Bought as an escape from one family’s busy London lives, this house in the Cotswolds embodies everything they were looking for: a serene space with plenty of scope for entertaining.
The oldest part of the house was built in 1650, but additions were made two centuries later. Although the property was in a need of a little modernisation, the couple were determined not to lose the inherent character of the house in the process. The key was to create a harmonious scheme that would unite its different period features, but with no furniture or preconceptions about decorating style, the place was effectively a blank canvas.
‘We knew we wanted the style to be sympathetic to the age of the building, but at the contemporary end of that,’ say the owners.
The limestone bricks, local to the area, and beam details endow this Cotswold property with a rustic charm that makes guests even more eager to step inside!
A welcome sense of calm washes over you as you step inside the impressive, double-height hallway of this Cotswolds home. A wide staircase sweeps up on side of the double-height space, which is painted a rich shade of moss green – a colour that became the keynote for the palette throughout the rest of the house. With a fire burning brightly in the hearth beneath the staircase, there’s an all-encompassing air of comfort and relaxation that works from the centre of the house outwards.
Elegant seating is arranged in front of the vast stone fireplace, making this – and conversation – the focus of this calm space. Limed wooden furniture and rough-hewn flooring contrasts with the velvety smooth upholstery. The walls are painted a softer shade of the mossy hallway colour. ‘That green tone, and everything branching off it, is crucial to the continuity of the design, so while the room shapes vary quite wildly, the journey through the house feels comfortable,’ says the owners’ designer.
Comfort – both aesthetic and physical – was essential for the owners as they often have friends and family to stay. This is quite a big house, and it would be easy for it to seem imposing but ‘we didn’t want people to come and feel that they couldn’t sit down because it would mess up the cushions,’ they say. This second living room is less formal than the sitting room, and is where the family watch TV and relax.
Pairing painted tongue-and-groove wall panelling with white-wooden furniture creates a Shaker-style dining room with a crisp modern-country style. The sizeable sideboard creates a dedicated home for storing tableware and dining essentials, while vintage-style white-and-chrome wall lamps are carefully placed to shed an atmospheric glow on gloomy days or for evening meals.
Situated in the older part of the house, the kitchen has lower ceilings so, with the exception of the double oven that’s been fitted into a snug alcove, the owners chose to only use base units. This means the space feels airier as, at eye-level, the pale walls are free from clutter. A sizeable island unit makes up for any lost storage space, and doubles as a relaxed breakfast bar, too.
Several rooms were repurposed to suit the owners’ lifestyle – this boot room was created from an old storeroom, while a section of the old kitchen was separated to create a dedicated utility area. ‘We lead an outdoor lifestyle when we’re at this house – we go on lots of walks, ride horses and cycle,’ say the owners, so this room gets a lot of use for storing dirty shoes and outdoor gear.
The original mullioned windows are a beautiful feature in the master bedroom, and so the décor draws on this, rather than redirecting attention too much to other elements. Warm creams and browns echo the tones of the stonework, while layers of warm textures and nature-inspired patterns give this room a soothing and inviting feel.
One of the original five bedrooms was sacrificed to create this bathroom for the master bedroom. Located in front of the fire and with views of the garden beyond, the beautiful slipper bath creates a subtly decadent vibe. Classic chrome fittings, and a lack of clutter or ornamentation, keep the look clean and light, putting the focus firmly on relaxation.
Stairs lead down from the guest bedroom into this space, which is simply furnished with a hand-painted vanity unit. Built-in shelving keeps fluffy white towels neat and tidy, while subtle variations of blue and grey paints create depth on walls, panelling and bathroom furniture.
Previously rather dark and gloomy, the spacious attic room has been transformed with white-painted beams and a fresh dove-grey palette. The neutral backdrop means it will be easy to adapt as the couple’s son grows up. As in the kitchen, the storage is kept at a low level to ensure the room feels spacious, rather than cluttered. This space – and the house itself – is great for a growing child. ‘It’s lovely to see our son grow up learning about nature and wildlife, and using his imagination rather than looking at a screen,’ say the owners. ‘We’re very lucky.’
This house tour originally appeared in Homes & Gardens, January 2017