Victorian Italianate Villa


Situated within the Chiltern Hills, this Victorian Italianate Villa has a rich history together with links to royalty.

The property was once part of a much larger estate that has since been subdivided with the barns and outbuildings now converted into separate dwellings.

Upon arrival, we found that the villa still shared a driveway with neighbouring properties. To create a statelier approach to the house, we have designed a new private driveway to lead visitors through the existing Victorian parkland and then along a mature Rhododendron walk. This involves removing and relocating an existing tennis court, as well as the old driveway. A new walled courtyard with pleached trees is proposed in front of the garage wing, which will reduce the linear scale of the garage and provide parking for our clients day to day entrance to the house.

In front of the house, new ornamental trees will be planted to enhance the existing arboretum feel of the landscape, with the existing woodland underplanted with native shrubs and bulbs.

The area around the villa is flat and level and lacking in interesting features, except for a beautiful mature Lime tree. In order to create more interest we propose to raise some of the levels, to visually elevate the villa above the surrounding landscape. We will also create a series of garden rooms around the villa which will provide much needed structure, as well as year round interest.

The Drawing Room will look out onto a new sunken garden with dry stone walls finished with reclaimed Yorkstone coping. A water rill will run through the centre of this space complete with delicate water jets that create movement and a gentle and relaxing sound. Herbaceous borders are framed by Yew hedges and box pleached Lime trees, adding height and structure to the garden.

Estate railings will frame the view into a wildflower meadow with orchard trees and grass paths cut in a criss-cross diamond pattern. The wildflower meadow will provide interest and encourage birds, butterflies, and bees into the garden.

In the field beyond the meadow wildlife friendly, native hedging will be planted along with native Oak trees, a woodland copse and an avenue of native Lime trees which will link with the box pleached Lime trees in the sunken garden and focus the view on the distant landscape, increasing the perceived scale of the property.

Our Master Plan also features a formal Rose Garden framed with Box hedging and a large terrace for entertaining, which connects to the kitchen.

A new contemporary swimming pool wing has been designed on the northeast side of the house. The pool building will be set down at a lower level, thus subservient to the historic architecture. We have designed a more contemporary planting scheme within this space, with multi stem trees, ornamental grasses and pretty umbellifers, to help soften the building into the garden.

Tucked away beyond the pool building, is a secret tree house garden, hidden amongst simple shrub planting. Designed both for children and adults, it is the perfect place to enjoy an evening drink, elevated above the flat landscape to take advantage of the distant rural views.

A Productive Garden, potting shed and storage building are planned as a future stage of the project, together with a Laburnum arch driveway for access.

Designed By

Working With

Architect: Jane Duncan Architects

Structural Engineers: RWA Consulting

Builders: Barr Build

Planning Consultant: Bell Cornwall

Lighting Designers: Owl Lighting

Landscapers: Landform Consultants