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
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