Inspired by stays in properties restored by the Landmark Trust
Dr Tony Hockley & Vanessa Sharp sought to undertake a similarly authentic restoration of an historic house close to their home in the New Forest. Its maintenance could then be supported for the future by making it available for holidays. After a long search they found King's Huts, a Grade-II Listed semi-detached cottage, which was a bit neglected but unspoilt.
Their much-loved house in the little group of cottages at Kings Huts is in a wonderful spot near Upper Pennington Common (Map)
in the New Forest National Park, but surprisingly close to the bustling Georgian town of Lymington and the beach at Milford-on-Sea.
This is one of a group of six "Arts & Crafts" cottages known as "King's Huts". They were built in 1908 for Mrs Powell King of Wainsford. The cottages are reputed to have been designed for Mrs Powell King by her friend, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and the cottages and their gardens are in many ways typical of the longstanding partnership between Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll (for whom he designed her own "Hut" in Surrey). They are arranged in three semi-detached pairs around their lovely yew-hedged gardens, with brick paths and an oak entrance arch. The cottages are included in the County Council list of "Hampshire Treasures
The cottage still has almost all of its original features, including the impressive oak front door, beamed ceilings in the lounge and dining room and timber wainscoting in the dining room and bedrooms. The cottage was carefully restored in 2008 using traditional materials wherever possible, finished with limewashed ceilings and distempered walls, antique rugs, and William Morris curtains.
Modern creature comforts are provided throughout, however, with central heating (in addition to the coal fires in the reception rooms), a Fired Earth Shaker-style kitchen and a recently renovated bathroom (in the former coal store!). The clay tile floors of the bathroom and kitchen are now equipped with underfloor heating.
The bedrooms are accessed by an enclosed staircase, with one double and one twin room. Both have dormer windows with lovely views over the surrounding countryside. By squeezing specialist insulation under the clay tile roof during the restoration the bedrooms are now comfortable all year round.
The cottage has a lovely sunny garden of about 3500sq.ft (325sq.m) facing South-West, with a range of mature shrubs, and lawn, completely enclosed by hedges and gates. There is also an enclosed parking area for two saloon cars or one estate car/MPV, and a fully-enclosed courtyard and kitchen garden outside the back door.
Being moments from Lymington, Kings Huts offers a very convenient base for exploring the local coast as well as the open countryside of the New Forest. Its position beside a quiet, single-track lane allows it to blend rurality with quick access to the major attractions of the area. Lymington and the beach at Hurst Castle
are just a few minutes away. Upper Pennington Common, which is on the doorstep, provides a lovely place for a quiet walk.