WORDS Laura Morel
Overlooking the top of Vallee des Vaux, E’cluse stands proud as a true design marvel. A historic farmhouse that dates back to the 1800’s, the home was once responsible for maintaining the lock to the valley’s water, which flowed down to the Mill at what was the Harvest Barn.
Nowadays, the water has dropped significantly to a babbling stream abundant with the best of Jersey’s wildlife, which the family home overlooks from its elevated position. The seven-bedroom property has undergone several transformations, the history of which is still there to be discovered for those that look hard enough. As well as the main building the grounds include a separate two-bedroom cottage, tucked away at the end of the tree lined drive and a self-contained flat sitting underneath the farmhouse.
In the 1920’s the property underwent its largest transformation when a tower was added to the home increasing its size and setting out the living space over four vast floors. Numerous additions and extensions to the property were brought together by famed Jersey architect, Arthur Grayson in 1939, who modeled the design project with a Canadian feel. The house now stands as an innovative blend of design features with thick granite walls offset against thinner timber cladding. Wooden framing, decking and sash windows keep the property looking very much at home in amongst its natural woodland surroundings.
The last redesign of the house saw the farmhouse windows enlarged, which now wrap around two sides of the property, spilling out onto a veranda. From nearly every room of the farmhouse there are views out across the valley and agricultural land, home to wildlife including herons, rabbits, squirrels and ducks.
Through a large stairwell at the heart of the house, the farmhouse joins together the old and new, with modern furnishing and shaker style interiors making the property feel cohesive, with a natural flow from room to room. The whole house is light and airy, with special attention given in its design features as to how the outdoors can creatively be brought inside.
Each level of the home has its own specific purpose, with the first-floor home to family living and entertainment and the second floor featuring a drawing room and master suite. The children’s rooms are contained together on the third floor, along with a large guest bedroom.
The property and its grounds are steeped in history, with features still existing from the original building providing glimpses of what the property was like in times past. Evidence from World War II, when the house was used as an officers’ mess, can be found in the grounds through the bunkers which remainin hidden in the landscape. There are plenty of stories to be discovered, and a beautiful setting within which to create many more.
The master suite is one of the most impressive rooms of the house, with access to a balcony overlooking the grounds and generous windows letting in the rising morning sunlight. The suite includes a dressing room with plenty of storage space and a spacious bathroom with a feature Japanese bathtub. The floor is completed with a room off the main suite currently dedicated to music, but which would lend itself to becoming a nursery, office or hobby room.
The seven vergees of agricultural land on which the property sits have been landscaped under the current ownership, to include an orchard with apple and cherry trees and a garden to cultivate summer berries. With plenty of scope to satisfy any budding gardener, the property comes with a lean-to greenhouse and a separate herb garden. The grounds have been carved out over different levels to separate communal areas such as a sun deck and BBQ area. There are plenty of secret places left for adventurers to discover in the undisturbed woodlands which home an abundance of wildlife. Down by the stream there is also plenty of plant life and animals to be found, including the property’s resident kingfisher.
The trickle of the stream can be heard throughout the property in this calm and peaceful location. Most of your time will want to be spent sitting out on the veranda which wraps round the house, taking in the setting and views. A porched area has been included to lend shade for summer months as well as plenty of room for outside entertainment. Bi-folding glass doors allow the open plan kitchen area to open up, inviting the outdoors in. The kitchen area is perfect for social events with an impressive Mark Wilkinson New England kitchen taking pride of place on the first floor.
The property has a long and happy history of providing a home to large families, including Jersey’s own superman, Henry Cavill, for a period of time. Once used for two-generation living, there is the capability to redesign the house to accommodate separate living arrangements once more. This is in addition to the separate studio flat which sits beneath the property and the two-bedroom cottage within the grounds, which could provide a good income to any owner if leased out.
The house is a masterpiece of design and architecture, a clever build ahead of its time which has to be seen to be truly appreciated. The farmhouse is a chance to own a slice of Jersey history, set out in one of the most idyllic and convenient locations the Island has to offer.
Vallee des Vaux, Trinity
- 7 bed, 5 bath
- In an elevated position at the top of Vallee des Vaux
- Contemporary design
- Stunning views of woodland and agricultural land
- Large veranda and decking for outdoor entertainment
- Parking for 12 cars
- Includes self-contained studio flat and separate 2 bed cottage
- 7 vergees of land
- Approx 4,644 sq ft