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.
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‘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.’
‘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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The designer’s glamours touch even extends to thus practical space, which is decorated with an eye-catching gold bug wallpaper.
Plants add colour and vitality to the landing, which leads to the main bedroom.
A pharmacist’s cabinet makes a novel yet eminently stylish storage solution.
‘The large proportions of the room prevent the scale of this botanical wallpaper from overwhelming the space,’ says the homeowner.
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.’
Photography/ Jody Stewart