Bookcase has a secret

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There must be times when you’re in the middle of a meal and you wish the doorbell hadn’t just rung.

Shutting the dining room door before opening the front door never seems quite enough but a house on the market in Fareham has the situation covered, quite literally.

The entrance hall at Bembridge House in Osborn Road is configured as a library and behind one of the bookcases hides the door to the dining room. But unless you know which book acts as the handle you’ll be excluded from the inner sanctum.

Perhaps that feature really came into its own when Bembridge House operated as a very high class guest house, a past life that has left it with five very well appointed bedrooms, all of them en-suite and a superb kitchen.

This Victorian villa was originally a home for high-ranking military and naval officers and although it is two storey at the front, with an elegant turning staircase in the hall, the rear is three storey with a second staircase that once took the servants to their quarters and allowed access to the main accommodation without disturbing the family.

The grace and elegance of the 1860s, when it was built, have been retained with the double height triple front bays protected at ground floor level by a wrought iron-framed canopy with a glazed roof that forms the perfect veranda.

Even the front wall of this property is so perfect it’s Grade II-listed so it’s very much a house that starts as it means to go on when it comes to creating an impression. With more than 5,200 sq ft of living accommodation it is obviously large but the two storeys to the front have distinctive features such as picture rails, extensive period cornicing, and high ceilings that only add to the feeling of space.

Bembridge House has a beautifully tree-lined, lawned front garden with shrubs and patio affording privacy in a quiet space.

The paved area covers the whole front of the house to create the sheltered Veranda.

To the rear is an enclosed sunny garden which leads to four adjoining garages, these are currently used as sizeable workshops and storage spaces, and there is an abundance of off-street parking.

Guide price is £1m.

EPC Band D.

For more information, contact Fine and Country Southern Hampshire on (023) 9327 7277 or email