Country house conversion to apartments
Country house conversion to apartments is the process whereby a large country houses, which was originally built to accommodate one wealthy family, is subdivided into separate apartments (i.e. flats or condos) to allow multiple residential occupancy by a number of unrelated families.
Large country houses were built on an estate in the 18th and 19th centuries to reflect a family's wealth and power, and to accommodate their extended family and a large number of servants required to maintain the house and family's lifestyle. However, with the diminishing income from farming, the increasing wages of staff and their movement to cities, and the invention of electricity, plumbing and domestic appliances, large houses with many staff became impractical to maintain. From about the mid 20th century many country houses, in order to avoid their demolition or use by an institution, especially those further away from larger cities (and hence not a practical weekend country retreat for the wealthy), have been converted into apartments.
Subdivision can be vertical (i.e. a whole wing), horizontal (i.e. a whole or part of one floor), or a combination of both. Vertical conversions have the advantage of giving each apartment a range of different sized rooms, from large public reception rooms on the ground or first floor to smaller rooms on the lower-ground and upper floors for bedrooms. The disadvantage is that space is taken up by the artificial insertion of staircases for each apartment (unless service staircases already existed), and the residents are required to constantly walk up and down staircase to move throughout the home. The advantage of horizontal conversion is single level living, with the disadvantage that on the original public reception rooms level, larger rooms need to be partitioned or a mezzanine level added to maximise the space and provide smaller types of rooms. The objective of the conversion is to maximise the retention of the house's original architectural features and decorations, while minimising structural changes. In the UK, planning permission for the conversion of listed buildings will often be granted with enabling development near the house (i.e. the construction of new housing), to help fund the project. In the UK, vertical conversions can sometimes be sold with freehold title, but horizontal conversions (or a mixture) must be sold as leasehold, with apartment lessees holding shares in a company that owns the building and land's freehold.
List of country houses converted into apartments, by country, in chronological order by conversion dates. This excludes conversions into retirement homes, where the apartments are hotel-style, with communal dining and living rooms (e.g. the original Country Houses Association properties).
- Fishers Hill House, Hook Heath, Surrey - 1947 into 4 homes, more a villa than a country house, built in 1900-1 for the 2nd Earl of Balfour (brother of PM) by brother-in-law Sir Edwin Lutyens with gardens by Gertrude Jekyll.
- Stedham Hall, Stedham, West Sussex, England - 1973, into apartments (unlisted house, enlarged from 1910).
- Charlton Park, Wiltshire - 1975, into 19 apartments.
- Great Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire - 1978, into about 13 apartments, with around 9 in the stables, plus 5 semi-detached houses.
- Umberslade Hall, Tanworth in Arden, Warwickshire - 1978, into 12 apartments and 2 mews cottages.
- Gunton Hall, Norfolk - 1980 by Kit Martin, estate into 20 dwellings.
- Hazells Hall, Bedfordshire - 1981-2 by Kit Martin, into 8 houses and 4 apartments.
- Dingley Hall, Northamptonshire - early 1980s by Kit Martin, into 7 houses and 3 apartments.
- Oxton House, Oxton, Devon - 1980s into at least 8 apartments.
- Callaly Castle, Northumberland - 1986-7 by Kit Martin.
- Ecton Hall, Ecton, Northamptonshire - 1986-9 by Period Property Investments Plc (previously derelict), house into 12 apartments; stables, coach house, game larder, laundry and dairy into 7 homes; and 9 newly built 2-storey stone houses in two terraces.
- Sheffield Park House, Haywards Heath, East Sussex - c1988-early1990s by Period Homes (Arundel Estate Sussex Ltd built a housing court in the grounds), 12 apartments in the house, with 30 acres.
- Alkrington Hall, Alkrington, Greater Manchester - early 1990s into 4 freehold homes (main house into 2 semi-detached homes, with 2 wings into separate homes), and large urban development in the rear grounds.
- New Wardour Castle, Tisbury, Wiltshire - 1992 by Nigel Tuersley.
- Burley On The Hill, Rutland - 1993-8 by Kit Martin, into 6 apartments, estate into 22 dwellings.
- Chelwood Vachery, Millbrook Hill, Nutley, East Sussex - 1996, into at least 4 freehold homes, with the Stable Courtyard into at least 6 homes.
- Stoneleigh Abbey, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire - 1996-2000 by Kit Martin, into 53 dwellings.
- Maristow House, Devon - 1996-2000 by Kit Martin.
- Bostock Hall, Bostock, West Cheshire - 1996-7 by P J Livesey, into 7 apartments, within a total development of 68 apartments and homes, with the 17th century timber-framed Platt Hall moved and rebuilt in the grounds.
- Brasted Place, Kent - 1996-7 by Hillgrove Homes and Michael J Wilson & Associates, into 7 apartments, in 8.5 acres.
- Shenley Manor (formerly Porters Park), Shenley, Hertfordshire - 1996-8 (Shenley Mental Hospital 1924-1998), into about 7 terraced houses, plus stables home, surrounded by a newly-built housing estate.
- Nashdom Abbey, Burnham, Buckinghamshire - from 1997, into apartments, with a new wing built.
- Goldings Hall, Hertford, Hertfordshire - from 1997.
