De­light­fully dif­fer­ent

Glo­be­trot­ting Faye Yuasa has lived in many ex­otic lo­ca­tions around the world – but she’s now very hap­pily set­tled in Nor­folk, as she told Tony Hall

EDP Norfolk - - Interiors - WORDS AND PIC­TURES: TONY HALL

OVER THE years I have brought my read­ers sev­eral farm­houses as, nat­u­rally, they are very much a part of the Nor­folk coun­try­side. What makes this one, The Farm­house at Felmingham, so dif­fer­ent is the way in­te­rior de­signer Faye Yuasa has treated each room. Of­ten bold de­signs, both in fur­ni­ture and wall cov­er­ings, make this Nor­folk fam­ily home spe­cial.

“I have three daugh­ters,” says Faye, “Leila, 12, the el­dest is ma­ture and thought­ful, Pearl, nine is just like me and Sadie, age five, is a lit­tle mag­pie, hoard­ing all sorts of things.”

Faye, orig­i­nally from Stock­ton Heath, near War­ring­ton, Cheshire, went to Liver­pool Univer­sity to study Span­ish and French, which she speaks flu­ently. A ca­reer in Lon­don in ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing fol­lowed, be­fore the travel bug bit. This was, at least in part, be­cause as a stu­dent part of her de­gree was spent liv­ing in Sala­manca with Span­ish stu­dents, to im­merse her­self in the lan­guage and cul­ture.

Travel must be in the genes as her brother John is now liv­ing in Paris and her sis­ter Lara works for the gov­ern­ment in New Zealand. So, at 26, Faye went to Thai­land to do a Padi div­ing course, where she met her fu­ture hus­band (from whom she is now di­vorced) and on her re­turn went to work at a dive school in St Kev­erne, Corn­wall.

“I then went to the Philip­pines,” ex­plains Faye, “as a dive tour guide. When back in the UK, I got mar­ried and went to live in Javea, Spain for two years, as I wanted my chil­dren to learn Span­ish, be­fore we up­rooted to Aus­tralia, to Torquay, about two hours from Mel­bourne. Af­ter con­sid­er­ing a re­turn to Europe, noth­ing seemed quite right so we opted in 2009, to re­turn to the UK.

“Again we cast around, but set­tled on Nor­folk where we found this farm­house and barns and moved in in Jan­uary 2010. I had only ever been to Nor­folk twice in my life. I re­mem­ber that I did the Lon­don Marathon in March 2010 and Sadie our third baby was born at home in 2011. A busy time.”

“This prop­erty,” con­tin­ues Faye, “ticked all the boxes on the wish list. Top was a ru­ral lo­ca­tion, with hol­i­day lets, so I could run a busi­ness but still be a full time mum. The house had to be a fam­ily home to grow into, near a vil­lage school, but also close to Nor­wich and the air­port. The wanderlust is still there and it’s great to take a plane to a favourite; Ibiza. It was a work­ing dairy farm till 1986, with sta­bles. Built in 1746, the back was added in 1836.

“Although I did not want a ma­jor project, here I re­con­fig­ured some rooms down­stairs, to give them bet­ter pro­por­tions and to al­low flow through. I started with the

kitchen area, be­ing the hub of the house, en­larged it and put in a be­spoke Brian Turner kitchen. From there ev­ery­thing evolved, one room into an­other, like a jig­saw. Once started I was well away. Sev­eral times progress was held up dis­cov­er­ing things break­ing down, nor­mal in an old house!”

“I have a pas­sion for colour and rich fab­rics, silks, tex­tures and have given all the win­dows the full treat­ment.” adds Faye. “It has been great fun sourc­ing all the fur­ni­ture, decor and ar­ti­facts, so much so that friends started ask­ing me to help on their homes, which is why I have now started my own in­te­rior de­sign busi­ness, Fly Decor named af­ter my ini­tials, as well.

“Hav­ing com­pleted ev­ery­thing in the house, the larger barn con­ver­sion ‘Barn House’ which has three beds, sleep­ing six, fol­lowed and I am in the process of con­vert­ing an­other barn. From the main house I run holis­tic re­treats and use the Barn House as ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“I just love the space and the homely feel of the farm­house,” Faye tells me. “It’s el­e­gant, com­fort­able and fam­ily ori­en­tated. With lots of friends lo­cally we of­ten have a big gath­er­ing, with the kids sleep­ing in tents in the large gar­den, which they re­ally en­joy.

“I love my mas­ter bed­room, so quiet and rest­ful, very much my favourite, and the chaise in there is cer­tainly my favourite item. I bought it in a junk shop, but it came from a ho­tel in Paris.

“We love go­ing for walks around the lake at Blick­ling Hall. Just love the es­tate, but also the grounds at Fel­brigg are very nice too. We are equally spoilt hav­ing the coast so close and a favourite out­ing is to Over­strand and a walk on the beach. For a pub, the Gun­ton Arms; lovely sur­round­ings, great food and so close.

“With three chil­dren,” con­cludes Faye, “plus run­ning the hol­i­day let, re­treats and start­ing the in­te­ri­ors busi­ness, I re­ally don’t get much spare time. The ben­e­fits of liv­ing in this cor­ner of Nor­folk are fan­tas­tic, so although it was a dis­cov­ery later in life, it’s now at the fore­front of ev­ery­thing I do.

“I like to read and have just fin­ished Es­says in Love by Alain de Bot­ton and I also en­joy cook­ing. The chil­dren are also very happy and set­tled in, which as a mum is so im­por­tant to me, just great. My style I sup­pose you could de­scribe as shy ex­tro­vert.

En­trance hall: Con­sole table and chair from ‘All that Jazz’ at Stock­ton Heath, Cheshire,01925 210010; wall­pa­per and blind from Laura Ash­ley, 0871 223 1387

The morn­ing room: Sofa from Way­fair, cof­fee table from Keys Auc­tions, smile sign from Dunelm. Paint ef­fect on walls by Paola Cu­miskey, 07766 015899 www.pao­

Kitchen: Be­spoke units by Bryan Turner Kitchens, 01953 601567. Wall­pa­per by Laura Ash­ley

Above: Din­ing room; fabric, ‘Venice’ from Just Fab­rics 0845 498043, Chi­nese Cab­i­net from Coun­try & East­ern 01603 663890. Wall colour Tuscan Olive by Crown.

Be­low: Mas­ter bed­room; chan­de­lier, chest of draw­ers and wall­pa­per all from Laura Ash­ley. Sofa, orig­i­nally from a Paris ho­tel, brought from a junk shop in Mag­dalen Street Nor­wich. Mir­ror from ‘All that Jazz’ at Stock­ton Heath, Cheshire

Left: Black and red guest room; Trel­lis scroll flocked wall­pa­per by Kan­dola, £151.90 per roll Tel: 01902 421361; Bed from Ikea, bed­ding and throw from Dunelm 01603 418800. Wall­pa­per and bed­side cab­i­nets from Laura Ash­ley

The orig­i­nal dairy, now a larder.:This was a work­ing dairy farm un­til 1986. This was where they made the cheese, which was then stored in the arches. The meat hooks in the ceil­ing and the pam­ment floor are also orig­i­nal. The house was built 1746, with ad­di­tions in 1836. It was a work­ing dairy farm till 1986.

Faye, Sadie, Pearl and Leila at their front door

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