Finding a house to rent really is a process… especially when you’re picky: beggars (which we currently are) can’t be choosers. You see, it’s tough to throw around constraints, like we have to have 4 bedrooms, a fireplace and a spot for the woodshop… and when you have kids, a dog and a cat, it basically cuts your options in half (if not more).
Boy did we get lucky… through a mutual friend, we were introduced to (more or less) a mansion. The renting of it was looking good, until I recalled that I didn’t bring up the pets… so I did… and the reaction wasn’t encouraging. I think I realized that after about the 15th time he said “Oh dear” on the phone after I told him.
The good news: I convinced them to at least see the animals before any decisions were made. They met them and we got the green light to the house! You see, this house has been in his family (he grew up here) for at least two generations, so there’s a lot of sentimental value caught up in giving it over to us to rent.
Regardless: Snaketon Abbey is open, and we’re now accepting applications for maids, butlers, cooks and visitors. Click on any picture to get the full-up, un-cropped version.
Yes, that tree/vine you see going up the front is actually a pear tree that yields the fruit in the summer…
Here’s the first floor highlights (this is not our furniture):
The office (left) and dining room (right)
… though you can’t see it, this kitchen has two sets of counters, each with a sink! That area off in the distant (above) is the “informal” dining area – it’s bigger than a garage and has a huge skylight. And of course, Pam’s favorite feature: a working Aga.
This cast-iron monster was commonplace in the 1920s. You shove it full of coal and keep it continuously lit. It warms the entire kitchen and dining area, while acting as an oven and stove when you need it.
Moving on with the main floor. Continue on and you have not one, but two(!!!), living rooms. The owners recommend that the smaller one get turned to a kid’s play area, while the adults claim the larger one. Both have fireplaces.
Again, I stress this in not our furniture… but the carpet and curtains will remain. Hey, I’m not even about to complain about them (even though they’re not to our liking): we were just given a Lamborghini for a Volvo-style price… I don’t care about the color of the interior. .. Oh yeah, and off the “kids” living room, there’s a “Florida Room” (the Brits call it a Conservatory) attached to it.
The second floor highlights:
A bedroom is a bedroom is a bedroom, so I’ll spare a lot of pictures… because there are 6(!) of them. So here’s the Master Bedroom:
There’s two rooms the size of large bathrooms off the bedrooms; I was told they were *cough* his and her dressing rooms. And then there are 5 more bedrooms… The guest/kids bathroom at left, the master bathroom at right:
And finally the outside:
The future location of Snakeye Woodworks (my hand tool woodshop) in the detached 3-car garage.
Obviously, I’m going to buy some cheap plywood 8’ by 4’ panels to put down as flooring, install some lighting, a space heater, etc…
The back patio with a working water fountain:
A greenhouse for vegetables to brave the colder English climate:
This house is actually on a working farm that the owners are continuing to operate. But aside from the fields and farm equipment beyond the yard, the actual house yard is a pretty good size. The rental contract has us paying for the weekly yard maintenance and hedge trimming (so don’t bother applying for “gardener” position, it’s already filled).
And lastly, a view from walking in from the tennis court (yes, I said tennis court), along with the climate-controlled gazebo overseeing the tennis court for a spot of tea:
I was inclined to turn this place down (“sorry, I just can’t rent this from you…”) due to the 2-mile distance to the nearest pub… and the contract didn’t have a Rolls Royce thrown in with the deal… just unsat.
In the end, I’m left in disbelief on the deal that we got… and on how the hell I’m gonna fill this place with furniture.