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It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a house comes up for sale in the village where Jane Austen once lived, you’re going to want to take a look. Dower House is a truly unique proposition, sitting in the heart of the Chawton, east Hampshire.
The village, famous for being Jane Austen’s home for the last eight years of her life, was where the author is believed to have put the finishing touches to the majority of her novels including Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma and Sense & Sensibility.
If you’ve ever wondered about the surroundings that inspired the love story of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, this is your chance to check them out.
Austen’s most famous heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet and Elinor Dashwood, were usually smart and practical, much like the outside of this home.
The property dates all the way back to 1450, when it was original a timbered hall house. However it was upgraded in 1840 to included a beautiful regency facade, and a mock Tudor facade was added in 1890.
There are two entrances into the property, but this more humble hallway is our favourite. The space is light and airy thanks to the added window pane above the door and light walls. However, what really caught our eye is the picture on the wall. Is that Mr Darcy that we spy?
While the rest of the house has retained many of its period features, the kitchen has been tastefully modernised to include an Aga and a cooking island with a breakfast bar.
The dolly maid over the Aga might be a hangover from an earlier era, but it certainly comes in handy for warming socks and gloves in the depths of winter. The duck egg blue cabinets fit in perfectly with the elegant ambience throughout the rest of the house.
This dining room might now be preserved for Christmas dinner and other special occasions, but we can imagine Jane Austen sitting at a desk just like this, scribbling away with a freshly sharpened quill. It would be hard not to be inspired when looking out of the window across the green landscape of Hampshire.
We would happily settle down in this living room with a good book while the fire crackles in the background. The hearth dates to 1600, when it was installed as a large cooking fireplace.
The original brick floor can still be found underneath the carpet. It might not be as cosy but if the new owners chose to expose it, it would certainly add character.
A bathroom this elegant would definitely have had Mrs Bennet swooning, especially that spacious bath that would have done wonders for her poor nerves. The neutral colour palette creates a light bathroom, and is in contrast to the stunning Crittall-style windows.
The house is available for £1,750,000 with Savills.
Would you be tempted to follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps?