MAKING A CONNECTION
Judith and Chris Streatfeild found an innovative way to join a farmhouse and a barn, with striking results
Horses and sheep graze in the meadows surrounding Judith and Chris Streatfeild’s 17-acre farm in Cumbria, where Chris manages a stock of 6,000 free-range hens and 2,500 pigs.
The couple were both brought up on farms, so they were delighted when Chris had the opportunity to buy this property from his parents. ‘The farmhouse needed updating and the barn was crumbling,’ recalls Judith, ‘ but the potential was obvious and the location idyllic with unspoilt views over Cumbrian hills towards the Solway Firth.’
The pair began by modernising the farmhouse, untouched since the 1970s, upgrading bathrooms, plumbing, electrics, windows, doors, building a porch and installing wooden floors. They also removed a wall that divided what was a front parlour and old kitchen. At that point, they turned their attention to the barn.
‘It was separated from the farmhouse by a courtyard and filled with farm machinery and cow stalls,’ says Judith. ‘ We realised it was big enough to divide into a holiday cottage and provide us with a new kitchen, master bedroom and en suite. our big challenge was how to link the two buildings once this work was done.’
Flicking through TV channels one evening they found a solution. ‘We came across a property programme that featured a contemporary glass atrium linking two older properties not dissimilar from our own,’ explains Judith. ‘ We had been trying to think of ways to avoid creating one long traditional stone building and this was our
answer.’ Very soon, the pair had engaged an architect and builder to realise their vision.
There was one wobbly moment in the planning stages, when a surveyor suggested that the barn might date back to the time of Hadrian’s Wall. ‘Fortunately, Chris reminded him that farmers through the ages had a habit of picking up loose stones from its broken ramparts to use in their building projects,’ says Judith. ‘There are limits on what you can do with a listed barn, so not qualifying was, in fact, a relief.’
Two amendments to the original plans greatly enhanced the end result. ‘ We asked the builders to reinforce the apex of the atrium to give us more glass and less metal,’ says Judith. ‘Secondly, instead of joining the farmhouse landing to the master bedroom via a narrow corridor, we created a mezzanine with a reading area over the dining room.’
Taking her cue from the contemporary style of the atrium, Judith had furniture made for the dining room using wood from a felled oak on the farm, with the coffee table in the snug also from the same tree. A mix of rich and faded colours work well in relaxed look Judith has chosen, as evidenced in the simple Shaker-style of the kitchen. ‘The farmyard is such a busy place that I prefer to create a calm interior.’
The couple’s home now has an easy flow and plenty of light. ‘It’s a great party space because there’s a smooth transition between rooms,’ says Judith. ‘It never feels crowded when we have guests but, at the same time, we don’t rattle around when it’s just the two of us. Reworking the space has created a wonderful sense of equilibrium.’
best buy ‘We bought inexpensive kitchen cupboards and upgraded them with smart handles – this left us with more to spend on bespoke pieces elsewhere’
FAMILY Room Accents of green and motifs with a natural theme lend a fresh feel to this scheme. Metal tree, £80, Garden cottage interiors. Maharani table, £229, john lewis, is comparable
KITCHEN Black surfaces and bar stools give the classic Shaker-style cream units a modern edge. the deluxe Baceno bar stool, £120, simply Bar stools, is a good option BATHROOM A gently curved claw-foot bath adds a traditional note to this space. duchess...
dining Room The bespoke furniture was made from an oak tree that had fallen in the grounds. Table, £ 4,800; chairs, £860 each, both Daniel Lacey. Walls painted in Juniper ash absolute matt emulsion, £ 42 per 2.5 litres, Little greene
Snug The blind fabric echoes the rich hues of the batik cushions. arpage cushions in Rust, £29 each, india Jane
guest bedroom Shelves display a collection of Judith’s favourite shoes. Merete curtains, £25, ikea. agatha large cushion cover, £54, oka. turquoise sells an armchair like this one, £247
MASTER bedroom Features such as the balcony (left) and the original pitched roof add to this room’s charm. Bed and bedside tables, price on request, Garden cottage interiors. soft throw with pom poms, £150, Nordic House