House of dreams
PUBLISHED: 13:15 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:23 20 February 2013
Kevin Lescenko's talent for spotting precious antiques helped him pick out this stunning 16th century property in Maldon and transform it into a family home
A CHANCE meeting with a friend at an auction in Suffolk was the beginning of a huge project for Kevin and Anna Lescenko. A change that took them from a two-bedroom cottage to a spacious family home originally built in the late 1500s.
Kevin had commented years before how he loved The Old Court House in Maldon. And when he was told it was on the market he made the journey to view his dream house that same day.
'It was almost unbelievable to think that something as old as this could be in such good structural condition,' says Kevin. With 20 years of experience as a surveyor, Kevin should know and that left him in no doubt. 'I didn't want to lose it so I put an offer in straight away,' Kevin adds. With many more trips to auctions across the country in the 17 years since Kevin's impulsive purchase, he is still very happy with his buy.
'The original part of the house is 16th century and has retained many beautiful features such as the mullion window and exposed Tudor chimney,' says Kevin who has lovingly restored many parts of the house.
The house was originally built as offices, so has more rooms than you would expect of a house of this size and age. Each of the bedrooms are of good size and have individual features, some with fantastic views over the east coast.
At the top of the house is the smallest of the bedrooms. 'I love this room,' says Anna, 'because of the exposed Tudor chimney made from rich red bricks which gives the room a cosy feel.'
Milan, Kevin and Anna's 16-year-old son, has a huge brass bed in his beamed bedroom with the walls covered by the work of Arthur Briscoe, an Essex artist who captured nautical scenes with great emotion.
Each room throughout the house claims a different style and the master bedroom is no exception. Contrasts of classic furniture and a contemporary bedspread work well in this very sunny room with beautiful views over the walled garden.
At the front of the house is another room which Kevin uses to house his incredible collections. 'I have always enjoyed collecting,' explains Kevin, who has in his time collected many different things from birds eggs to a fantastic array of swords including a very grand 17th century Samurai warrior suit of armour. 'I bought this many years ago from a small sale in Essex, but he's now become part of the house and Milan loves him.'
The walls of the staircase which lead down to the ground floor are lined with more paintings and the hall itself has a very interesting feature. The front door of the house has a double skin. From the outside of the property you will see a panelled door but from the inside diagonal panels are laid on top of this, one would assume to give the original building added security.
To the left is the dining room. 'Although it is heavily beamed it is a warm room and a lovely size for entertaining,' explains Anna. 'It's actually one of my favourite parts of the house,' she adds.
Kevin does quite a bit of research into the origin of his collections and spends a lot of time reading about various artists and manufacturers. He does this in his study, a room with some fabulous pine panelling. On walking into the room you are greeted by the warm smell of furniture wax and the sight of the elegant fireplace and the grandfather clock beside it. 'The clock is one of four in the house,' says Kevin with a smile. 'I saw it and liked it, so a new collection was born.'
People often say that the hub of the house is the kitchen and this is certainly the case here. A large square room gives Anna lots of space to prepare food as well as providing Milan somewhere for homework or a casual meal. The bricks along the far wall were laid on their edges in a most decorative way adding great character to the already stylish room. 'It's taken nearly 20 years to get the house to this,' explains Kevin, 'but I still feel so lucky to have got it.'