New life and sumptuous style have been brought to this family home, thanks to a sensitive understanding of the building and a creative approach to interior design.
The owner, an interior designer and her husband, bought the Regency Gothic former rectory as a fixer-upper five years ago, after failing for its impressive architecture and lofty ceilings. They live here with their three teenage children, so they ensured this home with become a suitable place for the whole family to lay down their roots. A number of structural adjustments were required, but the spacious ground floor layout was instantly appealing. 'The arrangements of the rooms here made a lot of sense, but there was still plenty of work to do.' explains the owner 'When you're renovating your own house, it's incredibly special. We took our time, to get it exactly right for us. Rich textures and a colour palette of deep purple, orange and sage green create a welcome sense of warmth in this north-facing room.'
The impressive storm-porch has fabulous Gothic architecture which is in turn enhanced with richly patterned marble and elegant grey painted doors. The darker the shade of grey, the more moody and dramatic is perfect for the period features. Two neatly trimmed Bay Laurel trees on either side of the doors complete the smart entrance with a sense of symmetry.
The inviting hallway makes a great first impression. Just inside the front door a heavy lined curtain keeps out the cold in winter and looks refined against elegant blue-grey walls. Wood and marble additions create a sense of drama that echoes the elaborate Regency Gothic architecture of this charming Hampshire home.
Warming log fires and festive gatherings are standard fare in the large living room. The idea of marrying old and new and exploring the nature of contrast are recurring themes throughout, demonstrating a masterful respect for the 19th-century heritage with a 21st-century twist. 'Everything has been meticulously considered. This is far from being a predictable country house. We wanted to embrace the unexpected.'
The generous proportions and brightness lend themselves to richer, darker tones with standout fabrics and a glittering crystal chandelier. 'I love the calmness of the sitting room, but this is a livelier space so it needed striking embellishment. The house would feel a bit blank otherwise.'
The large shaker kitchen is arranged into preparation, cooking and eating spaces. A kitchen needs to be functional, but when you're catering for a family it also needs to be practical. Here, the generous dining table seats ten people. Regency style mixes successfully with country elements. The owner describes this elegant yet informal look as 'grand rustic'.
As well as raising the ceiling on a dreary corridor, an external storeroom was absorbed into the property resulting in a smart, utilitarian boot room. A country house such as this would always have had a boot room, so it was logical to incorporate what was originally outside storage into the back of the property for this purpose.
The master bedroom boasts beautiful antique furniture combined with 20th-century British and modern art. The owner used a skillful blend of textured linen wallpaper in neutral tones with layers of muted reds and blues to bring subtle interest to this soothing yet contemporary scheme. The wallpaper complements the periwinkle blue headboard and berry-coloured bedding to inject warmth into the space. 'Ultimately, I wanted the house to feel comfortable, and for people to be at ease here.'
Continuing the traditional theme, the guest bedroom is perfectly balanced. An elegant bed is dressed well with pure white linen and a few splashes of colour and pattern on the headboard and soft furnishings. Matching accessories create a pleasing sense of symmetry in this room, accentuated by the saffron cushions that stand out against the otherwise muted scheme.
This calming children's bedroom works for any gender or age. The room is a masterclass in how to mix colours, styles and patterns effectively with a mix of French-style furniture and lively artwork which introduces a fresh, modern feel.
The owner has eschewed contemporary bathroom style in favour of a more personal, classic look with a unit that she designed herself and family heirlooms, including the patterned rug and British artwork. The spacious twin vanity blends beautifully into the room thanks to the matching tongue and groove on the walls.
'The biggest challenge was to make it feel like home. Thankfully, I think we succeeded.'
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Rachel Homer has been in the interiors publishing industry for over 15 years. Starting as a Style Assistant on Inspirations Magazine, she has since worked for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines and websites. After starting a family, she moved from being a content editor at Idealhome.co.uk to be a digital freelancer and hasn’t looked back.
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