leap of faith
Interior designer Henriette von Stockhausen gave her imagination free rein when it came to decorating her home, with gloriously colourful results
A former stable block in Dorset has been converted into a quirky, character-filled home
Henriette von Stockhausen makes no secret of her passion for collecting. ‘I’m a bit of a magpie,’ she says. So it’s no surprise to discover that the converted stables in Dorset where the interior designer lives with her husband, Mark, and three children is a colourful treasure trove. The rooms are filled with an eclectic mix of art, family heirlooms and souvenirs from all over the world.
When Henriette initially went to view the property, first impressions were far from favourable. The house hadn’t been lived in for several years and was in a sadly neglected state. It was even infested with rodents, so a head-to-toe renovation was required.
Henriette knew that, above all, the renovation needed to provide a practical living space that would suit the needs of her growing family. A key feature was the streamlined, contemporary kitchen, which she designed herself. ‘I wanted something simple and easy to clean,’ she says. Henriette opted for sleek white cabinets and also produced the concrete worksurfaces, using homemade crate frames lined with black bin bags.
Another stand-out feature is the unusually positioned staircase, which leads straight down from the first-floor landing to the dining room. ‘It reminds me of my childhood, when I’d sit at the top of the stairs and watch my parents’
dinner parties,’ says Henriette. ‘I love the idea that my children can do the same.’
With the structural works complete, Henriette turned her attention to the interior design. As the co-founder of VSP Interiors, decorating her own home offered a great opportunity to indulge her personal sense of style and give her imagination free rein. ‘I was ready to let loose and just wanted to have fun with it,’ she says. Henriette’s new conversion is the perfect home for all the treasures she’s collected over the years. ‘In my job I see so many wonderful things,’ she says. ‘So I stashed them away and waited for the right time to use them.’
Despite its spacious dimensions, the house is cosy and welcoming and reflects Henriette’s love of travelling. The sitting room is a mix of Moroccan and Argentinian gaucho style, while the vibrant colours of the master bedroom have a distinctly Mexican feel. Henriette is also a keen horse rider, which explains the equestrian-themed artworks. ‘I treated myself to those pictures to remind me of happy times,’ she says.
Henriette has also incorporated design elements that give a nod to her European heritage. ‘I grew up in Austria and Germany, where there are antlers everywhere,’ she says. In her own home decorative antlers serve as ornaments and also as quirky coat hooks.
Now that the project is complete, Henriette and Mark are delighted with the results. ‘I love every single part of our house – I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out,’ says Henriette. ‘And the best thing of all is that every room I walk into has something that makes me smile.’
Inspiration ‘Travelling to interesting places is one of the things I enjoy most in life and I pick up lots of ideas on every trip’
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1& 2 SITTING Room ‘I fell in love with the elaborate wallpaper the second I saw it,’ says Henriette. Verdure lead Blue wallpaper, £112 per roll, Zoffany at Chapel Interiors. Séraphin metal pendant lamp, £220, maisons du monde. Farrow & Ball’s Charleston Gray estate emulsion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, is a good match
Hall Vibrant teal walls create an instant impact. For similar paint, try little Greene’s Canton absolute matt emulsion, £ 42 per 2.5 litres. Homes Direct 365’s mahogany French-style bench, £ 450, is an elegant alternative
1 KITCHEN-DINER Henriette commissioned the portrait of her husband’s Harris hawk, Minty. Colourful Mexican pattern cushion, from £22, redbubble, is a bright design. try Scumble goosie’s Nordic wooden sofa, from £999
2 BATHROOM Travertine wall tiles and an antique chandelier give this space a luxurious look. Corinth honed filled travertine wall tiles, from £27sq m, Mandarin Stone, are similar. oban mirror, £235, oka, would also work well here
3 MASTER BEDROOM A patterned rug and striped throw inject vibrant colour into this classic scheme. John Lewis sells kilim rugs, from £120 each. bombay knitted lambswool throw, £195, gabrielle Vary, is an alternative design