A classic English country manor house in Devon

Inspired by childhood memories and classic English country-house style, the homeowner has re-energised her Devonshire home.

Never do business with friends is a common-sense mantra. Why, after all, sacrifice long-term amity for a possible falling out over money? But when that friend not only also happens to be your sister but an interior designer with a string of illustrious clients to her credit, then logic dictates that it makes perfect sense to ask her to transform your home from the dull into something more decorative.

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THE PROPERTY

The original house on this site was built for the Carew family in the 10th century and mentioned in the Domesday Book. However all that remains of it today are some now Grade I listed arches which stand in the garden. The fine farmhouse you see today was constructed in the 17th century, but despite its heritage (and the regular stream of architectural buffs who visit to inspect the early masonry), the house ‘was uncharismatic when we first saw it’, says the homeowner, diplomatically.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

HOME OFFICE

Red carpets and blue walls were swapped for specially comissioned panelling and inherited hunting trophies, adding a countrified elegance to the setting.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

HALL

Clumsy columns were removed to open up the entrance, to create an informal reception space where visitors can comfortably linger.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

LIVING ROOM

A new fireplace and wood-burning stove have brought definition and warmth to this previously bland space.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

KITCHEN

Dispensing with a formal dining room, the homeowners have made this room the work-eat-live hub of their busy farmhouse.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

LIBRARY

Throughout the house, custom-made joinery and details evoke the 17th-century architecture of the farmhouse, the origins of which date back to the Domeday Book.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

MAIN BEDROOM

‘Nothing too fussy, frilly or elaborate,’ was the owner’s brief to her sister, who responded by desiring this simple yet architectural four-poster bed.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

MAIN BATHROOM

The homeowner’s have furnished the functional rooms with attractive but practical pieces. This antique table, adapted to hold a pair of basins, is typical of their thoughtful approach to design.

country manor house

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

Photography/ Mark Bolton