In­dus­trial styling and colour­ful fur­nish­ings make a win­ning com­bi­na­tion in a much-loved home in Kent


An­thony and Teresa Ralph devote their time and tal­ents to bring­ing other peo­ple’s prop­erty dreams to life – they are the di­rec­tors of TG De­signer Homes. So when they found a beau­ti­ful plot in the Kent coun­try­side, they leapt at the chance to cre­ate a unique ru­ral re­treat for them­selves and their two chil­dren, Zac, 12, and Scar­let, 11. ‘Own­ing a se­cond home was some­thing we’d con­sid­ered for many years and ini­tially we thought of buy­ing a prop­erty in Ibiza, but felt it was too far away and we wouldn’t ben­e­fit from it,’ says An­thony. ‘ We live in a coastal town, so the idea of a coun­try­side home re­ally ap­pealed to us.’

The cou­ple bought the plot in the sum­mer of 2016 on a sub­ject-to-plan­ning ba­sis, so although there was a good chance that a new build would be ap­proved, they had no guar­an­tees. ‘It was a cal­cu­lated risk and it was im­por­tant we sub­mit­ted a strong de­sign that the plan­ning team would pass,’ says An­thony. ‘Our ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tion didn’t go through as the plot is on green belt land, so our chal­lenge was to con­vince the plan­ners that the house would sit com­fort­ably within the ex­ist­ing land­scape.’

Their vi­sion was in­spired by the agri­cul­tural-style build­ings that are scat­tered around the Kent coun­try­side, ‘A mock English barn-style dwelling wouldn’t have looked right,’ says An­thony. ‘So we came up with a con­tem­po­rary take on an agri­cul­tural shed us­ing mod­ern ma­te­ri­als with a black­ened zinc ex­te­rior.’

The plan­ners didn’t refuse the Ralphs’ de­sign, but couldn’t

see how they could ap­prove it ei­ther. It was sug­gested that the cou­ple re­sub­mit the ap­pli­ca­tion with a Her­itage state­ment that sup­ported the de­sign and as a re­sult, the fam­ily fi­nally won ap­proval in June 2017.

Min­i­mal ma­te­ri­als sim­plify the look of the build­ing and in­clude zinc in a black fin­ish and black larch to add tex­ture. ‘Black is a bold colour, but it sits qui­etly within the plot, and the es­tab­lished sur­round­ing trees con­trast with the struc­ture yet help soften its lines,’ An­thony says. ‘The in­te­rior was about break­ing up the space to make the most of the views, so we added a double-height en­trance with tall win­dows. We also wanted the staircase to feel like a gen­tle jour­ney, so we made the treads deeper so it is more like a walk than a climb.’

Set­ting a chal­leng­ing 17-week build time, the Ralphs’ home was com­pleted in De­cem­ber 2017. ‘We wanted the rooms to act as a blank can­vas and opted for con­crete, oak and white paint to achieve that,’ says An­thony. ‘If you keep things sim­ple, it doesn’t have to be clever or com­pli­cated.’

Oak fur­ni­ture and fit­tings bring an or­ganic el­e­ment to the in­te­rior and con­trast with the hard feel of the con­crete floor. ‘You have to bring colour and tex­ture into the mix to avoid a harsh, bland in­te­rior that can look drain­ing,’ says An­thony.

With their new build now com­plete, the Ralph fam­ily es­cape ev­ery week­end to en­joy their peace­ful re­treat. ‘To build our own home was like ther­apy and al­lowed us to do some­thing for our­selves,’ An­thony says. ‘We al­ways look forward to the end of the week when we can all pack our bags and head out to the coun­try­side again.’

HALL This double-height space cre­ates an im­pos­ing, light-filled en­trance. Walls painted in Du­lux Pure Bril­liant White matt emul­sion, £20.99 for 2.5 L, Tesco STUDY A be­spoke birch-ply desk and cup­boards add Scandi chic. Sim­i­lar birch fur­ni­ture, £2,000, Creativ Car­pen­try. Ikea’s Vags­berg/sporren chair, £ 45, would suit this space KITCHEN ‘The geo­met­ric pat­terns within the tiles and pen­dants are subtle, but pow­er­ful,’ says An­thony. Sim­i­lar Schuller Cre­mona old oak-ef­fect kitchen, from £20,000, Small­bone In­te­ri­ors. The For­est & Co brass pen­dant light, £155, No­ton­the­high­, is a good al­ter­na­tive. Hot mesh yel­low bar stools, £199 each, Heal’s

FAM­ILY ROOM Sump­tu­ous vel­vet seat­ing con­trasts with the con­crete floors and white walls, with vi­brant cush­ions adding colour. Vel­vet Scott sofa, £999; Frame arm­chairs in Blush Pink, £599 each, both Mex­i­cana cush­ions, £39 each; felt gypsy cush­ions, £30 each, all Gra­ham and Green

DIN­ING Area A mix of chair styles adds a fun touch here. Nat­u­ral Ningbo chairs, £195 each; bistro oak chairs, £155 each, both Gra­ham and Green. Be­spoke din­ing ta­ble, £600, Creativ Car­pen­try. Light­ing Di­rect Moino oval ceil­ing light, £181, No­ton­the­high­

MAIN BED­ROOM Soft pink cush­ions add a fem­i­nine touch. h&m home sells a pink quilted bed­spread, £59.99. Sim­i­lar flamingo cush­ions, £15.60 each, red bub­ble

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.