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Rustic retreat: A Suffolk family manor is shedding its old image by launching luxury lodges

In a secluded wildflower meadow set among 5,000 acres of private Suffolk woodland sits the prototype for what Hugh Crossley, the 4th Baron Somerleyton, hopes will help secure the financial future of his family’s 400-year-old home, Somerleyton Hall.

In this remote, rural location – “we’re the last stop in East Anglia,” says Hugh – the 45 year-old is building high-end sheds that ooze contemporary cool: limewashed wooden walls, wood-fired hot tubs on big south-facing decks and concierge services, including in-shed cocktails, courtesy of the estate’s pub, The ­Fritton Arms.

These “ShedRooms”, as Hugh’s wife Lara has named them, start at £225,000 and come in various ­designs, including “industrial chic”. They are likely to appeal, he thinks, to the bonus-earning set of thirtysomethings who live in east London (a handy two-hour drive away); the kind of people “who may go paddleboarding or trail running, then kick back and have a boozy night on their deck,” says Hugh, an Old Etonian who was once engaged to Prince William’s ex, Jecca Craig.

Hugh has also earmarked an even more remote, lake-view plot for 35 bigger, super-luxurious Hill Wood chalets. These will cost from £250,000 and are designed for ­families seeking the back-to-nature experience – “making camps, catching frogs” – with similar bespoke services also on tap.

The lodges have limewashed wooden walls and wood-fired hot tubs on big south-facing decks

It’s all part of Hugh’s drive to modernise the holiday business his father, Savile Crossley, began on the estate in the Seventies when he created the ­Fritton Lake Country Park around a two-mile-long lake. Around 60,000 day-trippers would flock there in summer to have picnics. “There were some holiday cottages too, which were very low-tech, as you’d expect of the Seventies, but very popular,” says Hugh.

These days, as tastes, technology and budgets evolve, Hugh is modelling his offering on the Soho Farmhouse-style, private members’ club ethos. He has closed the country park to day-­trippers, which leaves hundreds of acres at the disposal of private homeowners instead.  

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“Now that I have my own children,” says Hugh, father of John, seven, Christabel, five, and Margot, three, “I’ve been looking back at my childhood here through a child’s eyes and trying to recreate that cut-off sense of tranquillity that only the proper countryside can give. It was a blissful rural idyll. We were rural hicks in the nicest possible way, enjoying long summers outdoors. It’s what people who buy these holiday homes want too. They don’t want to be in a resort. They want to roam about, ride bikes, climb trees and create a community of cabin ­owners who share the same values.”

Those childhood days were blissfully protected from the responsibilities of running an estate. Hugh became acquainted with those pressures, however, when he took over Somerleyton Hall in 2005 after his father – a hereditary peer, former Lord-in-Waiting and Master of the Horse to the Queen – stepped down for health reasons. “He was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, though he had at least five more good years in him,” says Hugh.

The “ShedRooms” are available from £225,000 

It was quite a legacy to inherit. Although a manor house had existed on the site since 1240, the stately home in its current guise was created in 1604, when owner John Wentworth transformed it into a Tudor-Jacobean mansion – today considered the best example in England. Its next occupant, the wealthy entrepreneur and MP Sir Samuel Morton Peto, carried out lavish improvements, employing Prince ­Albert’s architect, John Thomas. The Crossley family entered the picture in 1863, when Hugh’s great-great-grandfather, Sir Francis – a carpet manufacturer and MP – acquired the estate. When his father died in 2012, Hugh ­became the next Baron Somerleyton – and with it took on the mantle of running the show.

Hugh admits he wasn’t prepared. “I was thrown in before I was expecting or wanting to. It was pretty difficult. I thought I had the right to other experiences,” he says. “It was a dual life – I could be working for a bank, making a load of money, coming here at weekends to talk to the estate manager, but I’m not that guy.

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“I’m quite entrepreneurial and I hankered for a business outside of the estate and one that takes me to ­London.” He ran a chain of Persian ­restaurants in London before setting up his current enterprise, a fast food outlet called Hot Chip.

He knew he couldn’t bury his head forever, though. “Dad had to sell off about 80 or 90 of the estate’s houses in the village and, although we still have 120 there, I pass them every day and ­regret that it had to be that way,” he says. “When I took over, it looked like a decaying estate to me and I was ­horrified. It had lost its identity and there was a lot to do.”

