Bowness lakeside house for �5million

One of the last family homes on the shores of Lake Windermere is up for sale. Amanda Griffiths takes a look inside the idyllic 16th century property

As Pippa Colman describes growing up at Old Fallbarrow, on the shore of Lake Windermere, you can’t help feeling it must have been a perfect childhood.

Days spent running around in the long grass, swimming in the lake from the private jetty - what more could a child want?

This Swallows and Amazons lifestyle was also enjoyed by Pippa’s three boys. Just imagine being a teenager able to roll out of bed and windsurf on the lake with your friends before most people’s days have even begun?

While most can only imagine, others will soon be able to experience this Lakeland idyll as Old Fallbarrow goes up for sale.

With its origins in the 16th century, this is not only one of the oldest houses in Bowness, but its probably one of the few family-owned homes left on the shoreline. Of course, its uniqueness means it comes with a substantial price tag - somewhere around �4 million.

The decision to sell the Grade II listed property, built in the 16th century, ends an era for the Colmans - Pippa and Russell, who live in the property with their three sons, Rudi 16, Ollie 15 and Barnaby 10 as well as Pippa’s mother, June Rothwell.

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‘It was wonderful growing up here,’ says Pippa. ‘It’s hard to say exactly what I’ll miss. Really, I’ve known no different and neither have the boys.

‘I do know that if I’ve been away for a few days I get a bit homesick and can’t wait to be back here.

‘I think the thing that really makes the house special is the location. It’s amazing - we’re not cut off but you feel as if you are. This is an oasis in the heart of Bowness.

‘I also love the quirkiness of the house. I love the sound the old fashioned latches on the doors make; the flag floors - most of which I think are original; the original beams and low ceilings. It’s a house with character and is full of good karma.’

It is certainly full of character, but it also has a couple of beautiful original features as a reminder of the house’s past. Take for example the listed court cupboard in June’s sitting room, currently used as drinks cabinet, but which still has the two doors that servants would have passed things � through to the sitting room from the passageway running down the side of the kitchen. The sitting room also has original spice drawers in the wall by the fireplace and an old bread cupboard in the corner of the room.

Unfortunately, not a lot of the history of the house is known despite Pippa’s best efforts. She is fairly certain it would have been a farmhouse in its early days and is quite convinced it has always been one property.

In the Colman’s kitchen you can see the space where the old range would have been and the family bathroom features a roll top bath as well as an old fashioned chain that flushes the toilet, a feature that often fools guests looking for a handle.

The wooden staircase splits off into two directions, one up to the second story; the other blocked up. Pippa suggests this could once have been a doorway into what is now the family bathroom which she believes might have once been a maid’s bedroom.

Each of the rooms also has a fireplace; some just boast the chimney and not the fireplace itself, but if people buying the property wanted to put them back, the Colman’s have them all stored away ‘out back’ ready and waiting.

The Colman’s history with the house began 50 years ago when Pippa’s mother and father moved to Bowness.

‘Dad wanted to start a boat business and managed to get a boat house in Bowness Bay and they looked for somewhere to live,’ she says.

‘This place had belonged to an old lady who’d lived here with her servants. It was quite dark but slowly over the years my parents began to do it up. They were renting the property until about eight years ago.

‘The house was owned by a family trust over in Selby. They’d owned it since the 1800s, I think. They would come over once a year to visit and every year dad would ask them if there was a chance of buying it. They always said no. Then, eight years ago my dad died and two months after one of the family trust members died and it was decided that they would sell this house to release more money into the trust.

‘We spent a whole year negotiating the price and that’s when Russell and I moved into this side of the house. Before that we’d lived in the cottage next door, which is now Russell’s art studio.’

The main house features two sitting rooms and kitchens, one each for the Colman’s and one for June as the family felt it important for her to maintain her own private space as well as four bedrooms upstairs, plus a master bedroom suite with dressing room and en suite bathroom as well as the family bathroom.

There is over an acre and a half of land, including a private jetty down to the lake where Pippa currently runs a dinghy mooring and char boat business. There are outhouses that could be converted into an artist’s studio and the current studio could be turned back into a holiday cottage. Old Fallbarrow, on sale with Carter Jonas, has a lot of possibilities for a new owner.

The end of an era it might be, but it’s also an exciting turn for the Colmans who don’t plan to move too far away from the lake. Pippa hopes they will find Old Fallbarrow a suitable new owner, who will love the quirkiness of the house as much as she does.

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