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Andrea Titchiner

Wellington Esplanade is on the market with Suffolk Coastal Estate Agents:

Photo shown is the owner Andrea Titchiner (photo credit: Lucy Halpin)

Comment from the owner:

What joy it has been to restore an amazing period Victorian property – which I actually had no idea how to do, but I just loved the position facing the sea, the hope and potential when I could see original terracotta diamond floor tiles peeking through the gaps in the clutter. Did I think it would take 3-4 years to put this house back together again? In truth, I had no idea how long it would take to return the sad and somewhat neglected house that was divided into 3 flats into a comfortable, practical and contemporary home that honoured its Victorian heritage. The house contained plasterboard walls, rotten PVC windows, storage heaters, stale décor and tenants.
So first step was to consult with the conservation planners, who were delighted that such an iconic listed building in this prestigious terrace was going to once more be a whole house. The Grade 2 listing did not apply to the interiors but they wanted to see a nod to the recognition of the house status when built in the 1860’s. Presenting architect plans, and having researched the property in the Suffolk Records Office where beautiful hand drawn drawings exist of the initial proposal for this development in Samuel Morton Peto’s Spa Town, where his vision of a prosperous and expanding Lowestoft became a reality, I did not want to change the bones of this house, I wanted to find them again and follow the original Victorian layout of the house. I hoped to find hidden some gems of the past, that could be recovered, or re-instated. It was with delight that as paint was scraped off the window reveals, the original shutters in the sitting room were discovered, and could be restored. The mammoth job of installing proper wood working sash windows throughout, which are double glazed but have the same thin dimensions of the wood divisions to meet the specification to look like they were original ones, met the planner’s requirement and though hugely costly, do indeed make the property proud again and allow vast swathes of light to flood in. That in turn of course manifests in providing fantastic views of the sea and the wonderful East Anglian sky.
The massive advantage of renovating the property was that it could be completely stripped back, so that allowed for a total re-design and new installation of heating, electrics and gas, lighting and plumbing being integral to turning what were once cramped little kitchens in flats, into stylish and beautiful bathrooms. I hoped I would find original panelling, anything exciting to work with behind the flats makeover in the early 1990’s. There were deep skirtings, fabulous hand sculptured cornice, which where it was missing as the rooms become whole again, I had matched in by a master craftsman completing the work as the Victorians would have done. In keeping with the Victorian tradition and the planners request, the top and lower floors where servants would have worked, had simpler features and plain doors, so that the two central floors where the family would have been, had the full décor of a far more fancy and detailed decoration with more intricacy and extravagance.
Loving the height of the rooms and the space that came back, I relished finding the wall colours that instilled new life, I could feel the house sigh and breathe again, the confinement of the flats now gone, refreshed the sense that the house was happy. Individual Fireplaces were re-instated in each room, providing a recognised period feature, but offering still a modern sense that they fitted in with a lifestyle of today, with the only working fireplace in the sitting room providing that magic of blaze when the sea is rough, the sky grey but the flames provide that comfort and warmth so magical on winter days.
And what is it I love about this home? The walled garden that is so sunny and warm and a quiet haven to sit and enjoy the planting that has matured from a grassy wasteland, or taking breakfast in the suntrap patio off the kitchen – where the coastal micro climate means little rain and broad bold skies. Maybe its luxuriating in the bath watching the waves, or being lulled off to sleep listening to them. The Christmas tree twinkling in the bay window, with room for everyone in the dining room. I love it that I can’t hear anyone in any adjoining rooms such is the solidness of the home, as well as the space for everything, particularly having a larder and the friendliness and efficiency of my Esse aga style cooker.
The fact I can just walk the dogs over the road to enjoy the Terrace Gardens, or race onto the beach where they just love the sand and ball throwing. Fantastic sunrises with early breakfasts along the promenade tearooms. And of course, paddling.
It’s a changing landscape, but there is comfort in the sea pattern, the fun of searching for sea glass and equally having the convenience of being able to get a train to London, or a bus to Southwold, or popping round the corner to the Co-Op before 10pm when the craving for a bit of chocolate gets too much!
The challenges of this period home were many, but could all be overcome and none that the house hasn’t welcomed and accommodated, so now there is further opportunity for it to be a busy family home, or a profitable holiday rental, or a beautiful working from home indulgence, or just a wonderful place for an escape.
For me, I have always found the house offers a sense of providing calm, comfort and coastal creativity, a great accolade from this once forgotten home.

For all enquiries:

Tim Day

Suffolk Coastal – The Suffolk coast estate agent

T: 01728 677 980
M: 07775 75 11 40

Office: 103A High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk IP15 5AR

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