WHAT MY HOME MEANS TO ME
Model Kelly Brook
WHERE I LIVE
I was living in LA when I got a part in a period drama being filmed in Kent, my home county. I hadn’t appreciated before how beautiful the countryside and architecture were, and I decided it was time to move back. My home is a 15th-century timber-framed Wealden farmhouse with an oasthouse attached, but it was the magical quality of the gardens that made me fall in love with the place. There’s an apple and pear orchard and a freshwater spring by the kitchen door. Anyone who’s owned a period property knows it’s a never-ending labour of love.
I wanted the house to look its age, so I worked with an architect, stripping out the plaster to expose the frame of the house and the original beams. But though it looks old, it’s superefficient and has underfloor heating.
The interior style is rustic shabby chic, so I can’t go crazy with colour. Downstairs I’ve kept it mainly creamy white with Farrow & Ball’s Pointing. I’ve used its Peignoir for my bedroom and an olive green for the library and bar area. There’s a trend for darker kitchens
and I’ve recently repainted mine in a deep green, which I’m really pleased with.
I replaced the showers with cast-iron
bathtubs, which are more in keeping with the style of the house. Lots of rooms have open fireplaces, including the kitchen, where I have two George Smith wing chairs close by, which makes the space feel more comfortable and sociable.
I think some people expect me to have plush velvet and diamanté everywhere, but my style is classic – I love going to antiques shops to buy bits and bobs, and I collect Portuguese cabbage plates.
My grandfather and mother were keen gardeners, but they had tiny council house gardens. My mum still kept chickens and grew veg, but she would have loved a garden like mine – I realise I’m lucky. Gardening is hard work, but great for clearing my head. Over the past 10 years, I’ve learnt so much. There have been some failures – trying to grow French lavender in the Kent soil was one! Living here has really made me think more about nature. Now I’ve got the garden the way I want it to look. I’ve created a meadow with wild flowers to sustain the insects and natural grasses for the rabbits.
Autumn is my favourite season – the house is so cosy. I put woolly Avoca throws on the sofas and beds, we chop wood to make log stacks for the fires, and I start to cook stews and curries on my Rayburn.
Up in the meadow is a little festival area where the light’s beautiful in the evenings.
I love having friends and family over for a hog roast served with lovely homemade apple sauce and coleslaw. There’s a shepherd’s hut there and I put up bell tents. I always have plenty of friends wanting to come and stay – it’s my own little paradise. HB
Kelly Brook is supporting Macmillan
l Cancer Support’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 28 September. To get involved at home or at work and help change lives, visit macmillan.org.uk/ coffee
A keen cook and gardener, Kelly spends a lot of time in the expansive grounds of her farmhouse and preparing meals on her Rayburn cooker
Kelly’s style is classic – she loves buying homeware and furniture at antiques shops, and collects Portuguese cabbage plates