The owner found her perfect home, as well as a wealth of inspiration, when she moved to an idyllic rural farmhouse
With its pretty brick and white clapboard exterior and garden featuring swathes of cow parsley, the owners’ picture-postcard home in Hertfordshire is the epitome of the perfect rural idyll. The family’s move to the country came about nearly 10 years ago. The owner and her husband were living in the centre of a busy town at the time, where their children were at school.
She had started her own art business, but was finding it difficult to be creative as where they were living was quite cramped and noisy, so she and her husband started looking for a new house. The search was to take some time. ‘I had grown up in the countryside by the sea,’ says the owner.
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‘I wanted the children to experience a country childhood as I had, and I wanted somewhere peaceful to inspire my art.’ When she spotted the farmhouse on the market, it ticked all the boxes. ‘It reminded me of my childhood home – and when we came to view it I fell in love with it instantly. We had an Enid Blyton moment when we brought the children to see the house and they all ran in and chose their bedrooms.’
The house had recently been renovated so there wasn’t much structural work to be done. She was keen to put her creative stamp on the interior, however. ‘I love shabby-chic style and thought it was perfect for a big, bustling family house. We bought some country furniture – mainly pieces from antiques fairs – that were in keeping with the age of the house.
A neutral palette was chosen as I think muted colours create a sense of peace and calm in a home. I also like neutrals because they’re the ideal showcase for my paintings. My wildlife art is a way of bringing the natural world into my home, while the coastal-themed pictures in the kitchen are a nod to my seaside roots.’
Work was also done to the garden. ‘I bought a henhouse immediately, as well as a beehive and a duckhouse for the pond. Wildflower areas were created in the lawn to encourage wildlife into the garden as I love to draw the creatures they attract.’
The countryside surrounding the house has greatly influenced the family’s way of life. ‘There are incredible far-reaching views as we live on top of a hill, so we have amazing sunsets and fantastic air quality,’ says the owner. ‘When the wind whistles around the windows it reminds me of my childhood home! I love the movement of nature and I’m attuned to birdsong. There is a sharp contrast to the seasons and we appreciate that here. We’ve become involved in the farming cycles around us.
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‘I wanted to live in a rural location and now we’re surrounded by wildlife, which is very inspiring for me as an artist. We have our own eggs, our orchard and we make our own apple juice. We spend a lot of time in the garden and the children love the summerhouse. I also enjoy that it’s pitch black here at night and that there’s no traffic.
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‘The house has given the children an idyllic childhood, as well as space to breathe and relax. It’s spacious and rambling, and we have lots of room to pursue our own interests, which is great as we are a very creative family. It’s been the best move we could have made.’
This house tour originally featured in Country Homes & Interiors, May 2018.