WHAT MY HOME MEANS TO ME Jimmy Do­herty

JIMMY DO­HERTY

House Beautiful (UK) - - CONTENTS -

WHERE I LIVE

We moved to our Vic­to­rian farm­house, near to our work­ing farm, five years ago and, though we’ve done a lot of work, it’s still very much an on­go­ing process. I love the lo­ca­tion close to an es­tu­ary and we have fan­tas­tic sea birds vis­it­ing the grounds. The gar­den used to have for­mal flowerbeds and or­na­men­tal trees, but we’ve opened it up so it’s more nat­u­ral. We’ve cre­ated wild­flower ar­eas and a nat­u­ral pond, and we have cat­tle graz­ing in the fields. Michaela and I are in­ter­ested in de­sign and we’re al­ways look­ing on Pin­ter­est for new ideas. I’m away film­ing a lot and will of­ten bring some­thing back. I re­cently found a lit­tle old-fash­ioned sign in an an­tiques shop say­ing ‘In­door Market’ – that’s now hang­ing in the din­ing room op­po­site a replica di­nosaur skull. I like to mix the quirky with the tra­di­tional! We’ve com­pletely re-done the kitchen, putting in a large larder area and cen­tral is­land. We have Vic­to­rian-style tiling and slate floors, and we’ve ex­posed all the fire­places. I love the tres­tle din­ing ta­ble Michaela’s mum gave us. It came from Provence where she used to live. I’m fond of my col­lec­tion of walk­ing sticks made by my friend, the chef Gen­naro Con­taldo. He whit­tles them by hand from hazel and of­ten turns up with sev­eral at a time.

MY IN­SPI­RA­TION

Mum was a hair­dresser and my dad was a builder – they both ran their own busi­nesses. They in­stilled in me the be­lief that I had to get out there and work. Hav­ing a lie-in was re­garded as a sin. I still get up very early. As a child, I mod­elled my­self on nat­u­ral­ist Ger­ald Dur­rell, who used to have a TV show. I had a rep­tile house and bred but­ter­flies. I even con­verted my dad’s car port into an aviary with cages for bud­gies and cock­a­toos. I once got off the school bus to see a tree filled with my es­caped bud­gies. It took hours to catch them.

I stud­ied en­to­mol­ogy and, al­though I later went into farm­ing, I’m still in­ter­ested in in­sects. I have a huge in­sect col­lec­tion and have lots of an­i­mal heads and shells at home. There are lots of pieces I’d like to put out on dis­play, but you don’t want your home to end up look­ing like a Ham­mer House of Hor­ror.

MY FAM­ILY

Life is busy and when I’m not film­ing

I’m usu­ally work­ing at our farm. We have 40 full-time staff and a butch­ery restau­rant – I’m con­stantly on call. Week­ends are fam­ily time though; I make pan­cakes for the kids on Satur­day morn­ings, and we al­ways have a happy Sun­day lunch – I cook the roast.

The kids love liv­ing on a farm. They’ve got the free­dom to run around, to go out on their bikes or splash about in the pond.

We call this our for­ever home, but you never know – some­times we talk about open­ing a tea plan­ta­tion in Sri Lanka! I want the kids to have a Huck­le­berry Finn-type ad­ven­ture in life, but it’s very ground­ing grow­ing up on a farm. I want them to work in the restau­rant, be there when lambs are de­liv­ered, to un­der­stand food pro­duc­tion and to ap­pre­ci­ate the nat­u­ral world. My favourite days are when I get up re­ally early and en­joy a cup of tea and a ba­con sand­wich in peace. Most evenings, I like to take the kids to pick ap­ples from the or­chard and veg from our patch for din­ner. Just per­fect. HB

Visit Jimmy’s Farm, jim­mys­farm.com

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The TV pre­sen­ter, 43, founded Jimmy’s Farm with his wife Michaela, 43. They live in Suf­folk with their four young daugh­ters, aged from five months to eight years old

Jimmy’s home and farm are set in the Suf­folk coun­try­side, near the Blyth es­tu­ary (above). He loves in­sects and has a large col­lec­tion of but­ter­flies, housed in cases from the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum

Friend, chef Gen­naro Con­taldo whit­tles walk­ing sticks like these, which Jimmy trea­sures. Rus­tic charm in­side Jimmy’s Farm (be­low)

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