Christmas in this Cotswolds home is made special. Here, baubles twinkle on boughs, stair rails are entwined with ivy and mistletoe dangles from beams. On a late afternoon, as candles flicker against panelled walls, it is easy to imagine centuries of festive prosperity filling this Georgian townhouse. But the picture wasn't always this idyllic. Built in 1703 for a prosperous merchant, the house was later acquired by the local brewery and turned into a pub. In the 1980s a solicitor moved in, installing a huge safe and partitioning the interior into a warren of offices. By 1990, however, the four-storey property was back in private ownership.
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The owner grew up in the village and would walk past the house on his way to school. ‘I’d always imagined living here, so when it came up for sale in 2016, my wife and I were quick to put in an offer,’ he says. 'Over the years the house had been added to in a hotchpotch fashion, so everything needed doing, but we felt that we could make it work – with help. At which point they turned to Garry Meakins, an interior designer who has worked on historic houses locally and knows the vernacular well. The pair have a daughter, work from home and like to entertain. 'So we had to think of ways to make the floorplan more practical for a modern family,’ says Garry.
Restored architraves and cornicing rekindle the house’s original spirit.
‘The homeowners wanted the house to retain a sense of history, so all the alterations were done with a light touch,’ says the interior designer, of this dining space.
Garry designed this space to be family friendly, with leather bar stools for added luxury and comfort.
A previous owner extended the back of the house and connected it to an outbuilding, which was then converted into this relaxed family room .
To keep the revived interior of the period house fresh, a mix of traditional and modern art was sourced. These giclée prints by SYRETT add lively colour to the subtle classic backdrop. Find work by this artist and others at Runway Gallery. Take your interest further by attending one of the gallery’s informal Soho Salon supper clubs, with a three-course meal, a life-drawing class and a talk by an artist.
Partition walls were removed and panelling, based on 18th-century proportions, was installed. The bespoke staircase was designed using sustainable Sapele for the handrail.
To disguise an ugly beam, new curtains were designed to create a cosy alcove for the bed where the walls are lined in padded fabric.
Interior designer Garry Meakins created wardrobes to frame the door to the new en suite as a deliberate contrast to the more traditional woodwork elsewhere in the house. The green colour is echoed inside the bathroom, while the detailing was inspired by French designer Christian Bérard’s mural, painted in 1939 at the Guerlain Institute in Paris.
Lack of wall space for a single large mirror inspired Garry to design the abstract collage of smaller mirrors.
A reading nook was designed to sit under the acute eaves and wallpaper added to enhance the cosy feel.
Photography/ Jon Day