Using weatherboarding to enhance a home

A strikingly modernist detached four bed house with mellow timber elevations maximises the unrivalled views from its Amberley setting (�850,000, Fowlers Estate Agents)
A strikingly modernist detached four bed house with mellow timber elevations maximises the unrivalled views from its Amberley setting (�850,000, Fowlers Estate Agents)

The use of timber cladding, or weatherboarding, is an attractive character feature of some of our older homes.

Nowadays new developments can be seen to incorporate dark stained weatherboarding, so it’s once again becoming part of our local architectural vernacular.

Originally to protect the most exposed walls by weatherproofing them, timber cladding was also employed to improve the appearance of properties from as long ago as the 16th century.

Early weatherboards were generally of oak or elm although the style and thickness varies, as does the finish which can be stained, painted or made of upvc.

Strutt & Parker have recently agreed a sale on a Horsham house which featured weatherboarding. “The house attracted competing bidders and was tied up at the full asking price,” reports Mawgan White of Strutt & Parker.

“Everyone has different ideas about what makes a property attractive and it could just be down to the colour of the external materials.”

A thorough search is needed to find your ideal home but there are steps you can take to help, as Mawgan suggests: “In tracking down a property style which appeals to you, narrow the search first by area and then by style. So if you are looking for a country cottage for example, you should look for properties in Warnham rather than central Horsham.

“But remember there are no hard and fast rules - some lovely character properties can be found in The Causeway and contemporary homes in Warnham.”

External presentation is vital and while buyers are prepared to change internal decor, the idea of external maintenance is off-putting.

“If the first thing people see is disrepair on the outside they will be much more cautious about what lies behind. Alarm bells start ringing, so the external condition is almost more important than internal,” says Mawgan.

Bulls Farm House has been well maintained and well looked after both inside and out; on the market with Strutt & Parker at £1.65m, the Grade II listed property in Sedgwick Lane, Horsham, displays a superb example of weatherboarding.

“The house was once part of the Sedgwick Estate and the area is lovely. It’s only two miles from Horsham but it’s so quiet you wouldn’t know it,” says Mawgan. “There are views to Horsham from the paddock across Denne Park and the house itself is beautifully presented. The farmhouse kitchen is a fantastic size for families and it’s likely to to be the heart of the home.”

The outlook from the home and the setting can be as important as the appearance of the home itself. The Wildbrooks and the Downs offer a stunning outlook for a contemporary timber-clad house on the market with Fowlers Estate Agents in Amberley at £850,000.

“The views are unbelievable,” said Marcel Hoad of Fowlers. “The front of the house has a lovely outlook over the Downs to the south, but even this is eclipsed by the views from the rear of the house over the Wildbrooks.”

The house has been designed purposefully for its idyllic setting by the current owners, having been built about 8 years ago around the original, smaller property. Strikingly modernist architecture ensures that almost every room takes full advantage of the views.

“The house has extensive wood cladding which has mellowed nicely,” adds Marcel. “A hard wood can be left naturally finished rather than painted and that’s its beauty - it changes over time and matures with age.”

The light, bright accommodation coupled with a fantastic outlook is a winning combination. “The the designers took advantage of the drop in levels, so while the house appears discrete from the front, the back of the house opens out to the landscape with full height full width windows.”

Some properties have a hidden view which is not immediately apparent on driving past or looking just at the front elevation and although most agents advertise any ‘significant views’, they are not often featured in the main photo used for marketing so it’s vital to research further.

“Perfect outlooks are few and far between,” says Marcel. “Buyers should really speak to the agent about specifics, as we may be able to recommend an alternative based on these discussions. For example, instead of open countryside views a property may be a stunning water feature or a beautiful specimen tree.”

The best option if your looking for something specific is always to speak to agents directly. You may discover discretely marketed properties which won’t be found on the internet or in the paper.

Mawgan White of Strutt & Parker advises calling rather than emailing: “We need to understand what’s really important to each buyer so we can matchmake properties in a more specific way. We have a good selection of properties which are not advertised because of the increasingly popularity of quiet marketing, so speaking to agents is the only way to find out the full picture.”

Bridget Cordy