Heck­field Place

This ru­ral haven’s in­te­ri­ors and restau­rants put it at the top of our week­end-away wish­list

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

This ru­ral re­treat’s in­te­rior puts it at the top of our week­end-away wish­list

Lo­cated in deep­est, glo­ri­ous Hamp­shire, this his­toric 18th-cen­tury coun­try house of­fers tra­di­tional com­forts with a mod­ern feel. Its owner, Hong Kong busi­ness­man Ger­ald Chan, called on Ben Thomp­son, a pro­tegé of de­signer Ilse Crawford, to con­vert the house and its in­te­ri­ors. He also em­ployed the help of Skye Gyn­gell – the orig­i­nal Peter­sham Nurs­eries chef who now runs Som­er­set House’s Spring in Lon­don – to over­see Heck­field Place’s two restau­rants. The re­sults are won­der­ful.

Thomp­son has rec­on­ciled the house’s grand Ge­or­gian ar­chi­tec­ture with a more con­tem­po­rary aes­thetic by strip­ping back or­na­men­ta­tion and work­ing with nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als. Bull­rush from the nearby Great Ouse river was har­vested to cre­ate bas­kets and head­boards for the beds, while one-off pieces from The New Crafts­men sit be­side art­works from Mr Chan’s own col­lec­tion.

‘The chal­lenge was to be brave enough to treat Heck­field Place as a home, while hav­ing a ho­tel op­er­a­tion run un­ob­tru­sively in the back­ground,’ Thomp­son says of the project – his first solo ho­tel. He’s cer­tainly suc­ceeded: the 47 bed­rooms (scat­tered through the house, its court­yards and wings), morn­ing room, draw­ing room and Moon Bar are all con­vivial and cosy.

Across the 400-acre grounds, there’s a bio­dy­namic farm, two lakes, a minia­ture spa and The Lit­tle Bothy, a Pi­lates stu­dio. Peach trees grow in the green­house and the mar­ket gar­den pro­duces ev­ery­thing from fen­nel to mel­ons, all of which will go straight to the kitchens of Gyn­gell’s two restau­rants – the larger Marle and the homely Hearth, which is housed in the con­verted sta­bles. ‘A stay at Heck­field Place will feel like you’re be­ing hugged – a feel­ing that’s in your plate of food,’ says Gyn­gell. It can also, we think, be found in the warmth of this coun­try­side re­treat’s beau­ti­fully re­lax­ing in­te­ri­ors and gar­dens. From £350 per night ( heck­field­place.com).

‘A STAY AT HECK­FIELD PLACE WILL FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BE­ING HUGGED – A FEEL­ING THAT’S IN YOUR PLATE OF FOOD’

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