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]signs.com kellingdesigns.com tonyhalleyepix.com
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