaningless ornament.

Stuart Flint of Knight Frank in Birmingham said: 'What is most remarkable at Eastham Grange is the joinery. The oak work is just something else - not only the materials but the sheer quality of the workmanship.'

The cost of such work today is nearly prohibitive, glimpsed just occasionally on the open market in projects led by rare perfectionists. Neither was it cheap a century ago, when only the well-heeled could fully enjoy the embodiment of the Arts and Crafts concept - without the help of machines.

Such features help to add up to the modern value put on Eastham Grange, its guide price pounds 1 million.

Also in the calculation is the rural location, on the southern side of the Teme Valley, elevated privately with views east to the Abberley Hills and the landmark clocktower.

Add the 7.5 acres of carefully landscaped grounds, a magnificent stable block contemporary with the main house and the 20th century luxury of a purpose-built leisure complex with indoor pool, built five years ago by the current owners.

Reached off the road from Eastham Bridge to Broadheath and over a long, lit Tarmac drive and gravel courtyard, Eastham Grange is distinctive, of three storeys, providing real family living space. Period interior features make a long list: boarded oak floors at ground and first floor; typical Arts and Crafts fireplaces; leaded light windows and an impressive plaster relief ceiling in the south and east facing drawing room, more than 26ft by 17ft.

There is a study with fireplace in stone and views to the east, sitting room with more leaded lights and French windows to the sun terrace plus a big fireplace with linenfold detail to the panelling above.

The dining room looks south and is nearly as large as the drawing room, also with boarded oak floor and there is a second ground floor cloakroom off the courtyard hall, also leading to the open plan kitchen and breakfast room with Aga and appliances plus oak storage.

Ground floor extras include more domestic offices and a solid oak staircase leads up to five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a billiards room, oak panelled throughout.

The top floor adds another five bedrooms, some with fireplaces and one with its own shower room. A basement level adds even more space for games rooms and storage.

As well as garaging for three cars is the stable block, notable for its classic looks and working clock tower, installed in 1912 and still doing service with regular winding.

This includes loose boxes and storage plus a central office on the first floor.

The leisure complex was designed to echo elements of the main house, its style in keeping with a colonial era with an African game lodge theme.

Luxuries here include the irregularly shaped pool, jacuzzi, steam room, shower room and lounge with semi circular windows and terrace look-out point one of several across the property.

There are rose pergolas, immaculate lawns, terracing with fountain, borders and mature beech and yew hedges, hard tennis court with summer house, orchard and kitchen garden.

Beyond is pasture, stream and mature trees. Details from Knight Frank on 0121 236 0777.

CAPTION(S):

Eastham Grange at Eastham near Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, a country house built in 1908 by the architect, Sir Walter Tapper. It comes with 7.5 acres, leisure complex and wonderful views The stable block with its working clock of 1912, still keeping time across the property's northern courtyard One of the views from Eastham Grange across its grounds to unspoilt countryside
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 15, 2001
Words:766
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