BACK TO HER ROOTS
Returning to her childhood Somerset village to build her own family home was a dream come true for this owner
When Marie Lynham decided to return toher old village in Somerset, she thought outside the box. The opportunity had arisen for Marie and her husband Chris to build their own home in the garden of Marie’s parents’ house, and they knew it would prove to be the ideal new chapter. ‘I wanted a country cottage in the village where I grew up,’ explains Marie, owner of homeware business Nest Homely Interiors. ‘It meant we could be close to friends and family and our children, Max, eight, and Amber, four, could attend the same school I went to.’
G e t t i n G started
The couple had a clear vision for the design and enlisted Stanley C Baker & Sons and Collier Reading Architects to help. ‘In September 2012, we applied for planning permission and then began building in January of 2013,’ says Marie. Deciding on the right position of an L-shaped property was important to the pair. ‘We wanted to incorporate some open-plan living to create a spacious feel and ensure that we could not be overlooked, as well as benefit from a south-facing garden,’ she adds. Using local Blue Lias stone from the Polden Hills, the build took just eight months to complete, thanks to Marie’s keen organisational skills.
It is the kitchen-diner that is the heart of this home and a magnet for the whole family. Marie and Chris had to compromise on the size of the utility room downstairs to get the layout just right. Including an island means Marie can prepare meals while watching the children play. It is also a great place to entertain family and friends.
The sitting room is an elegant mix of classic, modern and character features. Fabrics and wallpaper blend together to create an informal, stylish zone. ‘My parents knocked down their old cottage to build a new house and we used a beam from that cottage as part of our fireplace, which is a lovely touch,’ says Marie. ‘I based the neutral sitting room tones on our fireplace, but added some colour with feature walls.’
connec t i n G s paces
Bifold doors in the kitchen-diner and sitting room are welcome additions to the house as they fold back completely and have integral blinds. ‘ We love them because they keep the walls free of excess curtain fabric and the area feels clean and fresh,’ says Marie.
‘I was keen to ensure the space flowed and wanted the terrace and garden to be on the same level and we used a similar flooring finish to the kitchen, for a cohesive look.’ Creating light and airy bedrooms was also important. There are built-in wardrobes in two of the bedrooms, to maximise storage. In the bathroom, the couple chose a full-size shower with a sunken tray and practical wall holes, as well as a freestanding bath and large sink with a useful storage drawer.
‘Building this home has taught us so much,’ reflects Marie. ‘When the work finished and I thanked the builder, he responded by saying: “I’ve built the house and now it’s over to you to make it a home.” And that’s exactly what we’ve done. I’ve discovered a passion for upcycling and repainting furniture, which has fed into my interiors business. Chris and I also wanted to embrace the Nordic hygge trend and create a feeling of warmth.’
This new build has proved a triumph for the Lynhams. ‘It’s the best of both worlds,’ says Marie. ‘It’s classic in style, but with a simple feel and it fulfils our family’s needs. And what’s more, we’ve returned to my childhood village and I’m pleased to say it’s everything we hoped it would be.’
MAIN BEDROOM The neutral decor has a boutique hotel feel, with its serene colour scheme. the bed is an ebay find that was sanded and painted in house white modern eggshell, £67 for 2.5L, Farrow & ball
BATHROOM Using matching floor and wall tiles makes for a seamless, elegant look. ravello bath, £2,404, Mayflower bathrooms. travertine tiles, from £13.99sq m, travertine Store. roman blind, from £244, Laura Ashley