Ask Sarah Druce what inspired her most when she was redesigning her converted stables home in Surrey, UK, and she’ll tell you it was the time she spent away from it. So it's not surprising the finished home has a holiday feel about it that wouldn't look out of place in New England, Majorca or South Africa. All of these places inspired her and the renovation gave Sarah the opportunity to bring her favourite global looks to her unique home.
The result is a tranquil and welcoming retreat, with a calm vibe that fits right into its peaceful woodland setting, and luxurious touches that truly make this one of the world's best homes.
Open-plan kitchen diner
The property has been part of Sarah’s life for as long as she can remember. It was built in 1858 as the original Victorian stable block and coach house to her former childhood home, and was converted for residential use in the 1980s. It was refurbished for Sarah’s grandmother and when she died the property was let to tenants until Sarah bought it from her father.
Kitchen ideas here on the open-plan ground floor include fitted cabinets and an island, designed by Sarah and built by Handmade Kitchens of Christchurch, then painted in Little Greene’s Tea with Florence. The island and cabinets are topped with Caesarstone Cloudburst Concrete honed composite worktops, making the edges double thickness so they look more substantial and luxurious – a trick she learned from her mother.
The cabinets are painted in Hardwick White by Farrow & Ball. Sarah added vintage handles a The double oven and hob are from Smeg and the pendant lights were the originals from her mother’s home next door.
Dining room ideas in the coach house's open-plan space include a farmhouse table from Sarah’s old family home that works well with her relaxed mix of vintage and newer finds. The bentwood chairs are new and the old chapel chairs belonged to Sarah’s mother. Sarah found the Welsh dresser base for sale locally and restored it, adding a new top made by her carpenter.
The windows in all of the property’s main rooms have been replaced with French doors leading to the decked area and pergola, built by Matt Truseler at Surrey Hills Carpentry & Oak Framing. Sarah added featherboard cladding, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hardwick White. During lockdown, Sarah had to source wood wherever she could to finish the project – the carpenter built the table and benches from offcuts of wood used elsewhere in the build
Cozy living space
Anyone looking for living room ideas will find inspiration in this cozy corner. No need to match sofas - the pale green and smaller teal sofas complement each other well. The full-height cupboard was built by a carpenter to Sarah’s design and is used to store household items. Sarah made the coffee table herself using a salvaged table base, topped with scaffold planks. The colourful hand-block-printed cushion came from Capetown.
Bedroom with secret outdoor courtyard
The ground-floor bedroom is in the original brick-built front of the stables and has its own patio.
Bedroom ideas to note here, are the smart panelling across the wall behind the bed, painted it in Farrow & Ball’s Hardwick White. The pretty bedspread came from India and adds a subtle touch of color and pattern. The wooden chair was a bargain secondhand buy and the side table and long ‘dressing table’ were designed by Sarah and built of wood she found in the garden. A bistro garden table set makes the perfect space for sunny breakfasts outside.
Primary bedroom suite
The new master suite is on the first floor with French windows giving access to the upper deck. Furnishings in a calm, natural palette incorporate a mix of new purchases, bargain buys and family pieces, including Sarah’s mum’s antique Windsor chair.
Bathroom ideas for this special spot were designed to complement the original arched coach house window. The stone sink, a gift from Sarah’s mother, is mounted on a reclaimed oak plinth. The limestone floor tiles are from Mandarin Stone. The concept here was to bring a spa-like feel to the space.
To book a stay at The Coach house, visit Boutique Retreats (opens in new tab)
Karen is the houses editor for homesandgardens.com and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.
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