home is where the heart i s

When Oliver Chap­man met in­te­rior de­signer Laeti­tia, he had no idea that en­list­ing her help would im­prove both his home and his life

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture Mag­gie COLVIN | Photography ROBERT SAN­DER­SON

This mod­ern farm­house in Som­er­set has been de­signed to take full ad­van­tage of its spec­tac­u­lar lo­ca­tion and pic­turesque views

When Oliver chap­man took over the man­age­ment of his grand­fa­ther’s farm, there was no house on the land, but it came with plan­ning per­mis­sion to build one over­look­ing the breath­tak­ing views of som­er­set’s carey val­ley. Work­ing as a farm agent, Oliver had seen enough prop­er­ties to know ex­actly what kind of home he wanted to cre­ate. ‘i told the ar­chi­tect i’d like the house to be long, so that as many rooms as pos­si­ble would look out on the val­ley,’ Oliver ex­plains. he also asked for the front porch to re­sem­ble a ly­ch­gate (a typ­i­cal West coun­try fea­ture), and re­quested that the walls should be thick, with splayed or cham­fered win­dow re­veals to coax in as much light as pos­si­ble.

how­ever, Oliver drew a blank when faced with de­ci­sions on fur­nish­ing the in­te­ri­ors. ‘i knew i wanted un­der­floor heat­ing, tra­di­tional riven slate floors and a chunky stone farm­house fire­place in the sit­ting room,’ he says, ‘ but choos­ing baths, taps, tiles and colours isn’t my bag.’ it was

at this ex­act point in his life that he met an in­te­rior de­signer called Laeti­tia at a din­ner party in Lon­don, given by mu­tual friends.

She re­mem­bers it well. ‘Oliver said he needed help com­ing up with a scheme that would com­ple­ment the pared-back el­e­gance of the farm­house,’ says Laeti­tia. Her first in­stinct was to sug­gest some fem­i­nine touches, which she is now glad he agreed to, as she and Oliver ended up get­ting mar­ried and shar­ing the house.

Later, Laeti­tia of­fered up more ways of soft­en­ing the look, such as in­stalling pan­elling in the snug to im­bue char­ac­ter and get­ting Oliver to agree to some of his darker pieces of fur­ni­ture be­ing given a lick of chalk paint, for a lighter fin­ish.

So when the cou­ple fi­nally mar­ried and moved in to­gether, Laeti­tia was de­lighted that her favourite pal­ette of grey and co­ral was al­ready in place in the house. ‘I also like an eclec­tic jux­ta­po­si­tion of tex­tures and stripes, with an oc­ca­sional vin­tage flo­ral,’ she adds. And th­ese are de­tails that Laeti­tia has added to the farm­house over the en­su­ing years.

Her in­ter­est in in­te­rior de­sign be­gan in her teens. ‘I al­ways kept a Ch­ester Jones book be­side my bed,’ says Laeti­tia who went on to work for noted de­sign­ers, in­clud­ing Veere Gren­ney and Sibyle Cole­fax and John Fowler, be­fore launch­ing her own com­pany Laeti­tia Chap­man In­te­ri­ors.

‘This house has worked out far bet­ter than I’d hoped,’ re­flects Laeti­tia. ‘I’ve grown to ap­pre­ci­ate the con­trast be­tween Oliver’s rugged farm­house style and my fem­i­nine touches. This is most ev­i­dent in the huge stone fire­place, which I soft­ened with an ar­range­ment of hops.’

Now the cou­ple have a baby, Wil­fred, aged one, and King Charles spaniel, Dash, life is busier than ever. ‘ We hope to even­tu­ally add an ex­tra floor to the house, and a con­ser­va­tory, too,’ says Laeti­tia. ‘But for now, we’re happy with our home as it is. Cre­at­ing it to­gether and start­ing a fam­ily here has been won­der­ful.’

sit­ting room A gar­land of hops soft­ens the rugged fire­place. Cur­tains in Cole­fax & Fowler fab­ric, £115m, laeti­tia Chap­man in­te­ri­ors. Wall paint, Hard­wick White es­tate emul­sion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball

din­ing area ‘This is our favourite place to en­ter­tain as it’s con­ve­niently sit­u­ated next to the kitchen and over­looks the pretty val­ley,’ says Laeti­tia. take a look at the rus­tic over­sized iron skele­ton clock, £135, the Farthing. Nailsea large wine glasses are a match, £26 for set of 4, Oka. try Be­yond France for vin­tage table­cloths/nap­kins, £12 each

snug A comfy chair by the win­dow makes an ideal reading spot. Ek­torp in Blekinge white, £173, is a near-iden­ti­cal arm­chair; Ra­narp floor reading lamp, £ 49, both ikea. the Charl­ton stor­age trunk, £266, Som­er­set Wil­low, is sim­i­lar

sit­ting room A mix of flo­ral and graphic pat­terns gives this tra­di­tional scheme a quirky twist. Be­spoke foot­stool by laeti­tia Chap­man in­te­ri­ors. Ke­lim rug, £350, Mar­ket Cross an­tiques

kitchen White Shaker-style units lend a fresh coun­try feel. Kitchen, price on ap­pli­ca­tion, How­dens. Range cooker, from around £999, Belling

MAS­TER BED­ROOM Pair­ing bright splashes of fuchsia pink with sooth­ing shades of grey cre­ates a more grown-up ef­fect. Cole­fax & Fowler’s Casimir is a sim­i­lar blind fab­ric, £78m, Lines of Pinner. Azolla Cherry lamp­shade, price on re­quest, Irv­ing & mor­ri­son, would work well in here. ex­ist­ing ma­hogany chest painted in Paris grey chalk paint, £18.95 per 1 litre, An­nie Sloane

BATH­ROOM Cor­ner wall cup­boards are a clever use of space in this com­pact room. home wooden cor­ner bath­room cabi­net, £30, Ar­gos. tip­per­ary mir­ror, £285, oka

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