A BREATH OF FRESH AIR Two old cow sheds in the Cotswolds com­bine to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful mod­ern home

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS -

On the day that Richard Aw­bery com­pleted on his pur­chase of two empty cow barns in Glouces­ter­shire, he cel­e­brated by tak­ing his new girl­friend, Annabel, out to din­ner. To­day they both look back on that ro­man­tic first date with fond amaze­ment. ‘I was a born-and-bred Lon­don girl,’ says Annabel. ‘So I just couldn’t imag­ine what liv­ing in the depths of the coun­try­side could be like, but at least I knew from the very be­gin­ning that it was Richard’s in­ten­tion to live there per­ma­nently.

Fast for­ward a few years, and now the cou­ple live in the home that Richard ren­o­vated, along with their chil­dren Rollo, 5, Ot­tilia, 3, and Archie, 1. The chal­lenge of con­vert­ing the barns was some­thing that he rel­ished. ‘Richard cares about the finest de­tails,’ says Annabel, ‘even down to choos­ing rose­wood bee­hive door­knobs and spe­cial skirt­ing boards, which have made such a dif­fer­ence.’

To draw in the light and cre­ate space, the roofs of both barns had to be raised which meant tak­ing them apart, num­ber­ing each beam and re­assem­bling them like a gi­ant jig­saw puz­zle. ‘The build­ings were al­ready po­si­tioned at right an­gles to each other, so we ex­tended them and added a third side to en­close a grassy court­yard gar­den with a view onto the sur­round­ing fields and woods,’ ex­plains Richard. ‘All of the rooms con­nect to the court­yard through glazed fold­ing doors, so when we open them up on a sunny day, the chil­dren can sim­ply run out to play.’

As work pro­gressed, Laeti­tia Chap­man, an old school friend of Annabel’s, ar­rived to con­trib­ute her pro­fes­sional

ad­vice. ‘Laeti­tia was full of good ideas,’ says Annabel. ‘She helped me with fin­ish­ing touches and steered me onto the right tracks. I ini­tially wanted a blue kitchen, but she sug­gested a French grey-green, which was bet­ter suited to the house and went with my favourite fab­rics.’

Start­ing from scratch, Laeti­tia came up with schemes to en­sure a crisper, more mod­ern look than the tra­di­tional style that Annabel was used to. ‘For ex­am­ple, I love cur­tains,’ says Annabel, ‘ but Laeti­tia per­suaded me to use shut­ters in the bath­rooms. And in our bed­room, where I veered to­wards flo­ral chintz, Laeti­tia sug­gested con­fin­ing it to the head­board and us­ing a striped fab­ric for the cur­tains to give a more con­tem­po­rary feel.’

Annabel and Richard had fun tour­ing recla­ma­tion yards look­ing for the right stone fire­place to in­stall in the draw­ing room and a piece of mar­ble to set off the cop­per bath in their en-suite bath­room. ‘The bath is our state­ment piece,’ smiles Annabel. ‘It was Richard’s present to him­self. And for me, he added a glazed con­ser­va­tory, which runs par­al­lel to the sit­ting room. He en­vis­aged us sit­ting here over a gin and tonic at the end of the day. But, in re­al­ity, when chil­dren came along, it turned out to be a bril­liant play­room in­stead.’

Through­out the barn, the old beams are a tes­ta­ment to its his­tory, while the chicken-mo­tif tiles in the kitchen and a cow-shaped black­board serve as a re­minder of pre­vi­ous in­hab­i­tants. ‘It’s won­der­ful to have given these build­ings a new pur­pose,’ re­flects Annabel. ‘They are now home to a very con­tented fam­ily.’

PLAY­ROOM Open­ing onto the gar­den, this light-filled spot is ideal for the chil­dren. For a sim­i­lar rat­tan sofa, try Mar­low, £649, Marks & Spencer

kitchen ‘This is a great space to work in,’ says Annabel. ‘Every­thing is in just the right place.’ Units by Ge­orge Wool­grove Be­spoke Kitchens. Mag­gie Jones’ hand­made cock­erel tiles, from £12 each, would work here

MAS­TER Bed­room Annabel was per­suaded to go for a more con­tem­po­rary look in here. head­board cov­ered in Chan­tilly, £65m, Cole­fax and Fowler. For a sim­i­lar linen ac­cent chair, try the Pim­lico, £ 449, atkin and thyme

Guest Bed­room Dou­ble-as­pect win­dows and a stylish sleigh bed cre­ate an invit­ing scheme. hum­ming­birds wall­pa­per, £105 per roll, Cole & son

en SUITE A show-stop­ping bath takes pride of place. Cop­per bath, price on re­quest, Drum­monds

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