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5 Bedroom other Bradford Street, Braintree £450,000

Wych Cottage is an exquisite example of a character-filled, historic home that has been beautifully renovated to offer modern day standards of comfort

THE STORY

Walking past Wych Cottage, with its picture postcard facade, it is easy to imagine it bustling with activity in bygone times. Back in the 16th century, the current owner explains, this unique home was part of Braintree's thriving wool industry. "Wych Cottage is so named because it used to be two separate homes, with an alley running between them, this alleyway now forms the hallway to the property" he explains. "The cottages housed weaving looms and would have been open at the front. The weaving would have taken place upstairs, with the horses and carts pulling up in front to load." The couple moved to the Grade II Listed home approximately 22 years ago. "We had never really thought about moving into a period property before, but when we saw this place we realised it was a one-off and fell in love with the character and charm of the cottage - it is completely unique."

CHARACTER FEATURES

Wych Cottage still presents an abundance of period features. The official website for Bradford Street, run by the Friends of Bradford Street (www.bradfordstreet.co.uk) states that about 75 per cent of the original timbers are still in place "It was renovated and modernised back in the 1970s and has been well maintained since then. Since we have been here, we have added a conservatory to the back of the house and opened the kitchen up into it to make one large space. We have also refurbished the bathroom, recently laid new carpets and redecorated several times over the years." The couple have also recently had the exterior of the house repainted and had the leaded lights and timber windows restored. "Our aim has been to retain the character of the house," he says. "We have used paints from the likes of Farrow & Ball, which are suitable for the wattle and daub walls."

WARM AND INVITING

The historic home, which is unexpectedly spacious inside, is both bright and inviting. It is entered via the hall which would once have run between the two original cottages. To the left, is the long drawing room, which runs from front to back of the property and has French windows on to the garden and a wood-burning stove in an inglenook fireplace. "This is a lovely room all year round - in the summer we can open the doors on to the courtyard garden and in the winter, whilst the property is fully centrally heated, we can also light the log-burner," he says.

BRIGHT AND OPEN

While this room would have once been the entire ground floor of one cottage, the dining room, incorporating a working antique French cast iron coal stove, and kitchen/ breakfast room now make up what would have been the other. "Adding the conservatory and opening up the kitchen has been great: it has made this part of the property much lighter and this is now where we spend much of our time in the house," he says. "When we carried out the work, it meant a water well, which had been in the garden, was brought into the house. We covered this with glass and had it lit to make a feature within the conservatory. It is now something of a talking point and the grandchildren love it."

ATTRACTIVE BEDROOMS

All four bedrooms are up on the first floor of Wych Cottage. "Like the rest of the house, these rooms are warm and bright," he says. There is an airy galleried landing and the bedrooms have original timber beams. "The master bedroom is the biggest room and is lovely - it is very light and has an en suite shower room." It has been easy to accommodate friends and family at Wych Cottage, he says. "With four double bedrooms there is plenty of space for people to stay and we have often had parties or special events here with members of the family, neighbours and friends."

FOND MEMORIES

In the summer, the double doors from the conservatory are kept open on to the courtyard, where there is a table and chairs for outside dining. The couple have enjoyed relaxing in their peaceful surroundings. Yet, he adds: "This is a great place to be because we are also just 10 minutes' walk from the c

Setting the Scene
Wych Cottage opens on to a courtyard-style garden, which is planted with mature shrubs and has been well cared for by the current owners. "The garden is low maintenance but is very pretty when the wisteria and clematis are in bloom," he says. "We also have a vine, which goes down one side of the garden and along the back of the house which produces enough fruit to make jam." Former stables are now a utility space but could have all sorts of other possible uses if required.
WHATS NEARBY
The centre of Braintree town is a short distance away, while events and relaxing days can be spent within the acres of Bocking Gardens within a few minutes' walk. Premier schools are close at hand, - St Francis Catholic Primary School, John Bunyan Junior School, as well as Braintree College and Tabor Academy.
WITHIN EASY REACH
Commuters have just a short drive to Braintree railway station with its links to London Liverpool Street via Witham. Road connections are also within easy reach with the A120 Eastwards to Colchester, or Westwards to Stansted airport and the M11. The A131 Southwards to Chelmsford and the A12 for access to London and the M25 are also close at hand.

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