First floor re-opens at Hinton Ampner
After three years of painstaking work, Hinton's first floor has finally re-opened. Previously filled with contents rescued from the attics after the horrific storms of 2014, the rooms have been lying dormant under dustsheets whilst the house underwent a huge roof restoration project. Now, you can once again enjoy these comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms decorated in Ralph Dutton's original style.
On 14 February 2014, disaster struck Hinton Ampner as a huge storm plucked sheets of metal from the roof and sent them smashing to the ground. The devastation was so great that Hinton's staff thought a plane had crashed in front of the house.
Throughout the ensuing three years of repair work to the roof, public support never wavered. Thousands of you came to watch the building works from our rooftop viewing platform, raising over £12,000 towards the repairs, which to-date have cost more than £500,000.
Hinton Ampner's owner Ralph Dutton entirely remodelled this, his childhood home, from a dark Victorian gothic country house in the 1930s. He transformed the house into a light-filled and elegant 20th-century home, but with the appearance of a Georgian country manor.
The rooms are all perfectly proportioned with every detail thought out to give his guests a comfortable stay in understated tasteful rooms as well as affording views out across the gardens and estate. Ralph meticulously designed the house, grounds and estate to seamlessly blend into each other, to create his rural idyll.
As you explore the homely rooms upstairs you'll discover Ralph’s collection of ceramics. As you head towards the master bedroom you will pass through the china corridor where he showcased some of his finest pieces of china. Amongst the collection shown in these cabinets are pieces by Wedgwood, Meissen and Spode.
Ralph’s en-suite bathroom complete with shower reflects his desire to include all the mod cons in his rebuilding of Hinton Ampner. Having grown up in the Victorian house built by his father which had 22 bedrooms and only one bathroom, Ralph’s bathroom is a display of lavish decadence in an otherwise understated suite of rooms.
The conservation work continues
But there is stll more work to do, to completely restore the rooms. Investigations from the roof restoration project revealed further issues with the south front of the house which is now prone to excessive leaking during bad weather. This is currently preventing the completion of the south bedroom, which began back in 2013.
You can find out all sorts of fascinating facts about Ralph's life at Hinton, his love of entertaining and his guests, from our knowledgeable room volunteers. We also host regular 'conservation in action' demonstrations throughout the year. This will include specific work in Ralph Dutton's bedroom in September. You'll be able to find out about some of the challenges we're facing in this room, and how we hope to tackle them.