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Dra­matic colour and favourite pieces of art give a pe­riod prop­erty coun­try ap­peal

Olivia Fieldhouse was brought up in a re­mote part of the coun­try­side, so when she met her hus­band, Si­mon, and they looked for a first home in Glouces­ter­shire, it was im­por­tant to her that it was in an idyl­lic, se­cluded spot. ‘This ram­bling prop­erty ap­pealed to us, es­pe­cially as it is sur­rounded by or­ganic farm­land.’ It was once two farm­work­ers’ cot­tages, and had the po­ten­tial for fur­ther ex­pan­sion, an­other vi­tal fac­tor as Olivia was ex­pect­ing their el­dest son, Inigo.

‘Get­ting per­mis­sion for plans to add a kitchen-diner, two bed­rooms with en-suite bath­rooms and a shower room took two years and went to ap­peal but it was worth fight­ing for,’ says Olivia. ‘Al­though it was cosy when we moved in, it be­came quite a squash af­ter our sec­ond baby Monty was born and when we had guests.’

As the fam­ily moved out to al­low the builders in, Olivia be­gan to col­lect ideas. ‘I needed to do the re­search, es­pe­cially as the world of in­te­ri­ors was new to me.’ For­tu­nately one of Olivia’s friends, in­te­rior de­signer Honor Heb­bleth­waite from Melissa Wyn­d­ham, helped out, por­ing over ar­chi­tects’ plans with Olivia and Si­mon. ‘She also ad­vised me with the de­sign and lo­ca­tion of built-in fit­tings,’ says Olivia, ‘and in find­ing a good-qual­ity joiner.’

Olivia soon re­alised she pre­ferred darker, richer colours, which she knew could be dif­fi­cult to get right. ‘I in­stinc­tively felt I

needed some pro­fes­sional help.’ She turned to Jane Peckitt, a colour con­sul­tant at Bai­ley Paints. ‘She kept me on track and set out a colour plan for each room, pick­ing the right neu­tral shades for walls to con­trast with the dra­matic tones I had gone for, es­pe­cially for the kitchen. I’d al­ready cho­sen the fab­rics, be­cause it is much eas­ier to find these first and then match the paint colours.

‘I have al­ways liked the con­trast of light and dark – so I have com­bined pale walls with some rich darker greys. I also love shades of blue.’ Ex­tra pops of vi­brant tones were added with paint­ings, which fam­ily mem­bers have given Olivia – presents from her brother, Ru­pert, and sis­ter-in-law, artist Annie Shrive. They were also in­spi­ra­tion for her colour schemes, and as Olivia says, ‘Paint­ings give a home a soul and per­son­al­ity.’

Olivia’s pas­sion for vi­brant colour and vari­a­tions on blue and white is al­most as in­tense as her eye for de­tail, re­flected in her care­ful re­search. She tracked down ex­actly the right fire­place on Pin­ter­est, to be copied by a lo­cal ma­sonry com­pany and the per­fect brass han­dles for the kitchen to match the an­tique-brass sink taps. Her boys, in con­trast to her pur­suit of or­dered calm, love to kick a ball about and gen­er­ally make a mess so the snug has been given over to them – un­til their bed­time at least.

It is easy to see how well the house works for ev­ery­one, with a foot­ball pitch, where the boys can let off steam, within a copse of oaks, maples and ash next to an or­ganic farm, which was Olivia’s dream. ‘This place is truly re­lax­ing and we all love it.’

Hall­way The door­way through to the liv­ing room is framed by the orig­i­nal ex­posed stonework.

House Stad­dle stones mark the door­way to the for­mer farm­work­ers’ prop­erty.

Bath­room A black and white Tiger linocut print, by Annie Shrive, puts a fin­ish­ing touch to tongue-and­groove pan­elling in the bath­room. Basin, Le­froy Brooks.

Main bed­room The colours are serene, in­spired by Olivia’s choice of fabric. The paint­ing is by Olivia’s brother Ru­pert Shrive. Cur­tain and cush­ion fabric, Bukhara Tea Rose, Lewis & Wood.Wall, painted in Nor­mandy Grey by Lit­tle Greene.

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