25 Beautiful Homes

gothic glamour

Carly and Ben Wood have combined a family-friendly feel with the height of luxury in their characterf­ully decorated home

- Feature ALI HEATH | Photograph­y ROBERT SANDERSON

Relocating to a period property in a Hertfordsh­ire village, this pair embraced dramatic decor

Above a grand Gothic-style staircase, a show-stopping chandelier hangs low in Carly and Ben Wood’s panelled hall. ‘It took ages to find the perfect piece,’ says Carly, who had the light fitting shipped over from America. ‘I love seeing it in all its glory every time I come home.’

The house Carly shares with husband Ben, five-year-old twins Bella and Betsy, and baby Poppy, features all the grandeur of a Tudor-inspired build, but with some twists and turns thrown in for good measure. ‘When we decided to swap our hectic London lives for a slower pace in rural Hertfordsh­ire, we began looking for a house that we could work on and tailor to our needs,’ explains Carly. ‘ We were struck by the boutique-hotel feeling of this place, set in a mature secluded plot yet with neighbours and a thriving village a stone’s throw away. It reminded us of a bolt-hole we had once stayed at, and we knew it had potential.’

Built in 1905, the property had been reworked by the previous owners. ‘We liked the layout but wanted to make a few tweaks of our own,’ says Carly. In need of some guidance, the couple approached Carly’s school friend, Tiffany Duggan, founder of interior design practice Studio Duggan, and together with Tiffany’s brother-in-law and builder, Jamie Cooper, they came up with innovative ways to fine-tune the building. First the conservato­ry was demolished to make space for a large kitchen extension

and a cloakroom, while an additional bedroom suite for the twins was built above it. Walls were then knocked through on the ground floor to house their playroom.

Elsewhere, the couple put their own stamp on the house with bold, decorative touches. In the sitting room, for instance, moody grey textured walls are combined with a glossy blue ceiling. The dining room and snug have a Tuscan meets modern-country feel, with burnt oranges, patterned fabrics and personal finds creating a relaxed family atmosphere.

‘Our previous house was Georgian, but the interior design was very contempora­ry – white with pops of bright colour,’ explains Carly. ‘It was great at the time, but I found that it dated very quickly. I’ve moved on from minimalist interiors now; everything here is about colour, texture, detail and patina, which add drama and intrigue.’

Upstairs, the roof was replaced, enabling the creation of a vaulted entrance hall and double-height pitched ceilings throughout the first floor. ‘ We’ve transforme­d the bedrooms from boxy to elegant by exposing the beams,’ explains Carly. ‘I’m very proud of what we’ve created – the house feels luxurious but works brilliantl­y for family life, too. We’re definitely here to stay.’

 ??  ?? Kitchen Bespoke furniture was commission­ed to complement the handcrafte­d cabinets. Kitchen cabinetry, price on request, Howard Wilson Robinson. Island painted in Studio Green estate eggshell, £60 per 2.5 litres, Farrow & Ball. Reclaimed decorative...
Kitchen Bespoke furniture was commission­ed to complement the handcrafte­d cabinets. Kitchen cabinetry, price on request, Howard Wilson Robinson. Island painted in Studio Green estate eggshell, £60 per 2.5 litres, Farrow & Ball. Reclaimed decorative...
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 ??  ?? Master BEDROOM A flamboyant headboard creates a theatrical feel. Headboard upholstere­d in turnell & Gigon’s Byron, from £180m; bespoke side table in dark stained oak, from £800; both studio duggan
Master BEDROOM A flamboyant headboard creates a theatrical feel. Headboard upholstere­d in turnell & Gigon’s Byron, from £180m; bespoke side table in dark stained oak, from £800; both studio duggan
 ??  ?? Master En SUITE A copper bath makes a luxurious addition. Nicky Haslam Medici side table, from £345; upholstere­d ottoman, £630; both oka
Master En SUITE A copper bath makes a luxurious addition. Nicky Haslam Medici side table, from £345; upholstere­d ottoman, £630; both oka
 ??  ?? CLOAKROOM This moody space has an air of mystery. Bespoke vanity, Howard Wilson robinson
CLOAKROOM This moody space has an air of mystery. Bespoke vanity, Howard Wilson robinson
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