A FAM­ILY AFFAIR

How one cou­ple mod­ernised their Ox­ford­shire farm­house, which has come down through the gen­er­a­tions

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture & pho­tog­ra­phy Amanda Turner

For many years, Dan­ish-born Puk Par­sons and her hus­band, Sam, lived in a lodge on the fam­ily farm in Ox­ford­shire, which they had re­stored and where they had their three sons, Wil­liam, now 16, Thomas, 13, and Humphrey, nine. Even­tu­ally, the time came for Sam to take over the running of the farm and they swapped houses with his par­ents, mov­ing into their Cotswold stone farm­house, to­gether with the boys, dogs Yoko and Moss, and cats Birk and Ronja. ‘It was quite an op­er­a­tion, with the two re­moval vans we’d hired squeez­ing past each other in the nar­row lanes,’ says Puk.

Once in, mak­ing their mark was a slow process. The build­ing was packed full of sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of be­long­ings, in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture, paint­ings and china, not to men­tion an at­tic bulging with an­ces­tral pos­ses­sions, in­clud­ing suit­cases full of crino­lines, lace and wed­ding at­tire and, most sur­pris­ingly of all, the skele­ton of a beloved par­rot, still in its cage. ‘It was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence delv­ing into a past that still seemed very present, and quite a chal­lenge for a Dane who loves sim­ple liv­ing,’ says Puk. But hav­ing trained and worked as a tai­lor, she was in her el­e­ment, and care­ful to pre­serve the his­tor­i­cal linen.

One of the cou­ple’s first tasks was to rip out the car­pets. ‘I then made the mis­take of start­ing too many projects at once and quickly re­alised I had to han­dle one room at a time,’ says Puk, whose first pri­or­ity was to get the bed­rooms into shape.

Six years down the line, the cou­ple were fi­nally ready to make some struc­tural

changes. They em­ployed builders to level the floors up­stairs and cre­ate two new bath­rooms. The main bed­room was turned into the fam­ily bath­room, com­plete with a roll-top bath and his-and-hers vin­tage Ger­man sinks. The se­cond bath­room was cre­ated by strength­en­ing the joists in the old­est part of the house, so that it could be tanked to cre­ate a wet room.

Down­stairs, the lay­out of the house was dif­fi­cult to adapt, as it fea­tured two dis­parate ar­eas that had once been used for fam­ily and staff re­spec­tively. ‘It needed some re­jig­ging for the two parts to con­nect,’ says Puk. ‘The so­lu­tion was to move the kitchen from the small room at the front into the for­mal sit­ting room, put­ting the of­fice and cloak­room at the back.’ Af­ter con­sult­ing an ar­chi­tect, the ex­ist­ing low-pitched roof was also raised to full height to make the most of the view from the kitchen to the or­chard beyond.

Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from pared-back Scan­di­na­vian de­sign, the walls are painted white through­out and teamed with bare floor­boards or en­gi­neered oak floor­ing dot­ted with rugs. A block of bold colour on the morn­ing room wall, plus pat­terned tiles in the bath­rooms add vi­brance. The draw­ing room has been painted in a subtle grey, so as not to dis­tract from the stun­ning views of the sur­round­ing coun­try­side.

The cou­ple still have plenty of ideas for their home: the old kitchen is to be­come a re­cep­tion room and the cel­lar a so­cia­ble space. ‘I’m so pleased with our farm­house,’ says Puk. ‘It’s been won­der­ful to un­earth its his­tory and put a mod­ern stamp on it.’

MORN­ING ROOM A rich green wall makes a strik­ing fea­ture and adds depth to the all-white scheme. Wall painted in mad King Ge­orge matt emul­sion, £39.50 for 2.5L, Fired earth. Louis Poulsen lim­ited-edi­tion cop­per PH 3½-3 pen­dant, £1,051, made in de­sign

KITCHEN Stream­lined units line both sides of the room in a large gal­ley-style de­sign. white Ved­dinge doors, from £12 each, Ikea. try the hand-forged ham­mered beaten knobs, £5.50 each, g Decor at No­ton­the­high­street.com

FOR­MAL SIT­TING ROOM The large eye-catch­ing art­work makes the most of the room’s gen­er­ous pro­por­tions. Push­ing Man orig­i­nal biro draw­ing, price on ap­pli­ca­tion, Myrica Jones

Hall Stair treads were left un­painted to add in­ter­est to this pared-back space. the octo multi-coloured cot­ton run­ner, £60, habi­tat, is a good al­ter­na­tive

DIN­ING ROOM An­tique fur­ni­ture and a wood­burn­ing stove give this space a cosy, time­less feel. In­victa brad­ford stove, £1,231, Stoves on­line. try the cowhide APR108 rug, £189, City Cows

GUEST BED­ROOM Pre­cious clothes from past gen­er­a­tions are stored in this an­tique chest. For a sim­i­lar chest of draw­ers, try the Daw­son, £ 450, Swoon. See the Ad­justo­form lady valet man­nequin, £185, John Lewis

BATH­ROOM This free­stand­ing bath was bought in 1920 by Sam’s great grand­par­ents. try english Sal­vage for a re­claimed roll-top bath, from £ 450

MAIN BED­ROOM Sim­ple fur­ni­ture teamed with homely touches cre­ate a re­laxed set­ting. the Star pen­dant lights, £376 each, turn­bull & thomas, are sim­i­lar to these

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