A PE­RIOD RO­MANCE This listed townhouse in West Sus­sex was lov­ingly re­stored

Rose­marie Fraser lov­ingly turned a fea­ture-filled for­mer lawyer’s of­fice into a chic re­treat, brim­ming with ex­quis­ite touches

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture MAG­GIE Colvin pho­tog­ra­phy ROBERT San­der­son

When Rose­marie Fraser fell in love with a pretty Ge­or­gian townhouse in West Sus­sex, mov­ing out of Lon­don was far from her mind. ‘I was sim­ply on a sight­see­ing tour with a friend from abroad, who wanted to see ex­am­ples of typ­i­cal English houses,’ she says, ‘ but I spot­ted a For Sale sign out­side this el­e­gant prop­erty and it changed the course of my life.’

Lo­cated in an old mar­ket town, where cob­bled streets lead to an an­cient cas­tle over­look­ing an un­spoilt land­scape, the house made a per­ma­nent im­pres­sion on Rose­marie. So, a few days later, af­ter her first view­ing, she put her flat in Rich­mond on the mar­ket. ‘The irony is, I al­ways imag­ined that if I moved to the coun­try­side, a se­cluded gar­den and a park­ing spot would be non-ne­go­tiables,’ she re­flects. ‘This house had nei­ther, but its beau­ti­ful fea­tures won my heart in­stead.’

Once used as a lawyer’s of­fice, the pe­riod prop­erty still had many of its orig­i­nal de­tails, in­clud­ing cor­nices, doors and fire­places. The pre­vi­ous owner had in­stalled wooden floor­ing and an ad­di­tional room fea­tur­ing an apex roof, which Rose­marie now uses as an of­fice. ‘Mak­ing it my own was rel­a­tively easy,’ she says.

Hav­ing in­her­ited sev­eral fine an­tique pieces from her fam­ily, Rose­marie was able to com­bine these trea­sures with up­cy­cled fur­ni­ture and mod­ern clas­sics, such as Per­spex ta­bles and chairs, to strik­ing ef­fect. ‘Putting to­gether an eclec­tic style has its pit­falls,’ she says. ‘I dis­cov­ered that mix­ing dif­fer­ent nat­u­ral woods can look messy, but high-qual­ity an­tiques and con­tem­po­rary touches usu­ally sit well to­gether.’ To link her golden mar­quetry an­tiques with sleek, mod­ern shapes, Rose­marie in­vested in burnt um­ber silk cush­ions, which matched the colour of the wood while soften­ing the clean lines of the fur­ni­ture.

De­spite hav­ing three lively three grand­sons – Thomas, 13, James, 11, and Wil­liam, 6 – who of­ten bring in mud from

the gar­den, aided by their Stafford­shire bull ter­rier, Dex­ter, Rose­marie’s love of white rooms has not di­min­ished since she dec­o­rated her first home. ‘A white back­ground never dates – pale rooms al­ways look fresh and glam­orous to my eyes, es­pe­cially if you add a hint of gold, like the lovely plates I found on hol­i­day in Thai­land,’ she muses. ‘Blue and white is an­other favourite colour com­bi­na­tion of mine.’

In the din­ing room, she fash­ioned a table­cloth and chair cush­ions from a blue striped linen fab­ric for an el­e­gant and in­for­mal ef­fect, a mo­tif re­peated in the mas­ter bed­room scheme. The draw­ing room fea­tures rust and red vel­vet cush­ions to in­ject warmth. ‘They also help high­light the splash of colour in the stained glass win­dows,’ ex­plains Rose­marie.

Part of the ground floor al­ready ac­com­mo­dated a sep­a­rate flat when Rose­marie moved in. ‘This is a huge as­set, be­cause I reg­u­larly have friends to stay and I like them to feel in­de­pen­dent,’ she ex­plains. ‘They can make their own cof­fee and get out of bed when they want.’

In her of­fice, Rose­marie opted for a con­tem­po­rary look, with a Per­spex desk and leather chair. ‘Plants thrive be­hind the tall glass doors, which make the room feel like a con­ser­va­tory, es­pe­cially as I like to fill the win­dows with dif­fer­ent fo­liage,’ she says. ‘This room has the best view of the gar­den.’

Rose­marie’s fi­nal project will be the trans­for­ma­tion of her gar­den room, due for an im­mi­nent up­grade. ‘My grand­chil­dren will have a say, no doubt, be­cause it will be a per­fect place for them to play on rainy days, as well as a peace­ful spot for me to dine in on warm evenings. Mov­ing here might not have been planned, but it’s the best de­ci­sion I’ve ever made.’

Din­ing room This el­e­gant area that leads off the kitchen has an ethe­real feel. For a sim­i­lar chan­de­lier, try the Clarence, £850, In­dia Jane. linen 25 Stripe in In­digo/peony table­cloth, £ 42.50m, Ian Mankin. The chair cov­ers were made up by Fal­con Fab­rics,

DRAW­ING ROOM Rose­marie has added gold and cop­per ac­cents to a tran­quil white pal­ette. Plain Ar­page cush­ions in Rust, £37.50 each, In­dia Jane. Pat­terned Chiara cush­ion, £82; Canna throw, £174, both Oka

OF­FICE Glaz­ing right up to the apex roof en­sures Rose­marie’s study is filled with nat­u­ral light. For a sim­i­lar Per­spex desk, try the Puro, £399, Dwell

KITCHEN Shaker-style units cre­ate a cosy, coun­try feel. Cab­i­netry painted in Blue Grass eggshell, £55 per 2.5 litres, The Paint Col­lec­tion at Fired Earth

BED­ROOM The bed and built-in head­board are set at an an­gle on a plat­form to en­joy the best view out­side. estrella bed­spread, £225; Agatha cush­ion, £54, both oka. bed­side ta­ble, £65, home­sense

BATH­ROOM Gold ac­cents and an Art Nou­veau print lend an air of lux­ury. Try the or­lando corner bath, £270, Vic­to­rian Plumb­ing

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