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4 bedroom property for sale
- UNIQUE LISTED BUILDING
- FASCINATING HISTORY OF PREVIOUS OWNERS AND TENANTS
- SET OVER SIX FLOORS
- MAGNIFICENT, FAR REACHING VIEWS
- THREE/FOUR BEDROOMS
- THREE EN-SUITE BATHROOMS
- DOMED RECEPTION/DINING HALL
- THE ACCOMMODATION EXTENDS TO APPROXIMATELY 3751 SQ
From her glorious roof garden, Jennifer Lacoste looks out across the magnificent Surrey surroundings she describes as sylvan.
She bought the six-storey home, which is believed to be the highest point in the county, in 1996 after falling in love with it as it was being restored.
I loved its hexagonal rooms and its beautiful entrance hall with its exquisite Trompe l'Oeil paintings, as well as the incredible views, she explained.
Since then, she has discovered the building has amazing historical significance.
She added: This is a wonderful home. When I saw it, I thought it would be almost impossible to find somewhere as special in such proximity to London.
The Ruxley Estate once belonged to Westminster Abbey but after the dissolution of the monasteries, it passed to Henry VIII, who would bring hunting parties from London out to the countryside here.
It belonged to George Evelyn at the tail end of the 16th Century, who was reputed to have introduced gunpowder to this country and in the 18th century it was owned by England's wealthiest man, William Beckford.
In 1870, the Ruxley Estate was bought by Lord Foley, who built the Tower and West Wing for his wife, Lady Evelyne. Queen Victoria was reputed to have taken tea with her at The Tower - and the future Edward VII is also thought to have visited, said Jennifer.
In fact, one tale from the past suggests the property was deliberately built by Lord Foley to be higher than Queen Victoria's childhood home at nearby Claremont.
This most unusual building has continued to create interest. The following decades have seen the Tower almost turned into film studios and pass into the ownership of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institution for the duration of World War II as its Headquarters. In more recent times it has been featured in the film The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, used as a television set for Sir Cliff Richard and was the home to The Rolling Stone's Ronnie Wood.
There is so much history to this place and it has such a magical feel. I feel privileged to have been part of it, she added.
BY CANDLE LIGHT
After falling in love with its beauty, as well as its colourful past, Jennifer worked her way through the rooms decorating and bringing in her own style.
I brought it up to date with soft shades of chalk white and off-white, she said. It now has a very warm feel throughout. It is also very light because of all the windows.
She continued: It is wonderful. You can see the sun rise and set from every level. In the evening, I love to sit in the top room, which I use as a library/television room.
When I am entertaining, I use the drawing room or the entrance hall, which also looks so wonderful at Christmas time, when dressed with a very large tree.
She added: With panoramic views across the countryside, this is a truly unique home.
Approaching Ruxley Tower is an exciting experience as you glimpse it standing high and proud on the skyline. Entered via electric gates, the frontage is imposing, with arches framing doorways, a flagpole and - The Tower! Situated to the right hand side of the building, Ruxley Tower is accessed via three stone steps and an entrance door which, when opened, reveals a stunning Reception/Dining Hall with domed ceiling, beautiful Tromphe d'Oeil created by Patrick Regan to the walls, striking silk drapes to the high windows and an archway into the Library area. A small private courtyard leads off from the Library area.
A soft undulating staircase climbs to the left of the property giving access, one by one, to all the upper floors. The staircase is the original oak which has been hand painted to blend with the overall decorative theme of the property which has many striking features and provides a back-cloth for exquisite furnishings and unique personal style.
The first half turn in the stairs takes one to the Utility Room and cloakroom. There is a door leading to a small balcony.
Climbing another half turn in the stairs gives access to the Drawing Room with its arched doorway, marble Louis XV fireplace, original 18th century squared ceiling, semi-circular bay window and two further deep windows giving the first real impression of the panoramic nature of the views from the property. A circular window has been created between the Drawing Room and the Kitchen, so that hosts can enjoy the company of guests whilst undertaking preparation of meals in the kitchen. Because of the nature of the overall structure, the designer kitchen, with hand painted lavender ash units, is of a galley design. With Amtico flooring created to compliment the tiles in the Reception Hall, rolled marble work tops, breakfast bar and a door leading out onto a further balcony, the kitchen is a welcoming space.
Returning to the landing one notices a large custom made Dresser ideal for displaying dinnerware, crystal and eye catching ornaments.
Taking the next set of steps upwards, the staircase deposits one on the floor featuring Bedroom 1. With high ceilings, deep windows offering views over treetops and tall fitted wardrobes, an en-suite has been created within the hexagonal shape. Returning to the landing, one spies an intriguing door which, when opened, leads out onto the lower roof terrace.
The third floor is of a similar layout to the one below, but this time the bathroom has a cast iron roll-top bath, with white and chrome designer fittings.
The fourth floor is also similar, having far reaching views, fitted wardrobes and an en suite shower room.
The fifth floor has been used as an Upper Drawing Room, with windows on four sides. Being higher up, the views are spectacular and there is a feeling of splendid isolation and tranquillity. The room could also be used as a fourth bedroom.
The Tower narrows to the sixth floor, where there is a viewing galley with a domed ceiling, six crucifix shaped eyelet windows and an arched door onto a beautiful sun terrace, where there is room to place sun loungers from which the panoramic views can be enjoyed whilst basking in the sunshine. Here there are the original leaded gargoyles fixed to the outside walls rising to the Upper Viewing Gallery at the summit of the Tower.
SETTING THE SCENE
When the weather is fine, there is nowhere Jennifer would rather be than up in her roof garden, looking out across the astounding views.
It is lovely to sit up there into the evening, she said. I can almost imagine a glance of Henry VIII and his Courtiers in pursuit of deer close by.
Another favourite spot is her private courtyard garden, which leads from the entrance hall and library.
I had a huge umbrella specially made so I could sit out there as long as I liked when it was very warm in the summer.
WITHIN EASY REACH
Jennifer also relished the property's easy access to London.
The A3 is a short distance from The Tower and it takes about half an hour to drive into the centre of the city. Alternatively, there are excellent rail services from the area. Heathrow and Gatwick are equidistant and very easily accessible, and there is a wealth of local attractions and places to visit, including the National Trust-owned Claremont Park and Polesden Lacey house and gardens, Hampton Court, Sandown racecourse and Wisley. Ruxley Towers is also well situated in proximity to numerous prestigious golf courses.
From the A3 take the exit marked Esher and Oxshott. Follow signs towards Esher and drive along Copsem Lane until reaching the traffic lights at the T junction with Milbourne Lane. Turn right onto Milbourne Lane and continue along Hare Lane through Claygate village. At the mini-roundabout take the second exit into the High Street and continue on Church Road, turn left onto the Causeway and then right onto Common Road. Cross over Stevens Lane into Ruxley Ridge. Turn right into Thorne Close from where Ruxley Towers is clearly visible.
For those with satellite navigation the postcode is KT10 0HA.
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