A 19th-Century house that was boarded up and scheduled for demolition has won a coveted conservation award.
By Gill Oliver, Oxford Times
Ivydene, a detached Gothic building in Iffley Road, was designed in 1884 for a tailor who owned a shop in St Aldales. After being used as university lodgings and a hotel in the 1920s, it was converted into flats in the 1940s. But it later fell into disrepair and was under threat of being knocked down several times during the past decade.
Oxford-based Lucy Properties, part of w. Lucy & Co, bought the building in 2007 for £800,000 according to records and commissioned Riach Architects and Coopers Construction to restore the exterior and convert the interior into nine apartments.
The company spent more than £1m on restoring the property with Witney-based Jill Treloggen Interiors supplying the furnishings. Custom-built railings and gates were commissioned from sister company Sandawana Castings, also of Witney, to recreate how the front of the house would have looked in Victorian times.
A contemporary extension was added to the back and the basement was extended down and to the side.
Now the Oxford Preservation Trust has awarded the project a 2010 Building Conservation Plaque for ‘exemplary’ work.
Victoria Birnage, of Lucy Properties said: “We are extremely proud of the upgrade that we carried out on the property. At one point plans to demolish it weren’t successful, the property remained remained boarded up for a number of years. We carried out extensive renovation and repairs and worked with a number of highly skilled craftsmen to ensure that we did the house justice. The facade and replacement of the railings has restored Ivydene to its former glory and the Preservation Trust hopes that the property will act as a catalyst in the Iffley Road conservation area.”
Ivydene includes seven one-bedroomed and two two-bedroomed apartments that are furnished and have had tenants in since last September. Rents range from £825-£1130 per month.
Ms Birnage added; “It was a bit of a gamble because it was the first property Lucy’s had purchased as a renovation project and with so much work needing to be done on it, we were unsure whether we would be able to restore it to the standard we hoped. However the gamble paid off and having received an award from the Oxford Preservation Trust, we are extremely proud of what has been achieved and hope Ivydene acts as a benchmark for other properties in the area.”