Per­fect pri­ory

An an­cient house in north Nor­folk makes a state­ment fam­ily home


Reg­u­lar read­ers may re­call that in the later part of last year, I fea­tured a fun dairy con­ver­sion, the Old Dairy Cot­tage at Field Dalling. Sit­u­ated near the north Nor­folk coast, it be­longs to Emma and Ni­cholas De­ter­d­ing and I men­tioned that I would re­turn later to fea­ture their mag­nif­i­cent home.

Emma, an in­te­rior de­signer, loves bright colours and loves to use them in many of her projects. But here is a to­tal con­trast, a much softer, more gen­tle theme prevails, still with splashes of colour and very suited to this coun­try house.

She used to own a com­pany called Con­tact Lon­don, which pro­vided a concierge ser­vice to ex­pa­tri­ates, look­ing after their city prop­er­ties. She sold the busi­ness in 2007 and started in­te­rior de­sign busi­ness Kelling De­signs at Chelsea Har­bour.

In 2011 Nick and Emma bought a 12th cen­tury manor house in Field Dalling, which in­cluded two out­build­ings, now con­verted to hol­i­day cot­tages, and two large barns. One is the Nor­folk base for her busi­ness and the other for events and func­tions

I ar­rive early one morn­ing and step in­side the back door to be greeted by a very loud screech­ing noise that makes me jump out of my skin. Over three decades of vis­it­ing own­ers’ homes, noth­ing like this has ever hap­pened be­fore.

On en­ter­ing the farm­hous­es­tyle kitchen I im­me­di­ately see the cause of the noise; Emma’s large and colour­ful par­rot. Later I did get him to pose on his stand for the kitchen shot. Hav­ing com­posed my­self, Emma takes me on the grand tour.

“I have al­ways en­joyed work­ing on old houses,” ex­plains Emma, “so do­ing our home here, was a great plea­sure. This Grade Two prop­erty was built as a pri­ory by the Cis­ter­cian monks from the vil­lage of Citeaux, near Di­jon in France, around 1158.

“Be­ing a fam­ily home for us and our chil­dren, Is­abella and Thomas, I wanted it to be clas­sic, re­laxed and com­fort­able. When we first found the prop­erty Ni­cholas and I were taken by its lo­ca­tion close to the coast, but in a small vil­lage sur­rounded by ru­ral coun­try­side.

“Hav­ing the two barns, which are men­tioned by [Niko­laus] Pevs­ner, and the two hol­i­day cot­tages, it re­ally suited our needs, with loads of po­ten­tial. Ev­ery­one loves the large spa­cious court­yard gar­den to the rear, where I placed a foun­tain made by Giles Rayner in Dorset, which lights up.

“In 2017, the party barn re­ally came into its own as Ni­cholas and I cel­e­brated our 30th wed­ding an­niver­sary with many friends.”

From the kitchen we cross the en­trance hall, with its old pam­ment floor­ing, to the win­ter din­ing room, com­plete with wallinset ob­long log burner, be­fore go­ing on to the de­light­ful liv­ing room. With large comfy so­fas gath­ered around the roar­ing wood burner, the feel is very

“I have al­ways en­joyed work­ing on old houses, so do­ing our home here, was a great plea­sure”

English coun­try house.

I like Emma’s splashes of colour, both in cush­ions and the rug. To one side is a large bureau with chair and on the far wall I spot a large por­trait. “That was painted by Raoul Martinez,” Emma tells me. “It’s of our son Tom and gives a fo­cal point to that wall.

We then pro­ceed up­stairs, first to the spa­cious master bed­room, with ad­join­ing en-suite. “The bed is so com­fort­able and with­out doubt is my favourite item in this house.” Although the colours here are muted, with taupe fur­nish­ings and pe­riod fur­ni­ture, again Emma’s trade­mark touches with glass ta­ble lamps with deep pur­ple shades.

She has con­tin­ued that colour into the en-suite, with a wall and a chair. Fur­ther down the pas­sage­way we visit a guest bed­room in pas­tel blue, with up­hol­stered head­board, pe­riod an­tiques and a wooden bench at the end of the bed, which I par­tic­u­larly like.

Next door is Thomas’s bed­room, for when he vis­its, with a bed throw and rug from Bom­bay Sprout, a com­pany which Emma runs with her good friend Zara Bol­ing­broke-Kent.

We progress into the court­yard gar­den, be­hind the house, where Giles Rayner’s foun­tain re­ally sets off this large court­yard gar­den well. To the left is an area, ad­join­ing the party barn, used as the out­door sum­mer din­ing and sit­ting room, with room to en­ter­tain friends.

“I must tell you,” says Emma, “that this area is my favourite room, other than the master bed­room which is so peace­ful. It’s great hav­ing friends over and when I am here alone I love just lis­ten­ing to the sound of wa­ter from the foun­tain, to­gether with the bird­song. Go­ing out favourites are Wive­ton Cafe,

great views and food and also No.1 Cromer for great fish and chips.”

“Hav­ing spent a lot of time trav­el­ling, for hol­i­days or to see clients it’s al­ways fan­tas­tic to be back here. Nei­ther Ni­cholas nor I would want to live any­where else. Be­sides this his­toric pe­riod home, we are sur­rounded by ru­ral coun­try­side with all the joys of the north Nor­folk coast just a short drive away,” says Emma.

“I love go­ing for walks on Holkham beach, you re­ally still can be on your own if you are pre­pared to walk a while and

I also en­joy go­ing around the shops both at Creake Abbey and Burn­ham Mar­ket. Be­ing able to also run the Nor­folk end of my busi­ness from here is very much the ic­ing on the cake.”

Kelling De­signs, K2 and Bom­bay Sprout; 0203 8664430. Pri­ory Barn Field Dalling; 01328 830449 [email protected]­ kellingde­ tony­

So­fas from Kelling De­signs (01328 830449); pic­ture of Thomas by Raoul Martinez; rug by Bom­bay Sprout (01328 830449); all flow­ers by Katie Bag­nel­lOake­ley - Mock Or­ange Flow­ers (01263 761861); pic­ture over fire by Tom Leveritt; lamps and shades, Kelling De­signs (01328 830449); sec­re­taire a fam­ily piece

LEFT:Units by Kitchens Etc (01328 823111); lamp - Pooki from Kelling De­signs (01328 830449); ta­ble from Heath­field An­tiques Holt

ABOVE:Pic­ture on wall dates from 1855 and was found in the roof; cof­fre be­longed to Emma’s great grand­mother; the pam­ments are orig­i­nal BE­LOW: Ar­moire a fam­ily piece; lamps from Kelling De­signs (01328 830449); Other fur­ni­ture fam­ily pieces; throw by Broche, from Kelling De­signs

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