IN­TER­NA­TIONAL trea­sure

Glo­be­trot­ters Dennis and Raffa Dog­gard have cre­ated an ex­otic home filled with un­usual finds


It’s lovely to be able to sit in a room, look around and say: “Those are the opium weights that we bought in Burma; that bed­cover be­longed to a Ber­ber tribeswoman in Morocco and we found the cow skin cush­ions on safari in Kenya”,’ says Dennis Dog­gard of the home that he and his wife, Ra !a, share in south Dorset. Walls are painted or pa­pered in jewel-rich colours and "lled with in­her­ited fur­ni­ture and paint­ings along­side ex­otic rugs and other trea­sures. They’ve bought at auc­tions in this coun­try, but what sets their home apart is the many un­usual pieces brought back from their trav­els. The cou­ple are in­vet­er­ate glo­be­tro#ers, and in re­cent years have stayed with tribes­men in Na­ga­land, rid­den mo­tor­bikes across Bhutan and driven across Eastern Europe and Cen­tral Asia.

When Dennis and Ra !a stum­bled upon their house, they’d been search­ing for more than four years. It was owned by an ar­chi­tect who loved old build­ings, but had an idio­syn­cratic taste in an­tiques. On that "rst visit, Ra !a re­mem­bers be­ing star­tled to see a strange ob­ject on the ta­ble. ‘ I asked what it was. A man trap, I was told!’ Such odd­i­ties apart, the house had

much to be­guile them. High- ceilinged and light! lled, thanks to vast sash win­dows, its orig­i­nal fea­tures re­mained largely in­tact. There were, and still are, shu"ers on most win­dows, a work­ing ! re­place in most rooms, and magni !cent dou­ble ma­hogany doors lead­ing to the drawing room that are thought to have come from a build­ing in Bath’s his­toric street, The Circus. ‘ We both walked in and felt this is what we’d been look­ing for,’ says Ra #a.

They found out more about the ro­man­tic his­tory of the house only a $er they moved in. ‘It was built in the 1820s for a vicar who had fallen in love with a young girl from Bath. To win her hand, he com­mis­sioned what was es­sen­tially a Bath ter­raced town­house in a quiet Dorset vil­lage. Sadly, the story didn’t end well. The young lady in ques­tion turned him down, so he was le$ ra"ling around with only !ve dogs for com­pany,’ ex­plains Dennis.

There’s li"le sense of this lonely owner’s ex­is­tence now. The cou­ple

Walls are painted or pa­pered in jewel-rich colours and lled with in­her­ited fur­ni­ture and paint­ings.

have three chil­dren, all of whom grew up here. They love ! lling the house with peo­ple and have a uniquely eclec­tic dec­o­ra­tive style in which colour is a key in­gre­di­ent. ‘ I emerged from grow­ing up in a very beige and green house and thought, OK – I’m go­ing for it,’ says Ra "a.

Ev­ery­thing Has a Story

The com­bi­na­tion of old, new and quirky be­gins in the en­trance hall, where three un­framed An­gel­ica Kau "man roundels de­pict­ing muses hang. They came from Bruce Cas­tle – a pro­gres­sive 19th- cen­tury school in Lon­don, set up by Dennis’s

an­ces­tors. A pale!e of red and yel­low as­sails you when you en­ter the drawing room. Ex­otic rugs bought on trips to the Mid­dle East, in­laid In­dian ta­bles car­ried home as hand lug­gage and Chi­nese glass paint­ings bought in a junk shop in Bei­jing add to the op­u­lent e"ect.

The elab­o­rate Dutch mar­quetry bureau that takes cen­tre stage in the room is Dennis’s most prized fam­ily heir­loom. ‘ It brings back lovely mem­o­ries of my mother si!ing at it writ­ing, and the draw­ers are still full of odd things like my fa­ther’s medals, and my mother’s vis­it­ing cards that she used in the 1930s when she was # rst mar­ried,’ he re­calls.

Above hangs a large paint­ing of a camel by con­tem­po­rary Bri­tish artist Kate Boxer. ‘Although we wanted a paint­ing of an ele­phant, and Kate Boxer had made a series of ele­phant prints, by the time we sought her work out, she’d moved on to camels. But we bought the camel any­way with this room in mind,’ Ra "a ex­plains. The ex­otic $ avour of the room is ac­cen­tu­ated by a pair of strik­ing red and yel­low In­dian para­sols. ‘I bought them at Chelsea Flower Show, mean­ing to use them for the gar­den, but mostly they live here. I love the jin­gle of the se­quins when the wind blows,’ says Ra "a.