- Gilston Park House, Gilston, Harlow, Essex - c1997-2001 by City and Country Group, into 31 apartments and newly-built homes in the grounds.
- Hill Hall, Theydon Mount, Essex - 1998-2001 by P J Livesey (purchased from English Heritage in 1998), into 20 apartments and cottages.
- The Hermitage, Chester-le-Street, Durham - 1998-2001 by Bryant Homes and McCarrick Construction (formerly an NHS hospital and rehabilitation centre), into 15 apartments, with conversion of the nursery, stables and coach house, plus 30 newly built houses in the grounds.
- Rufford New Hall, Rufford, Lancashire - c1999-c2001 by P J Livesey (formerly a convalescent hospital), 9 apartments and mews homes in the Hall, 12 mews cottages in the stables courtyard, and 16 mews homes in the newly built North Wing by Wainhomes.
- Wyfold Court, Kingwood, Oxfordshire - 1999-2000 by P J Livesey Rural Heritage (formerly Borocourt Hospital), into 11 apartments, with over 20 newly built houses on the estate by Bellway Homes.
- Ingress Abbey, Greenhithe, Kent - 1999-c2002 by P J Livesey Rural Heritage Ltd, into apartments, as part of a 950 new houses and apartments development in Ingress Park by Crest Homes.
- Besford Court, Besford, Worcestershire - completed 2000, house into 8 apartments.
- Whitehayes (Sunnyhayes), Burton, Dorset - 2000-2 (probably a villa, rather than a country house), into 5 apartments in the main house and 4 apartments in the adjoining wing.
- Allerton Priory, Allerton, Merseyside - 2002 by P J Livesey (formerly a school), into 14 apartments and houses, with newly built houses and flats nearby in Ye Priory Court.
- Herringswell Manor, Herringswell, Suffolk - c2002-7 by City and Country Group.
- Dunston Hill Mansion House, Whickham, Gateshead, Tyne And Wear - 2003-6 by McCarrick Construction (formerly a hospital), into 11 apartments, stables into 2 homes, plus newly built 10 flats and 24 dwellings.
- Compton House, Over Compton Dorset - 2003-5 by Clublight Developments, 4 apartments in the house and 4 in the stables.
- Holme Eden Hall, Cumbria - 2003-4 by Cumbrian Homes.
- Purley Park (Purley Magna), Berkshire - 2003-6 by T A Fisher of Mortimer.
- Balls Park, Hertford, Hertfordshire - 2003-8 by City and Country Group, into 40 apartments.
- Wall Hall, Aldenham, Hertfordshire - 2004-8 by Octagon Development (formerly University of Hertfordshire campus), into 25 homes and 76 newly-built houses and apartments.
- Apley Hall, Stockton, Shropshire - 2004-7 by Earlstone (owned by Martin Ebelis).
- Albury Park, Albury, Surrey - 2004-future by Jennifer & Nigel Whalley (private owners), 37 apartments being slowly enlarged and sold.
- Swaylands House, Penshurst, Kent - 2005-8 by Oakdene Homes plc (school 1950s-1994), 28 apartments, plus 20 apartments in 2 new buildings (Drummond Hall and Woodgate Manor).
- Dropmore House, Burnham, Buckinghamshire - 2005-10.
- Temple Grove House, Buxted, East Sussex - 2005-11 by Stonehurst Estates, 14 apartments.
- Summers Place, West Sussex - 2007-9 by The Berkeley Group (formerly Sotheby’s southern counties headquarters 1984-2007).
- Essendon Hall (Essendon Place), Essendon, Hertfordshire - 2007-10 by P J Livesey (formerly Eastern Electricity Staff Training College), into 10 flats and 7 mews houses.
- Melton Constable Hall, Melton Constable, Norfolk - owned since 1986 by property developer Roger Gawn, wings being subdivided into apartments and slowly sold off, but main Hall may remain as one home.
- St Osyth Priory, St Osyth, Essex - owned and lived in by the Sergeant family of the City and Country Group since 1999, seeking planning permission since 2009.
- Cromford Court, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire - owned by developers Derbyshire Investments, currently 11 unrenovated apartments, but could become a hotel or nursing home.
- RAF Bentley Priory, Harrow, London - owned since 2010 by City & Country Group, converting the Priory buildings into homes and a museum, with Barratt Homes building new homes on the estate.
- Whittingehame House, Whittingehame, East Lothian.
- Talygarn Manor, Pontyclun, Glamorganshire - c2000 by Cowbridge Developments Ltd, including 55 newly built houses and apartments, and 6 converted cottages.
- Kinmel Hall, St. George, Conwy - owned by developers Derbyshire Investments since 2006, may become apartments, hotel or offices.
- Gosford Castle, Gosford, County Armagh - 2006-8 by Gosford Castle Developments, into 23 flats.
Republic of Ireland
- England conversions - The DiCamillo Companion
- Scotland conversions - The DiCamillo Companion
- Wales conversions - The DiCamillo Companion
- Ireland conversions - The DiCamillo Companion
- Top British and Irish apartments currently for sale - Stately Homes WordPress blog (in Recent Posts menu, click on most recent 'Flats for sale' post)
- The Country Seat WordPress blog article
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