per­fect blend

A light sprin­kling of con­tem­po­rary touches has re­vived this 16th-cen­tury home in Berk­shire

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture JANE CRIT­TEN­DEN | Pho­tog­ra­phy JAMES FRENCH

dec­o­rat­ing tip‘ Clas­sic de­signs in neu­tral colours will en­hance the char­ac­ter of a pe­riod house with­out mak­ing it look too tra­di­tional or fussy’

de­sign tip‘ Em­ploy­ing an in­te­rior de­signer at the be­gin­ning of your project will help you top in down costs and choose the types of fin­ishes you want for each room’

The 16th-cen­tury ori­gins of this large coun­try house ap­pealed to Vic­to­ria and John Hem­mings, but the his­tor­i­cal ad­di­tions had re­sulted in an elon­gated floor plan, rais­ing ques­tions about how they would use the space. ‘ We loved the low ceil­ings and beams but weren’t sure about the lay­out,’ says Vic­to­ria. ‘The rooms ran into one an­other with­out a cor­ri­dor. Our chil­dren, Ge­orge, six, and Lily, three, are still young so we wanted to get the spa­ces right for both now and years to come.’

Hives Ar­chi­tects and in­te­rior de­signer Fiona Parke from Johnston Parke In­te­ri­ors were en­listed to help with the ren­o­va­tion. ‘ We wanted to re­tain the char­ac­ter of the house but not make it feel old-fash­ioned,’ says Vic­to­ria. ‘ When we met Fiona, she re­ally un­der­stood what we were try­ing to achieve.’ Fiona worked closely with the cou­ple’s ar­chi­tect to en­hance the prop­erty’s his­tor­i­cal el­e­ments but also im­prove the flow and light. She sug­gested re­mov­ing the ceil­ings in the chil­dren’s bedrooms to ex­pose the rafters and gain head height, as well as putting a laun­dry room on the first floor.

Builders worked care­fully and sys­tem­at­i­cally to re­move any­thing that wasn’t in keep­ing with the old prop­erty such as gas fires, mod­ern ra­di­a­tors and light­ing. Walls were taken down to open up the fam­ily room to the break­fast room and kitchen, and the shared 16th-cen­tury chim­ney breast was knocked through and fit­ted with a new double-sided wood­burner. The dark en­trance hall needed at­ten­tion and was re­mod­elled with a double-height ceil­ing and rooflights.

Fiona worked on the decor with Vic­to­ria and John. ‘I wanted a clas­sic look and pre­fer clean de­sign, so the muted colours and soft, tac­tile ma­te­ri­als work well,’ says Vic­to­ria. Tum­bled lime­stone and whitened oak floor­ing with neu­tral walls set a con­tem­po­rary tone, con­nect­ing the down­stairs rooms and al­low­ing the oak beams and brick­work to re­main prom­i­nent. An­tique fur­ni­ture is a nod to the building’s ori­gins, mod­ernised with pat­terned fab­rics in shades of blue and green, and an un­der­ly­ing warmth of stone and taupe.

The con­ti­nu­ity in the decor and re­vised lay­out give shape and pur­pose to each space. For­mal fur­ni­ture draws the gar­den room into the house, and the doors be­tween here and the sit­ting room are kept open for a seam­less link. The log­gia – once an ex­ter­nal walk­way – is the pas­sage to reach the gar­den and util­ity room but is also a place to re­lax in. ‘I love that there’s a rea­son to use ev­ery room and we can still ap­pre­ci­ate the wonky walls and old beams,’ says Vic­to­ria. ‘The lay­out works well for us now as we don’t have any wasted space.’

dec­o­rat­ing tip‘ Layer pat­terned fab­rics suc­cess­fully by stick­ing with a com­mon thread of colour to tie them to­gether’

GAR­DEN ROOM ‘Our in­te­rior de­signer Fiona Parke sug­gested we re­place the old con­ser­va­tory with this room,’ says Vic­to­ria. ‘I love be­ing in here and use it all year.’ Bal­moral round din­ing ta­ble, from £1,630, Nep­tune. Painted an­tique chairs, £ 465 each; metal and wood cof­fee ta­ble, £1,250, all Horsch In­te­ri­ors. Large lat­tice pen­dant light, £6,600, Jamb

KITCHEN Ex­pos­ing the un­der­side of the up­stairs floor dur­ing the ren­o­va­tions in­tro­duced a strik­ing an­tique tim­ber aes­thetic to this space. Toaster ta­ble, £895, Loaf. Er­col Orig­i­nals Wind­sor din­ing chairs in black, £390 each, Heal’s

HALL Oak floor­ing is a warmer and qui­eter choice than stone tiles for a high-traf­fic area like this. Flax­man flatweave stair run­ner in Quartz, from £903 for a flight of stairs with 13 steps, Roger Oates De­sign. For sim­i­lar wood floor­ing, try Natura Oak Iron­bark White­leaf, £ 40sq m, Floor­ing Sup­plies

FAM­ILY ROOM ‘We started with the fab­ric on the ot­toman and then played with lots of sam­ples un­til we found a com­bi­na­tion that worked,’ says Vic­to­ria. Ot­toman in GP& J Baker Vic­to­ria Plaid Quartz, £98m, TM In­te­ri­ors. Chairs in Quan­tock linen, £110m, Fer­moie. Izmir rug, £2,500, Oka

GE­ORGE’S BED­ROOM ‘The vin­tage bed­side ta­ble is cov­ered in an aero­plane wall­pa­per,’ says Vic­to­ria. Bed­side ta­ble, £895, Bry­onie Porter. Mini Gas­ton lamps, £65 each, Loaf. Con­trast­ing Stars cotton bed­spreads, £79.99 each, Zara Home

Main BED­ROOM A navy vel­vet up­hol­stered headboard helps ground the sil­very-blue colour scheme. Si­enna bed, £1,199, Feather & black. For sim­i­lar headboard fab­ric, try os­borne & Lit­tle Aba­cus vel­vet in blue, £79m, tm In­te­ri­ors. Cur­tains in Small Pais­ley Parma grey fab­ric, £38m, Volga Linen

Main En SUITE A be­spoke van­ity unit makes the most of the space. Cus­tom van­ity drawer unit and double basin, £3,375, Porter bath­room. walls painted in Plum­mett es­tate eg­gshell, £60 for 2.5L, Far­row & ball. east hamp­ton hexagon mo­saic mar­ble tiles, £165sq m, Fired earth

GUEST BED­ROOM Blue and white cre­ate a clean, crisp look. hawa Ma­hal rug in Coin grey with navy out­line, £195, From Jaipur with Love. Ar­tur ta­ble lamp in stone crackle glaze with straight em­pire 30cm shade in green block-printed cotton, £160, Pooky

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