A charming early-Victorian coach house in Dorset

A tasteful combination of statement lighting, sumptuous fabrics and glimmering wallpapers envelop this beautiful home with peace, elegance and charm.

After taking on an early-Victorian coach house near Sherborne, Dorset, that had been converted into flats, the homeowner’s set about re­storing its original proportions.

See our spaces section for more inspiring featured homes

‘My husband went to school in Dorset and I grew up here, so we had always thought about moving to this part of the world,’ says the homeowner. ‘However, finding this place happened in a rather serendipitous fashion. We had been living in London, developing property, but with the change in the tax situation, we decided to refocus on our other careers, my husband as a photographer and me as a design and lifestyle blogger. I am always scouring property websites and I spotted this unique building that was in need of love. It had been split into flats, divided up among members of the same family, and had not been updated since the 1970s.’

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Image credit: Jody Stewart

THE PROPERTY

‘We decided to go and see the house and were inspired by the huge space that was originally the stables in the middle of the house.’ says the owner. ‘That was the moment. All of a sudden, we could see ourselves making something exceptional. Creating open-plan space is easier to do in a townhouse than it is in a country home, but having this incredibly large room made it simpler for us.’

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Image credit: Jody Stewart

HALLWAY

With its pale blue hues and flagstone flooring, the hall is, at first glance, a country house classic. But in her inimitable way the interior designer has given the space a contemporary touch with an unconventional lighting choice and witty photographs.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Vintage chandelier, Marmorea, marmorelondon.com. Anna cabinet, £4,723, Julian Chichester, julianchicchester.com. Blue hydrangeas, conifers moss and dried palm seeds wreath, from £295, Pulbrook & Gould, pulbrookandgould.co.uk.

LIVING ROOM

The minstrel’s gallery used to be at the opposite end of this large room but, as the owner’s wanted to place the kitchen there, they had it moved and its balustrade replaced to match that of the spiral staircase in the corner.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Vintage Sputnik light, Marmorea, marmorelondon.com. Toulouse coffee table, £1,375, Oka, oka.com. Crumpet sofas in French Grey brushed cotton, £1,595 each, Loaf, loaf.com.

DINING ROOM

Originally, curtains were hung above the sash windows but, for a dramatic flourish, the designer opted to hang new ones from the cornice to accentuate the high ceiling.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Curtains in Saverne in Voila, £79m, Designers Guild, designersguild.com. Walls in Pearl Ashes matt emulsion, £39.50 for 2.5L, Fired Earth, firedearth.com.

KITCHEN

Their decision to forgo wall cabinets, except for a plate rack above the sink, allows the scale of this space to be fully appreciated. The couple chose this marble for its whiteness and the hold flecks it contains, and specified an extra-deep slab for the island so it would not feel lost.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Worktop in Calacatta Oro marble, around £650sq m including fitting, MG Granite, mggranite.co.uk.

SUMMER ROOM

French doors were installed to allow the couple to take full advantage of the impressive valley views and glorious sunsets that this room enjoys. A vintage desk and chair add warm tones to the study, which leads off this elegant space.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Oscar corner sofa in Pebble Vintage Linen, £3,035, Loaf, loaf.com.

UTILITY ROOM

The designer’s glamours touch even extends to thus practical space, which is decorated with an eye-catching gold bug wallpaper.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Buggie wallpaper, around £74 yard, Abnormals Anonymous, abnormalsanonymous.com.

LANDING

Plants add colour and vitality to the landing, which leads to the main bedroom.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Hascombe Artichoke lamp base, from £86, Laura Ashley, lauraashley.com.

MAIN BATHROOM

A pharmacist’s cabinet makes a novel yet eminently stylish storage solution.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Pharmacist’s cabinet, eBay.com. Brass circle with flat mirror plate, from £1,135sq m, Looking Glass of Bath.

MAIN BEDROOM

‘The large proportions of the room prevent the scale of this botanical wallpaper from overwhelming the space,’ says the homeowner.

Victorian coach house in Dorset

MAIN BATHROOM

With no original bathroom to work with, the designer was able to design this room in its entirety. ‘We’ve used wooden flooring from Marmorea a lot because we like the colours and the quality.’

Victorian coach house in Dorset

Herringbone engineered oak flooring in Stone Age White, £83sq m, Marmorea, marmorealondon.com. Madeira cast-iron double-ended bath, £3,750; Victoria double console basin, £795; both Heritage Bathrooms, heritagebathrooms.com.

Photography/ Jody Stewart

MORE FROM H&G