Cre­ative Flour­ishes

An ac­com­plished $orist and stylist, ev­i­dence of Ra "a’s cre­ative skills and hu­mour is sca!ered through­out the house. On the kitchen wall hang two large sea­horses made by Ra "a from dri %wood that she col­lected from a lo­cal beach. ‘ They were made for a

The canopy that Ra a made from In­dian saris sits hap­pily among old doll’s houses that be­longed to Dennis’s mother.

char­ity dinner. Sea­horses live in the waters at nearby Stud­land, so they seemed an ap­pro­pri­ate dec­o­ra­tion,’ ex­plains Ra !a.

Else­where, in a bed­room, the canopy that Ra !a made from In­dian saris sits hap­pily among old doll’s houses that be­longed to Dennis’s mother, and a Vic­to­rian dé­coupage screen dis­cov­ered in a Su !olk junk shop. A clas­si­cal bust is decked with a leather hel­met that be­longed to an Afghan soldier, and Dennis’s ski­ing medals, and dri "wood trees sprout be­neath fam­ily por­traits.

Although the cou­ple ab­so­lutely love en­ter­tain­ing and spend­ing time in their ex­otic home, their wan­der­lust re­mains as strong as ever. They are plan­ning a trip to Cen­tral Amer­ica later this year – it will come as no sur­prise if they re­turn laden with a haul of new and ex­cit­ing pieces to add to their col­lec­tion.

Three storeys high, with large sash win­dows set in mel­low brick, the Dog­gards’ fam­ily home in south Dorset was built in the late Ge­or­gian pe­riod and mod­elled on a Bath ter­raced house.

ABOVE A huge scrubbed pine kitchen ta­ble is the cen­tre of fam­ily life. Raffa made the sea­horses from drift­wood, col­lected on a lo­cal beach. The paint­ing of an An­dalu­sian house is by Nicholas Hely Hutchin­son; the roundels hang­ing above the door­way to the drawing room de­pict muses and are painted by An­gel­ica Kauff­man. RIGHT The man­tel­piece in the study is filled with trea­sures gath­ered on Raffa and Dennis’s many trav­els to Asia and else­where.LEFT On the shelf, above the spe­cially or­dered red Aga, is an as­sort­ment of black­smith-made scis­sors from Uzbek­istan and a Sri Lankan mask of the fire de­mon, Gini Rak­sha.

The Own­ers Raffa Dog­gard, a re­tired flo­ral stylist and keen gar­dener and cook, and her hus­band Dennis, a se­cu­rity spe­cial­ist and avid trav­eller, moved here from Suffolk when their three now-grown-up chil­dren were small. The Prop­erty A three-storey, six bed­roomed house, built in the early 19th cen­tury in south Dorset. The kitchen, hall­way and re­cep­tion rooms are on the ground floor. A sweep­ing stair­case leads to the three main bed­rooms, each with an en suite bath­room, on the first floor, and three more bed­rooms, a bath­room and an of­fice up­stairs.

ABOVE The draw­ers and com­part­ments in the ma­hogany mar­quetry-in­laid desk are filled with fam­ily me­men­tos and let­ters. The rugs were bought on a re­cent trip to Tabriz.RIGHT Space un­der the el­e­gant Ge­or­gian stair­case pro­vides a home for an elab­o­rate Vic­to­rian pi­ano, dec­o­rated with dried flower heads and wo­ven wil­low bas­kets. LEFT A pair of In­dian se­quinned para­sols in red and yel­low pro­vide a quirky rich­ness that char­ac­terises the room. The paint­ing of a camel is by Kate Boxer. The bust of Achilles to the right is a 19th-cen­tury plas­ter cast of an antique orig­i­nal. The gilded baroque-style con­sole ta­ble was bought at a lo­cal auc­tion.

THIS PAGE The Ge­or­gian-style tester bed is made up of antique com­po­nents and cov­ered with a patch­work quilt made by Dennis’s mother in the 1930s, and a Ber­ber bed­cover bought on one of the cou­ple’s trav­els.BE­LOW A pair of oval Re­gency em­broi­dered pic­tures were made by a fam­ily an­ces­tor. The Ed­war­dian mar­quetry-in­laid chest and match­ing chairs pro­vide an op­u­lent ac­cent that con­trasts with the bold cur­tains. RIGHT A cab­i­net in ‘The Red Bed­room’ is adorned with In­dian hard­wood doors. The Vic­to­rian dé­coupage screen was found in a junk shop.

ABOVE An Old Mas­ter paint­ing that de­picts Bac­chus and Venus, which was in­her­ited from the fam­ily, hangsabove bro­cade shoes bought in Pak­istan. The Moroc­can Ber­ber bed­cover is em­broi­dered with mir­rored se­quins.RIGHT In ‘The Blue Bed­room’, a Por­tuguese ebonised bed bought in Lis­bon pro­vides the cen­tre­piece of the room. The wall­pa­per came from Cole­fax and Fowler and its vi­brant hue is echoed in the blue table­cloth and enam­elled dress­ing ta­ble set.

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