Many people fantasise about building their own home some day, but there are only a plucky few who actually take the plunge. One such daunt less duo are the owners who, to ensure that their dream did not become a nightmare, worked closely on the project together with interior designer – and childhood friend – Tor Vivian.
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‘We were living in London and one day a friend told us about this hillside plot that was about five miles from Andover, equidistant from Salisbury and Winchester, and an hour’s drive from London,’ says the owners. ‘The location was ideal and as it came with planning permission already granted, we knew we could build our perfect home here.’
‘It was so important that the architects understood our vision, to help us achieve it and not just design what they wanted. We approached five practices and Verity & Beverley were the architects that we felt really solved the dilemma of how to build a house of reasonable height in what is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Their solution was to design a deceptively simple, square house with a central atrium that floods the entrance hall with natural light. All the main rooms flow off the hall, which we designed so that we can use it for formal entertaining – we would never use a separate dining room,’ the couple explain.
This west-facing room, which doubles as a study, comes into its own on summer evenings, with the French doors giving easy access to the garden and pool.
One of interior designer Tor Vivian’s many ingenious cabinetry ideas is the secret door in the bookshelves, which leads to the drawing room.
The house has a classic Georgian layout: rooms and a sweeping staircase leading off a large, central hall. To enhance the sense of height and natural light levels, the architect installed a rectangular lantern in the roof immediately above the stairs.
The bar chairs at the island unit are ideal for informal family gatherings and were an eBay find. They are reupholstered with offcuts of fabrics used around the house. Glazed sliding doors into the snug allow the owner, a keen cook, to see the family from the kitchen.
The carver chairs are vintage finds painted red and dressed with seat cushions covered with remnants from the curtains that hang in the snug. ‘The table and matching chairs are old Habitat classics that keep moving with us,’ says the owner. ‘They are so comfortable.’
Smart cabinetry keeps this scheme both neat and visually pleasing.
A compact workspace, flanked by bookshelves, makes the most of an empty wall in the kitchen.
The shape of the headboard is inspired by the work of designer-hotelier Kit Kemp, and is covered in a fabric that unites all the colours in the room. The kilim was found on eBay.
Pretty greens and pink take centre stage in here, with fitted cupboards providing a window seat.
The owner used to travel a lot with work, and in America he fell in love with the Lefroy Brooks bathroom fittings in the Crosby Street Hotel. They were his must-have item for the family’s new home.
A colourful runner was an eBay find and brings vibrancy to the light-filled landing.
‘I chose the curtain fabric having seen it in a book about designer Kit Kemp’s work,’ says the owner of this blue scheme. ‘I just had to have it, in spite of the cost.’
They positioned the girls’ rooms at one end of the house, adding a door between that can be closed to give them more privacy as they get older. ‘We can also shut these rooms off when they go to university, so we won’t have to heat them. I’m a good Yorkshire lass when it comes to saving money,’ says the owner.
See this Yorkshire new-build with plenty of rustic charm for more inspiration
Interior design/ Vivian Tor
Photography/ Davide Lovatti