New be­gin­ning:

We take a look in­side a hand­some new home in the his­toric town of Reep­ham

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: Tony Hall

Su­per-stylish home in Reep­ham

“As an in­te­rior de­signer, I have al­ways paid great at­ten­tion to light­ing, as it al­lows you to set the mood to ex­actly what’s re­quired,” says Emile Ezan. “So when I joined Si­mon here in Nor­folk, I was amazed at how beau­ti­ful the skies are.

“I know many peo­ple rave about these big, wide, open skies, but you re­ally need to see them your­self. On an early week­end, we were sit­ting to­gether with our re­spec­tive mums, hav­ing a pic­nic, in the dunes at Win­ter­ton.

“It was a per­fect sum­mer’s day, with fam­i­lies en­joy­ing them­selves on the beach, the sea was sparkling and the sky a deep blue with fluffy clouds. As I looked up, I could ap­pre­ci­ate im­me­di­ately the won­der of Nor­folk, which is now home.”

Emile was born and raised in Ja­maica un­til he was 10, when his par­ents moved to the Wool­wich and Greenwich ar­eas of Lon­don.

Af­ter school, Emile went to Thames Polytech­nic and stud­ied busi­ness and fi­nance. He briefly worked for an elec­tri­cal re­tailer, be­fore join­ing civil en­gi­neers Thomas Telford to work in their public­ity and pub­lish­ing de­part­ment.

“That di­vi­sion was then bought out by Emap and merged with Ar­chi­tects Jour­nal, where I stayed for 13 years, be­fore be­ing made re­dun­dant,” adds Emile. “I had al­ways wanted to do in­te­ri­ors and you could say I was a frus­trated ar­chi­tect.

“My love is the build­ing and its in­te­rior. So with my re­dun­dancy money, I re­trained at the KLC School of In­te­rior De­sign, which gave a prac­ti­cal base and I achieved a diploma in in­te­rior de­sign and dec­o­ra­tion. Then I did a year with Si­mon Hamil­ton In­te­rior De­sign, be­fore start­ing on my own in 2004, which was a good time, with houses sell­ing and peo­ple spend­ing money do­ing them up.”

Emile and part­ner Si­mon Sykes met in 2014, ini­tially spend­ing week­ends to­gether ei­ther in Lon­don or in Nor­folk where Si­mon lived. Si­mon, from Leeds, had wanted to be an air­line pilot but in­stead ended up train­ing as a den­tist, join­ing a prac­tice in Croy­don.

He then found a prac­tice in Har­leston, where he moved in 1982, later open­ing a prac­tice in Diss. When it came to find­ing a home to­gether with Emile, Nor­folk seemed the per­fect choice for a plot of land where they could self-build near the coast. But the search proved dif­fi­cult, un­til they saw a fea­ture in the Eastern Daily Press prop­erty pages on the new de­vel­op­ment at The Dial House, Reep­ham.

“We re­ally liked Iain Wil­son the de­vel­oper,” says Si­mon. “We thought the build qual­ity of the ex­ist­ing prop­er­ties was ex­cel­lent and he of­fered us the op­por­tu­nity of cus­tomis­ing, al­low­ing for room and lo­ca­tion changes, say­ing ‘you can do what you want in­side’, which, with Emile’s vast ex­pe­ri­ence, was great and clinched the deal.”

The Dial House, known be­cause of the large sun­dial over the front door, is a listed Geor­gian house built in 1729. It was home to the Bir­cham fam­ily, who ran a brew­ery from there for sev­eral gen­er­a­tions. In 1972 it was bought and con­verted into a ho­tel, re­named The Old Brew­ery House, closed in 2013. It was then ac­quired by Iain Wil­son, who drew up plans to re­store the ho­tel with nine rooms, adding res­i­den­tial con­ver­sions and new builds where the old ban­quet­ing hall, sports hall and car park were.

“Be­ing used to read­ing floor-plans I just made a few changes,” says Emile. “Nat­u­rally, as we both love en­ter­tain­ing – Si­mon is a first class cook – the main liv­ing area of kitchen/din­ing/liv­ing and snug were re­ally im­por­tant. It is Si­mon’s favourite and he loves his steam oven, while I love the mas­ter bed and en­suite and the light­ing ev­ery­where. The elec­tri­cian told us he had never used so much cable in one house!

“I have just zoned the ar­eas with both open di­viders, light­ing and a noiseab­sorb­ing wall cov­er­ing in yel­low. With up to 10 friends sit­ting down to meals it all works well. My de­sign ethos is it must look great, but just as im­por­tant it must be prac­ti­cal and work through­out.

“Hav­ing lived in Lon­don for 40-plus years, the big­gest con­trast is here there is a real sense of com­mu­nity,” says Emile. “Down there you might not even know your neigh­bours, but here, peo­ple stop and chat, in a shop or the street. It’s won­der­ful but took me by sur­prise.

“Our lo­cal butcher, Brian Robert­son, is ex­cel­lent and we en­joy go­ing shop­ping in Nor­wich. We visit The Gra­nary for home decor and Thorns DIY, op­po­site Jar­rolds, is a real trea­sure trove. But my hub for de­sign has to be Chelsea Har­bour.”

“Now we have set­tled in we have more time for days out,” says Si­mon. “We en­joy the coast gen­er­ally, but Wells in par­tic­u­lar, with Bran­caster and Titch­well fol­low­ing close, plus the Burn­hams. For walks, Mar­riott’s Way is on our doorstep. We are so for­tu­nate to have a great fam­ily pub here in Reep­ham, The Kings Arms.”

“Com­ing to Nor­folk has lit­er­ally been a breath of fresh air,” says Emile. “Be­sides the com­mu­nity spirit, the walk­ing and great peo­ple, my in­te­rior de­sign busi­ness is get­ting well-es­tab­lished with an in­creas­ing num­ber of lo­cal clients.

“In my spare time, I en­joy read­ing nov­els, but mostly I think of that early in­tro­duc­tion, the pic­nic on the beach, good com­pany and the iconic Nor­folk skies.”

Emile Ezan 01603 879870 chameleon­de­signsin­te­ri­ tony­

CLOCK­WISEFROM ABOVE:Desk units, chair and book­shelves all from Ikea; dis­play unit from Case Fur­ni­tureCon­sole unit from Jointed & Jointed, mir­ror from R.V. Ash­ley TradeBlue sofa and cof­fee ta­ble from John Lewis

TOP TO BOT­TOM:White so­fas from John Lewis, cof­fee ta­ble from Mul­tiy­ork, now closed; lamp­shade by Tom Raffield; mir­ror from R.V. Ash­ley Trade; unit from; rug from Laura Ash­ley

Suite from Mag Nor­wich, 01603 488770; taps by Hans­grohe ; shower by Du­ravit; tiles from C.T.D. Fak­en­ham, 01328 853722

Wall Lights from Astro Light­ing; throw from John Lewis; bed from; Sprint head­board by Tem­pur; ceil­ing lights from Star Light­ing; Car­pet from J.D. Wil­liamson of Fak­en­ham, 01328 862 145; wall­pa­per Wil­liam Mor­ris from John Lewis

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