Jessie and Henry Ward trans­formed a large run­down farm­house into a Warm and invit­ing fam­ily Home

Country Homes & Interiors - - CONTENTS -

From run­down farm­house to op­u­lent fam­ily home, this large prop­erty has en­joyed a wel­come re­vamp


a new baby, a huge Ber­nese moun­tain dog, two cats and a grow­ing num­ber of horses and al­pacas, bar­ris­ters Jessie and Henry Ward were be­gin­ning to feel the squeeze in their pre­vi­ous home. What’s more, it was lo­cated by a busy road, which was be­com­ing a con­cern.

‘After our first son, Xander, was born, the road started to worry me and we needed more out­side space for the an­i­mals,’ says Jessie. ‘We looked at around 20 prop­er­ties be­fore we came across this seven-bed­room farm­house.’

The listed prop­erty is set on an an­cient sunken lane in ru­ral Hamp­shire. The cou­ple were drawn to it as space would def­i­nitely no longer be an is­sue – it came com­plete with a large de­tached barn, cricket pitch and 38 acres of land. It was also ripe for ren­o­va­tion. The Wards were about to make an of­fer when their buy­ers pulled out, and in or­der to stop their dream home slip­ping through their fin­gers, they bid above the ask­ing price to en­sure the ven­dors took it off the mar­ket. Their tac­tic worked and, by Christ­mas 2014, the prop­erty was theirs.

Work be­gan in 2016 and through­out the process, the fam­ily lived out of two down­stairs rooms and moved from bed­room to bed­room. Dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion, Jessie fell preg­nant with their sec­ond son, Kit, so the pres­sure was on to get ev­ery­thing ready in time for his ar­rival.

Jessie and Henry had to ob­tain the nec­es­sary list­ed­build­ings con­sent and plan­ning per­mis­sion to re­con­fig­ure

the down­stairs, cre­at­ing a large kitchen-diner, a boot room big enough to ac­com­mo­date Arthur’s bed, and a large fam­ily room. They also added a porch in Bar­gate stone, com­plete with iron pyrites, to avoid the front door open­ing di­rectly into the liv­ing room. They then to­tally re­plumbed and re­dec­o­rated through­out, adding new fix­tures and fit­tings. Work went fairly smoothly un­til a ma­jor set­back to­wards the end of the project.

‘The win­dows were a mix­ture of Crit­tall win­dows that wouldn’t shut prop­erly, or sin­gle-glazed tim­ber win­dows that were rot­ting, so the house was freez­ing,’ says Jessie. ‘We de­cided to re­place ev­ery win­dow, but the only ones the con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer would ap­prove were be­spoke hand­made tim­ber with ex­tremely nar­row glaz­ing bars. They were meant to be de­liv­ered two weeks be­fore Christ­mas 2016, but they didn’t turn up un­til the fol­low­ing March, so ev­ery­thing had to be put on hold un­til they ar­rived.’

With their sec­ond baby due any day, the tim­ing was far from ideal. ‘We fi­nally fin­ished on the day I went in to hos­pi­tal to have Kit in April 2017,’ says Jessie. ‘But go­ing back to a beau­ti­ful home with a new baby was mag­i­cal.’

Out­side, the cou­ple have built a sta­ble block for their al­pacas and horses. ‘Go­ing in there on a cold win­ter’s night to find 12 al­pacas nes­tled in the straw with the horses next door, munch­ing on their hay is pretty spe­cial,’ says Jessie. The an­i­mals en­tail a lot of work, but the

fam­ily love it. ‘We were given two al­pacas as a wed­ding present,’ Jessie says. ‘They were so en­chant­ing that we couldn’t help but get more. One, Miss Moneypenny, gave birth to her cria Wil­bur soon after I had Kit and I ended up hav­ing to bot­tle feed him. I would be up at 2am feed­ing Kit and would then run down to the sta­bles to feed Wil­bur.’

The prop­erty also has an an­cient barn that the fam­ily uses for par­ties. ‘All we have done is clean it,’ says Jessie. ‘I think to do any­thing else would ruin it – the rea­son it is so charm­ing is be­cause it is in its nat­u­ral state.’

The farm­house comes into its own at Christ­mas. Jessie be­decks each space with win­try green­ery, baubles, can­dles and fes­tive touches. Her favourite tree is in the mu­sic room, with lit­tle man­u­script scrolls adorn­ing the branches.

‘We love Christ­mas,’ she says. ‘My birth­day is three days after Christ­mas and Xander’s is on De­cem­ber 24, so it’s a very spe­cial time of year. We have a fam­ily party for Xander on Christ­mas Eve and then it’s just the four of us for stock­ings in bed on Christ­mas morn­ing. We feed the an­i­mals and then come back in for a hearty brunch, be­fore open­ing presents un­der the tree. The an­i­mals need feed­ing again at 3pm but then we come in for a tra­di­tional lunch at 4pm – and then we can prop­erly re­lax.’

Now the fam­ily are hap­pily en­sconced in their idyl­lic his­toric home, they in­tend to stay put. ‘I wouldn’t change a thing about this house,’ says Jessie. ‘I love it here.’


Fam­ily room Jessie’s style is clas­si­cal with an eth­nic twist. Ra­jasthani pot and Ber­ber rugs(on cof­fee table), Wat­tle & Daub. Cush­ions, sim­i­lar from Etsy.

Or­anges stud­ded with cloves cre­ate a pretty table cen­tre­piece and emit a de­li­cious sea­sonal scent.

Kitchen The cou­ple re­con­fig­ured this into an open­plan hub and added a stun­ning re­claimed floor to match the old­est part of the house. Light fit­tings, Orig­i­nal BTC. Kitchen, Thomas Ford & Sons. Bar stools, sim­i­lar from Where Saints Go.

Ex­te­rior The ren­o­va­tion in­cluded the ad­di­tion of a Bar­gate stone porch to the front of the prop­erty. Front door and win­dows, for a sim­i­lar paint colour, try Am­monite by Far­row & Ball.

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