This cozy 19th century stone farmhouse's kitchen was once a barn – you can hire the whole home on Airbnb

Matt and Alice Cobon have put their heart and soul into creating an architecturally beautiful home that’s a perfect example of modern rural living

Living room, kitchen, bedroom
(Image credit: Matt and Alice Cobon)

The 19th-century stone farmhouse is set a short distance from the Jurassic coast, within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and with unspoilt views of the rolling Dorset countryside in South West England. 

The property had been in the same family for more than 60 years and was in desperate need of love and attention. But with its adjoining barn and series of dilapidated outhouses, plus 16 acres of wild gardens and meadows, it was a project that needed heart and soul.

Stone exterior, wooden dining table

The 19th-century farmhouse has been restored to its former glory and connected to the converted barn

(Image credit: Matt and Alice Cobon)

‘We both have a passion for interior design and wanted to modernize the property in a way that bridged the gap between contemporary and traditional living,' says owner Alice Cobon. Converting the barn was high on their list.

'We quickly earmarked the large, adjoining barn as the new kitchen/living area, and drew up plans to maximize the space upstairs by reconfiguring the warren of small rooms connected by a narrow winding corridor. 

'Restoring period character back into the property was also top of the list. With London as our main base and a trusted team of builders on site, we were able to jump into a full renovation without worrying about the impact on our everyday lives.’

Black cabinet, wooden table, ladder

The kitchen island makes the most of the barn’s large dimensions. ‘It’s the social hub of the house and we love to gather round it while preparing meals'

(Image credit: Matt and Alice Cobon)

Over the following six months the farmhouse was transformed. A mezzanine level was knocked out in the barn, revealing the beautiful, vaulted ceiling (see above in the kitchen), while full-height doors and new windows flood the space with light. 

‘Alice and I both love to cook, so it seemed fitting that the biggest and brightest room would be the kitchen,’ Matt says. 

A glazed side addition was built, connecting the barn to the main house and outside space, with a hidden pocket door linking through to the snug (below).

Yellow sofa, blue dresser

(Image credit: Matt and Alice Cobon)

‘The rest of the downstairs layout stayed the same, but we worked hard to restore the original features, including the inglenooks and flagstone flooring that had been painted over or covered up. 

'The three reception rooms are all cozy spaces without a huge amount of natural light, so we embraced the darkness by decorating and furnishing them in rich, opulent colors and textures.’ 

Blue living room, gold lamp, yellow sofa

(Image credit: Matt and Alice Cobon)

The living room (above) comes into its own as the nights draw in. ‘We wanted the room to have a speakeasy feel, so opted for dark painted walls with maximalist décor and furnishings,’ says Alice.

Red cinema chairs, wooden cabinet, gold lampshade

The vintage signage, haberdashery drawers and cinema seats add the couple’s sense of fun and personality to the room

(Image credit: Matt and Alice Cobon)

Upstairs, four rooms were knocked into one to create a primary bedroom with stunning views, and an ensuite, where a large copper bath now resides. There are also three more bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Wooden bedside table, green hanging lamp, wooden floor

The freestanding copper bath, which looks striking against the royal blue tiles, was the first thing the couple bought for the house, adding that all-important touch of luxury

(Image credit: Matt and Alice Cobon)

Now a family of four, the Cobons have continued to develop the house over the years, but with more of a family focus. The old kitchen is now a playroom and in the gardens you’ll find a play area, a big Mediterranean seating area and an outdoor kitchen complete with a pizza oven. 

‘Our home is comfortable and stylish in equal measure. Breathing life back into its walls has been such an enjoyable and creative process,’ says Alice.

Find the farmhouse on Airbnb at Reinventing the Farm.

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.