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The owners of this six-bedroom country house run their own businesses, one in interior design and the other in London commodities trading. They share the property with their two children. ‘We’re really looking forward to Christmas in our house this year,’ they say.
‘The last time we spent it here we had no electricity because of storms and we had to sit in darkness. The Aga went off, so we barbecued the turkey. We’re hoping that the celebrations go more smoothly this year!’
The beautiful country house has undergone substantial renovation since the owners moved in 10 years ago. They made the move to London so their children would enjoy a rural upbringing and plumped for Surrey to be within commuting distance of London.
'We loved this house when we saw it and, although it was dated and needed to be brought into the 21st century, we knew what we could do with it.' The work was done in phases and the owners concentrated on the left-hand side of the house first, knocking down walls, moving a chimney breast and updating the plumbing and electrics. The exterior was made prettier with white render and wall-hung tiles while, back inside, bedrooms were decorated and an en-suite dressing room and bathroom added. The second phase involved the addition of a large extension.
Here, their fabulously decorated Christmas tree provides the warmest of welcomes in the hall.
Similar radiator cabinet
Bring a contemporary edge to a classic country kitchen with chic modern light fittings. The owners have chosen industrial-style, copper-lined pendants in painted black to contrast with the traditional cabinets. Sink, plate rack and wall and baseline units are brought together by wood panelling to create a cohesive dresser-like bank of storage. Their decision to go for a marble worktop with upstand is a practical choice for a sink that lacks a traditional tiled splashback.
Go for an island unit in a shade that contrasts with the main kitchen cabinetry. The owners' switch of colour from country cream to gunmetal grey helps to signpost a change of function at the centre of the room. The black range cooker marks a similar transition. They have also hung a trio of pendant lights, which demarcates the main food prep space further.
Arrange a dining table and chairs facing a window. In their kitchen-diner the owners can sit at farmhouse table look through French doors into their beautiful garden and the countryside beyond. 'We love the fact we can walk out of our back door and straight on to miles of footpaths.'
Get relaxed coastal style with clean-cut and elegantly simple New England style. 'My mother is American and I'm influenced by my roots.' Make it cosy for the winter with sofas upholstered in tactile fabric and a smart woodburner. Keep the rest of the scheme pale and interesting with oyster coloured walls and light oak flooring. The style naturally has a very country-chic look, with painted wood or wicker furniture and simple accessories, meaning it is easy to recreate the look yourself.
Ensure the room is a cosy retreat on a winter's day with a roaring fire. 'We've given it personality with books, antiques and paintings. It's important to make a house feel lived-in and cosy.' Place a comfy chair within warming distance of the flames and snuggle up with a good book and a mince pie. Dress the mantelpiece with layers of fresh ivy, holly and pine cones for a festive feel come Christmas.
At the heart of this effortlessly elegant scheme is a French bed. A grand bed can completely transform the look and feel of a bedroom. It has been layered up with plush cushions in different shapes and sizes in similar tones and subtle patterns. Look to antique fairs and vintage markets for classic French finds.
Dress your scheme in a modern country classic style. Rounded curves, softness and comfort make a fabric-covered bed the ultimate in lavish luxury. Here a pretty country scheme combines with a French influence. Whether you're a fan of Parisian chic or traditional country style, an upholstered bed is an opportunity to add another later of pattern. The frame has been customised with paint and an antique finish to add further appeal.
Channel the laid-back coastal vibe of The Hamptons with a bathroom scheme that won't rock the boat. For chic nautical style, stick to shades of sand and sky blue in subtle stripes or sketch-style prints of boats, fish, birds and beach huts. Smart blue and white stripes are a New England design staple. East Coast style is captured here with nautical accessories, tongue-and-groove and a freestanding bath.