He eventually recruited fresh staff to run the estate, although that didn’t turn out to be an easy task. “It’s hard to find good-quality people here,” says Hugh. “We’re the Bronx of East Anglia. It’s not like being in Aldeburgh or Southwold. Picking a good quality manager is hard. But I’ve employed an estate manager director now – a big blue-chip person to run the business like a corporation.”

Hugh Crossley, the 4th Baron Somerleyton, with wife Lara and daughters Christabel and Margot

Hugh and his family live in what was traditionally the servants’ side of the house. “It’s amazing because it’s U-shaped and – as the Victorians didn’t like sun – we are on the south side of the U, so it’s flooded with light,” Hugh says. He and Lara modernised the house for family life and had the rest renovated for “house party weddings”, with accommodation for 24 people. “It’s how the house was designed to be used, with lots of guests enjoying good food, lovely bedrooms and great views. I’ve been given this asset and these events quite easy to do.”

The estate also has 12 acres of gardens to play with, which are hailed as being among the country’s best. They boast ornate iron and glass greenhouses designed by Joseph Paxton, the architect of Crystal Palace, a 70ft -long pergola and a yew hedge maze that continues to baffle visitors 170 years after it was designed.

The house and gardens are open to the public, though Hugh admits the Hall is loss-making. “It’s a big unit and it eats up money.” Farming is still big business at Somerleyton, with 2,500 acres of arable land and 1,000 acres of grass and livestock. Hugh is currently building a shop in the village as an outlet for the estate’s meat.

But that’s small fry. It’s Somerleyton’s new ShedRooms and Hill Wood lodges – along with 70 older cabins Hugh built with his father, and some renovated holiday cottages – that he hopes will start bringing in some decent income. “A decade ago, we sold log cabins purely on their lake views. Now people want a cool cabin, tennis court, pool and they want it to be hassle-free. They want to turn up, barbecue pack and beer in the fridge, beds turned down, and for us to rent out their homes when they’re not here,” says Hugh. “We want to be the best resort in the East.” The last stop in East Anglia, perhaps, but not the last resort.

@a-vulparia Continued from { x }


Something had changed. And to say the very least, the transformation had been drastic. No – the nectar had not caused this. Either he’d truly been poisoned or his heat had begun far too early. Either way, his attention had been brought to the only living being in sight and, having not been able to hold back quite as he’d have liked, now the Drake had her pinned to the wall, breaths hot and emitted in short, shallow puffs. Everything felt so warm…

Please,” he whispered, voice hoarse and just above a whisper – it was not in his nature to beg. But even in his state he would force nothing – especially upon a mortal. Large hands rested upon the much smaller creature’s hips, Elvon’s eyes glazed and narrowing as he fought to maintain this human disguise.

He needed release.

I was so worried about the ikea trip the other day. But it turn out beautiful :,) thank you Allah. We went for brunch, IKEA and came home to fix the thing where you hang the curtain? So he had to drill my stubborn wall PS. He look damn hot ;) my mum and step dad get to meet him and they love him just like i do :) I was so afraid if he is uncomfortable but he said that his fine. Mama cook dinner for us to eat and we decided to watch Annabelle movie after that i am so happy because it’s been a while since i do this with someone. 


I am very envy with people that go out during weekend with their partner, going event, enjoying their time & adore each other. When will it be my turn? :( After i broke up with Aris i spent most of my time with my family and busy being alone. No high hope lilim, stay cool and follow where it leads you to. After all being friends won’t hurt right? as long his right in front of you :) Bersyukur je.


Night girl!


Xoxo,

Lilin

( I broke the handle off my bathroom wall for the hot water so that’s what I’ve been preoccupied with for the last few hours ?? I have no idea how I out of all people managed enough strength to rip the thing off the wall but I did - it’s fixed now though, so I am browsing and filling the queue )

anonymous asked:

Lor!

mountain views, foggy mornings, warmly lit cafes, walking into a warm room when it’s really cold outside, ivy climbing up a wall, warm woodsy cabins, making hot chocolate late at night, aviator jackets, curly hair 

no more names please ! 

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