The height of elegance
The classic interior of this Georgian property marries pattern, colour and texture to create a family home with a contemporary feel
Resplendent in its setting on top of a hill in the bucolic Wiltshire countryside, Sasha and John Kennedy’s Georgian country villa commands magnificent views. The illustrious house has gone through several incarnations – it was a hospital during the Second World War and, at one time, was even divided up into flats. Prior to Sasha and John buying it, the property had become a family home again, with a substantial renovation in the Sixties that featured interior decoration by John Fowler.
Looking to make an escape from London, the Kennedys bought the house five years ago, in order to turn it into an idyllic family home for themselves and their three young sons. ‘It was hard not to fall in love with the house,’ says Sasha. ‘There’s a sense of space, but it’s also very cosy. We can enjoy the space while the boys are growing up and we don’t feel we’ll be rattling around in it when they’ve left home.’
When the family moved in, the decor had not been touched for around 50 years, so work needed to be done to make it a more suitable home for a young family. ‘There was no underfloor heating and no en suites apart from the master bedroom,’ says Sasha. ‘We also wanted to add a boot room and a utility room, and to create a more open-plan living feel.’
The house was taken back to the bare bones while work such as plumbing and the electrics were done and new heating installed, with the family moving into a farmhouse on the land while the builders made progress. Downstairs, the layout remained the same, but upstairs, internal walls were removed and several small rooms were knocked
together to create more spacious bedrooms, while redundant cupboards were transformed into en-suite bathrooms.
Sasha enlisted the help of Taline Findlater and Victoria Gray of Olivine Design with the interior. ‘We wanted a scheme that was country yet contemporary,’ says Sasha. ‘It was important for us to respect the heritage of the house. And while we didn’t want the interior to date, it also had to be in keeping with us as a young family. We wanted clean lines that married with the house, rather than frills and tassels. Making the rooms feel spacious and light was also a priority.
‘We love interesting and textural fabrics – they help to create rooms that are warm and inviting. In terms of colour and fabric, I briefed Taline and Victoria that we were open to everything. I couldn’t suggest what I wanted, but I knew what I liked when I saw it.’
Olivine Design came up with carefully considered schemes incorporating texture and pattern that give each room an identity, while at the same time, continuing the colour palette from one room to the next to ensure the flow of the decor. The colours also take into account the fact that the house is north/south facing, so that the rooms on one side of the house require warmer colours.
These cosier rooms are particularly alluring on wintry days, coming into their own during the festive season when open fires blaze, foliage swags adorn the mantelpieces and the entrance hall welcomes guests with a magnificent tree and garlanded banister. ‘There is plenty of space for friends and family,’ says Sasha. ‘Christmas here is very special.’
DRAWING ROOMSituated in the oldest part of the house, this large room was given a relaxing, grown-up decor to stand the test of time, with wide-planked floorboards for a contemporary finish. Upright Full Back three-seater sofa, £3,240 plus fabric; two-seater sofa, £2,755, plus fabric, both David Seyfried, davidseyfried.com; upholstered in Claydon in Red, F3721/06, £99m, and Lisle in Beige, F3826/01, £108m, Colefax and Fowler, colefax.com. Michigan silk 1525 wallcovering, £135m, Stereo, available through Olivine Design, olivinedesign.co.uk. Richmond ottoman, bespoke size, Kingcome Sofas, kingcomesofas.co.uk; upholstered in Izmir Rouge, F0860003, £285.60m, Pierre Frey, pierrefrey.com. Curtains in Lampas Sanary Vieil, 4029-04, £278.50m, Lelièvre, lelievreparis.com.DINING ROOMThis north-facing room combines claret-coloured walls with dark wood furniture and floors so that it feels especially cosy on a winter’s day. Walls in Book Room Red, £45 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball at Homebase, homebase.co.uk. Snowy fir tree on log, £12; triple snowy fir tree on log, £24; baubles from, £4 each; gold resin partridges, £15 each, all Gisela Graham, giselagraham.co.uk. Clear glass ribbed baubles, £6, The White Company, thewhitecompany.com.
KITCHENSasha chose a warm blue for the Shaker-style cabinetry, continuing the colour palette with a blind fabric combining blue and acid green. Industrial stools inject a modern touch.Suffolk cabinets with Chichester mouldings, painted in Aqua Blue eggshell, £54 for 2.5L, Neptune. The Suffolkkitchen starts from £13,000, Neptune, Neptune.com.LIBRARYAn earthy palette, plaid fabric wallcovering and an antler-style light fitting evoke a hunting-lodge feel.Walls in Lanark Plaid fabric in Beige, £104m, Colefax and Fowler, colefax.com.