Upper Ribsden, Chertsey Road, Windlesham, Surrey, GU20 6HX

House 6 Bedroom 6 Bathroom 1 Garage 27,000 ft2

Upper Ribsden, Chertsey Road, Windlesham, Surrey, GU20 6HX

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A truly stunning, new state-of-the-art mansion with separate detached entrance lodge, set in private landscaped grounds adjacent to Sunningdale Golf Course.

Accommodation includes

– 8 Reception Rooms
– 6 Main Bedroom Suites
– Staff Accommodation
– Underground Garaging
– Wine Room
– Swimming Pool and Leisure Complex with Cinema Room
– Tennis Court with Pavilion
– 4 Bedroom Lodge

Approximately 2,508 sq. m (27,000 sq. ft.)
In all approximately 6 acres

Octagon Developments Ltd. Martin Blazer, High Timbers

Living in a former barn has much to recommend it, but it doesn’t suit everyone. Carla Passino outlines the key issues that buyers should bear in mind

Could this be a listed building in 100 years’ time, wondered David Smith, Octagon’s head of marketing, as he cast an eagle eye over his firm’s newest trophy mansion, Upper Ribsden at Windlesham, Surrey, which launches on the market today at a guide price of ‘excess £25 million’, through Knight Frank. Why shouldn’t it be? The spectacular, 27,000sq ft. house, set in six acres of sculpted grounds in the woods around Sunningdale golf course, has taken five pains-taking years to build, and, unlike many of its grand Surrey neighbours, will surely still be standing a century from now.

The project has been a massive undertaking for Surrey-based Octagon, says chief designer Tony Taylor, who has been involved with every stage of the process, from concept to completion. Unlike the great designers of old, who only had to satisfy the demands of their rich clients, today’s builder must first navigate the minefield of UK planning regulations-a process that turned out to be more tortuous than usual in the case of Upper Ribsden. The previous occupant of the site was a dilapidated 1920s country house that had already attracted the attention of several developers, but their schemes had all been rejected by the time Octagon came along.

As Mr Taylor explains: ‘This is Surrey greenbelt, and the planners here don’t like anything above ground that’s higher than the building that previously existed on the site. So, to gain extra living space, we came up with the idea of creating a huge basement, a Mediterranean-style courtyard and a large horseshoe-shaped garden at the rear of the building. Today, that area houses a 13m (42ft) swimming pool, a games suite, a cinema, a state-of-the-art catering unit and wine cellar, staff quarters and an underground garage for up to six limousines. This was an extremely costly construction process, which involved excavating down to 20ft-or more in the case of the pool-and using the most expensive load-bearing and waterproof materials to avoid any risk of subsidence or leakage.’

Creating sufficient light within a large house is a problem,’ he continues. ‘I’ve always liked the use of glass and metal in Art Deco design, and we’ve used these materials to emphasise the feeling of light and space throughout the house, and link the interior with the outdoor terraces and surrounding landscape. We’ve made extensive use of marble, glass and mirrors-for example, in the curved glass of the bay windows to the front and rear; the glass balustrade on the curved marble staircase in the main entrance hall, with its signature two-storey, Italian-glass chandelier; and the ingenious ‘light tunnels’, disguised as chimneys, that throw light along the corridors of the first floor.’

The looking-glass theme is echoed in the glass-walled morning room that overlooks the terrace and grounds and in the wide, panelled-glass first-floor landing, in the mirrored lift doors, and especially in the master suite dressing room lined with Italian mirror cupboards, illuminated by Swarovski crystal lighting, and connected by a mirrored door to an equally glittering mirrored and marbled master bathroom.

Is the interior a bit too shiny for the average wealthy Briton? Even if it is, it probably doesn’t matter, given the strength of London’s booming international market. Upper Ribsden is aimed squarely at this marketplace, and it was interesting to learn that Mr Taylor and his team gleaned some of their design ideas from a Middle East sheikh who thought long and hard about buying the house, before deciding that it was too small to accommodate his family and numerous staff. Instead, he has commissioned Octagon to build him two houses on the prestigious Wentworth Estate.

Given Upper Ribsden’s close proximity to London, Heathrow and Surrey’s international schools, James Crawford of Knight Frank wouldn’t be surprised to see some rich private individual decide to pass on buying a house in the capital, and instead head straight for this family country home in Windlesham. As he reminds me, secluded Upper Ribsden, with its five large (but not massive) reception rooms, six bedroom suites, impressive leisure and entertaining facilities, staff cottage and beautifully planted gardens, was designed with a family in mind-albeit one with very deep pockets.

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07.12.2012 Discovered information relating to Upper Ribsden, from the information gleaned this property was marketed in March 2012