See inside a luxury home of a famous TV presenter for sale for £3.5 million
Famous BBC TV racing presenter and former jockey Emma Spencer is selling her palatial Newmarket home. Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit The Courtyard, Balaton Place, for sale for a guide price of £3.5 million.
Before I visited, I was slightly puzzled by the name of this home, The Courtyard. However, when you visit, it makes complete sense as this property, formerly a stable block and offices, has been designed around an Italianate courtyard full of flowers and with a large central fountain.
Extending to an impressive 11,840 sqft, this is a very substantial house but it works really well because you have a central residence with a storey above and two single storey ‘wings’ which extend each side of the pretty courtyard garden.
I was privileged to be invited to take a look around and went in through a side door, however the official front door is right in the centre of the complex. You arrive into Balaton Place, a private, gated, luxurious development and then enter the private domain of The Courtyard.
The reception hall is just palatial, with a massive round table and you can just imagine arriving at dusk, with the path to the front door lit by candles, to an awaiting table of champagne.
This is definitely a home of luxury. It is, of course, ideal for Newmarket and the racecourse, being situated just off the main road from the centre. It took me 45 minutes from Norwich though; about the same time it takes me to get home to north Norfolk and much more pleasurable on the A11 all the way. And with Cambridge and London within easy commuter distance, this home is really well situated.
Inside and I can only describe the main rooms but this house really does flow from one to another. You have a fantastic dining room with a 20 seater table in front of a large stone fireplace. I was delighted to see that among the really tasteful wall art and many framed family photographs, one of the pictures was one I have myself at home. It’s called ‘Scared of the Mouse’, depicting a young woman jumping over a rodent, and I bought mine for £147.99 from Berrys and Grey in Norwich.
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With a house like this, you need substantial furniture - the owner has big comfy settees placed elegantly opposite each other in her drawing room and many, many pictures on the walls. It is very Mediterranean in design but also style; the dining room and sitting room are mainly cream, black and white with floor to ceiling drapes in pale grey - and you have wonderful views to the outside from all these rooms. Trompe l’oeils feature too - I loved the entire wall of the indoor swimming pool room which has been painted with gorgeous views of what appears to be the Mediterranean countryside. Opposite this are real views over the courtyard.
In the master en suite, painted over the wall where the bath tub is, is a gorgeous view of the house itself with the large fountain, centre.
Being a swimmer, I loved the indoor pool which has its own kitchen which also serves an annexe which has its own front door. There is also a gym and the most fabulous indulgence of a properly kitted out cinema room, with padded walls, wired for sound and several rows of very comfy seats. I really loved the sparkly ceiling - like sitting underneath the stars!
The Regency style staircase is also so pretty - wrought iron bannisters with flowers painted on, wrapping around, and the most gorgeous arched, stained glass window a third of the way up.
Upstairs takes you to the master bedroom, dressing room and en suite, three further bedrooms, one en suite and a bathroom but there is no shortage of accommodation as this house has a further three bedrooms in the annexe as well as a two bedroom gate lodge and two bedroom staff flat!
It comes with significant history too; converted from a building created in 1850 by the second Earl of Zetland, and subsequent home to Doctor Wooldridge in 1946, the first director of the Animal Health Trust.
However, what I loved most was that it seemed like a home, not a show house - just a very large one!
The Courtyard, Balaton Place, Newmarket is for sale with Savills in Cambridge on 01223 347147 jointly with Jackson-Stops in Newmarket on 01638 662231.