River House: living in a converted mill

The Old Mill House

The Old Mill House - Credit: Archant

Andrew Bullock’s property fantasy - battlements, water and a giant wheel...

The kitchen of Old Mill House

The kitchen of Old Mill House - Credit: Archant

I want to live in a home that no-one else could possibly live in. Even if it’s just one stand-out feature of the place. I’d say that my current home’s only distinctive feature is its Juliet balcony - which is hardly distinctive given that my neighbour has one too.

I’d love to own a property with a turret or battlements (aka a castle!) or somewhere with its own forest. Or a house built into the side of a mountain. Failing these extremes, I’d gladly look to something seeped in history, with an added twang of individualism.

Two weeks ago we featured a Top Three barn conversions - conversions are very ‘in’. There’s something special about the transformation of a building that was meant for something rural and rustic - turning it into your very own unique home.

The Old Mill House gardens

The Old Mill House gardens - Credit: Archant

Watermills are sort of the wetter version of barns - but with only around 500 residential watermills in Britain, they are much more of a rarity. Living in one of these structures seems to be rather an ethereal experience given that you are encircled by water - the sight, smell and sound of it. Very different to a coastal property, the home itself will actually orchestrate the flow of a river, lake or stream.

Riverside properties have a different component to them than homes by the ocean. The air is less salt-licked and almost fresher somehow. While the sea is choppy and loud, a river provides a much more placid environment. Perhaps that’s why Henry David Thoreau chose to test-drive a life of transcendentalism by Walden Pond rather than in Nantucket. There’s something extremely rhapsodic about this habitual setting - a watermill certainly ticks the ‘unique’ box. George Eliot chose to use this as the setting of her 1860 novel The Mill on the Floss, and is widely thought to have done so to use the river’s current as a tool of literary foreshadowing.

This notion is enchanting - a word used perfectly to describe Old Mill House in Kings Langley. Built around 200 years ago The Old Mill is described as a place “where you will absorb the feeling of days gone by”. This particular watermill is wreathed by streams that form an island, on which the house stands.

The Old Mill House gardens

The Old Mill House gardens - Credit: Archant

Most Read

As is the fashion (and the necessity) of old-meets-new conversions, the house has been extended, restored and improved ‘amalgamating modern conveniences skilfully dovetailed with elegant period features to emanate immense charm, and ensuring that its historic fabric has been conserved’.

The Old Mill is cozily enveloped by mature trees, as well as the streams that surround it. The grounds are positively breathtaking with its various lawns, ornamental waterwheels, a courtyard, terrace, a bridge over the stream, a rose garden, vegetable borders and fruit trees.

Pouring over the information for this home, I can’t help but note that it ticks most of the boxes on my dream home list. And just when I think it can’t get any better, I spy some battlements off one of the bedrooms. Puts my Juliet balcony to shame, really.

Contact Cassidy & Tate on 01727 832383 before I call them and put an offer in myself.