Objects and furnishings from far-flung places come together in Claire Rendall and Peter Stewart’s characterful country home
Treasures from around the world give this house in Bath a sophisticated international look
Sitting on an acre of land, Claire Rendall’s home enjoys uninterrupted views across the Box Valley in Wiltshire, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The house, which is built of mellow Bath stone, was extensively altered 25 years ago. ‘You could tell the owner had done it with passion,’ says Claire, an interior designer. ‘I loved the scale of the rooms, as well as the stone mullion windows and flagstone floors.’
By the time Claire and her partner Peter Stewart moved in, the property was in need of updating. The house was decorated in rather oppressive shades of mustard, cold blue and dark pink, while the garden was a tangle of brambles and ground elder. For Claire, it was a case of adapting the rooms to suit her sensibility. ‘My business means that I’m often travelling overseas, so I’m gradually working my way through the rooms. There’s no great rush,’ she explains.
The couple started with the kitchen, as it was ‘particularly miserable’, with its stripped pine cupboards, chipped tile worktops and dingy yellow walls. The room has been transformed with units in a pale palette of soft grey topped with luxurious Carrara marble that maximise the light.
With its chequered grey-and-white painted floorboards and Swedish-style furniture, the elegant dining room has a Gustavian aesthetic. In the sitting room, the mood is different again, with fine walnut antiques and classic, buttoned sofas rubbing shoulders with Australian Aboriginal art and Indian statuary. ‘I love so many different styles that I didn’t feel that I had to stick to just one,’ explains Claire. ‘I wanted the rooms to be individual and distinctive from each other.’
What comes across everywhere is Claire’s passion for collecting art and intriguing objects. Two recent acquisitions, bought at auction, are a striking Marco Zanini fruit bowl and a vase by Ettore Sottsass, both of which belonged to the late David Bowie. Other favourite additions include the tiles in the dining room fireplace, which Claire has painted in Delft style. Closer inspection reveals that each one has a picture that is meaningful to the couple. ‘I’m enjoying adding my own personal touches,’ says Claire. ‘That’s a lovely privilege because I’m used to considering a client’s needs. This time, I get to think about my own.’
DINING ROOM The tin tile ceiling lends a modern edge to this Gustavian-style scheme. Interior design by Claire Rendall. Brooklyn Tin Tiles wallpaper, £219 per roll, Rockett St George. Raffaella table, £1,048; similar oval-back chairs, £305 each, both...
2& 3 MASTER EN SUITE A monochrome palette beautifully complements the Ettore Sottsass vase and bronze sculpture. Brink sculpture, cathy lewis at spike island. try Wallpaper store for a Bitossi calice vase, £657. orla bath, £ 400, Better Bathrooms....
1 CLOAKROOM A moody wallpaper injects a sense of drama into this compact space. Nuvolette wallpaper from the fornasetti ii collection, £255 per roll, cole & son