Standing in the grounds of this beautiful 17th-century home is a magnificent Sessile oak tree measuring 36.5 feet. In its 1,000-year lifetime, it has seen families come and go from the 400-year-old farmhouse that stands in its shadow, but few will have brought the old, listed house to life like Sally and Robin Kellard.
They gave this historic home an exciting new future by drawing inspiration from its Jacobean and Georgian heritage.
They restored and renovated within the constraints of its Grade II * listing, including adding new en-suite bathrooms, new kitchen units, a new driveway, and carefully sanding and polishing original wooden floors.
This welcoming mix of warm wood furniture, layers of plush and generous soft furnishings, roaring log fires, and the mouth-watering smells of home-baking form a natural festive backdrop to their Christmas decor ideas.
Since moving their successful B&B business, Crow Leasow, lock stock and barrel from Herefordshire back to their hometown of Ludlow in the summer of 2018, they have transformed the practical working farmhouse, with farmhouse decor ideas, into a home full of color and character.
By celebrating the property’s rich history, and bringing its ancient walls to life with their eclectic style, they have created a unique home that draws visitors from all over the world.
The walls of the landing were a ‘bland’ cream when Sally moved in, so she brightened them up with Farrow & Ball's Rectory Red.
When it came to other room color ideas, Sally called on the help of friends and color consultants, Emma and Ed Bulmer of Edward Bulmer Natural Paint, to source paint shades that would complement the ancient rooms, with their asymmetrical walls and low, oak-beamed ceilings.
Many of the walls are decorated in German-based Keim mineral paints, which date back to the 1800s, and reflect the subtle tones and nuances demanded of a Grade II* listed property.
As a painted kitchen idea, ‘I created the wall color in the kitchen from a number of paints mixed together,’ Sally explains. ‘Keim paints now have one called Sally’s Pink!’ Sally hung her collection of copper pans over the Aga.
The new kitchen units were made to Sally and Robin’s careful measurements and supplemented by antique plate racks and rustic work surfaces to create an unfitted, old family farmhouse kitchen style.
A lovely green kitchen idea, the sage green units perfectly complement the pale terracotta-toned walls.
‘The light, space, and shape of a room dictate everything,’ says Sally. ‘I am creative. I can feel colors rather than just see them, and I can build an entire room from a single color in the curtains or a piece of beautiful furniture.'
This was the case with the blue living room, with walls painted in Farrow and Ball De Nimes Blue, the blue reflected in the armchair that was bought at auction.
The farmhouse living room is home to Sally’s treasured antique pictures and the elegant antique mirror, which sits on a fire surround sourced at a salvage yard. As a living room ceiling idea, Sally painted the ceiling the same color as the walls to create unity and warmth in this comfortable room.
The decorating schemes in the farmhouse bedrooms are also anchored around a particular color.
Sally had a bed canopy made to match the original drapes, while the sumptuous bedroom curtains were upcycled from another house.
The large bed in the green bedroom, which came from a friend, was hand-painted by Sally. She made the canopy with end-of-roll fabric pinned behind a plaster coronet.
A demonstration in decorating with mirrors, the antique mirror stands out against the Little Greene Olive wall color.
Antiques and upcycling
Some of the furniture in Crow Leasow has been sourced from antique shops in and around the town, although the majority came with the couple from their last house.
‘We’ve sourced yet more period furnishing to add to the array of suitably old pieces we brought with us, from four poster beds to longcase clocks to court cupboards. Everything has been done on a shoestring and there has been plenty of upcycling without losing any sense of quality and comfort,’ says Sally. ‘It now looks as if we have been here forever.’
Decorating for Christmas
‘Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year at Crow Leasow,’ says Sally. ‘The house lends itself to cozy winter evenings in front of the fires, while the countryside around us is spectacular at this time of year.'
Sally usually has several Christmas trees placed around the house along with wreaths made from foliage gathered from the gardens and lights festooned across the mantels.
This beautiful Jacobean door is the ideal place to hang a Christmas wreath made with foliage from the garden and a few additions of faux flowers for added color.
It makes the perfect welcome to this beautiful festive home.
Traditional games are always popular but especially at Christmas time, played in front of a roaring log fire and a plate of mince pies.
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Heather was a news journalist in regional papers until an interview with a theatrical couple living in a very theatrical house took her career down a very different route – and led to a long-standing passion for homes and interiors.
For 30 years Heather has travelled the length and breadth of the UK sourcing and writing about readers’ beautiful homes.
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