These are a few photos to show some of my decorating styles through the years – some, such as Wesham Hall, go right back to the early 90’s. I’ve not often taken photos of clients’ homes, but now that it is becoming so possible with just an iPhone and a good editing package, please watch this space!
My Homeware Shop in Winchester
This is a break away from my usual work and allows me to showcase some of my furniture and furnishings and have a space to welcome clients and talk through their projects. The shop features things that I love sourced from around the globe – furniture from Belgium and India, luxury bed linen from America and Italy, handmade pottery from South Africa, paint from The Netherlands, organic perfumes and room sprays and lots of Artisan products from the UK. Also unusual fabrics and carpets from smaller and lesser known suppliers.
A Country House in The New Forest
An unusual house created in the 1920’s by joining an old tithe barn to two cottages by no less a person than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,who bought it as a “holiday cottage” for his much loved wife. Still with it’s small rooms at one end for the servants, it’s slowly being brought into modern times while retaining the soul and integrity of the house. It even has a “Study in Scarlet”. More pictures will follow as the project evolves.
A Farm house in Hampshire
A sweet, small farmhouse in Hightown. We designed and built the long conservatory, to link the dining and very small sitting room to the kitchen, thus creating a much better flow to the house. The family room space was stolen from the integral and rather ugly double garage with French windows leading out to the swimming pool. Three rooms were made into a large open plan kitchen, with a walk in larder and large utility room, the dogs were given their own space with a shower, bunk beds and storage and the house was renovated throughout. A new timber framed double garage with a tractor port and log store was created into the landscaping around the house.
These tiny cottages in Lymington were originally a group of grain store, sheds and a storage barn attached to a property fronting the High Street. After many years and many changes they became a Listed cottage with storage and offices, purely because they were eventually attached to a listed hotel. Unprepossessing at it’s best, set in a courtyard with no views and no vehicular access I saw little point in turning this building into a home, even a rental home with the same attributes would have made little commercial sense. So I suggested cutting it in half to make two tiny, bijou properties for upmarket holiday letting, and the design challenge was that both cottages at their widest point measure 2.3 metres. The building was gutted, separated, re-insulated, plastered, replumbed, rewired and re-floored and the resulting Courtyard Cottages have the plus factor so that the overall value has raised dramatically. Everything has been custom built – kitchens, bathroom cabinetry, beds, tables and along with the decor has all been designed by me. The cute little courtyard garden is a sheltered spot in winter and a suntrap in summer with pots overflowing with cottage garden plants. For more information or for booking a stay you can visit the cottage website by clicking here.
If you have a property you would like refurbishing for holiday letting please do get in touch!
Wesham Hall in Lancashire
A Hall in Lancashire dating back to 1600 and ruined by an antiques dealer in the 60’s – feature stone walls etc. The house was extended, a large conservatory with gallery above was added, extra bathrooms created and the whole refurbished. New corridors were lined with panelling using the backs of church pews, beaten and waxed to add even more patina, and the beams for the balcony came from a ship breakers yard in Brighton. All the huge beams on the existing wooden frame of the building were sandblasted then waxed, a dirty job but worth it for the end result. The paints were mixed to my specification, sorely trying the patience of the local Crown supplier who then had the freedom to play with existing colours, but the overall melange of slightly dirtied hues made a tremendous ambience. The drive and turning circle was landscaped using reclaimed “setts”, it took ages with two very old and grumpy men, but the result was amazing.
Products sourced for local b&bs, cafes & more
Obviously I helped my daughter Hannah source products for her two bed and breakfast businesses in Winchester. Reluctantly I must confirm that I was not allowed anywhere near the design, except perhaps in the library at hannah’s, where I introduced one of my favourite fabrics, Passiflora from Boeme and tied it in with a sofa and side chair I had designed. See the pics here and you’ll also see the lovely tables and huge lights which are a bit of a speciality in the shop. These cute small lights at Two Bare Feet are an easy and cheap fix for any area of the house, as a single pendant or a group. This rather lovely blog from Bella Notte Linens shows more pics of linens (Bella Notte of course!), tables, lights, and Wonki Ware which Hannah uses daily in the B&B.
Plas Curig Hostel in Snowdonia Wales
This was a collaboration with my daughter Amy. She bought a totally run down Youth Hostel, against the advice from everyone she new and had all the vision for the space planning and overall conception. I just worked the colour schemes from her original choice of two Welsh woollen blankets and helped source some of the products. I based my inspirations on the changing colours of lichen, and worked with a palette of Farrow & Ball, Little Greene and Dulux. I also designed and painted the bookcases in the library to her brief of “I don’t know mum, I just want it crazy”. It was overall a hard project, the budget was very tight, so the sourcing of warm colours and fabrics that were cheap but looked expensive was quite a challenge! Plas Curig has gone on to be a huge success as a business offering a welcome haven to weary travellers and quite rightly won its five stars from the tourist board.
Stanwell House Hotel in New Forest
Well, this was my biggest labour of love! Owned by me and bought solely because I liked decorating, the 30 bedroom hotel went through massive changes in the 11 years I was at the helm. I put in the stone staircase, (originally from Wareham workhouse), the huge conservatory (after many battles with the planning office) and the flag floors (reclaimed from a mill in Lancashire), then year by year changed the decor. The main part of the building dated back to 1745, and I felt it justified the use of strong historical colours and sumptuous fabrics, so I flew in the face of convention and used masses of silk and velvet throughout, all of which was greatly appreciated by customers and not trashed as I was told it would be. I uncovered areas of original panelling which I repaired and laboriously distressed to how it would have been, but sadly this has all been overpainted now. The first bar, painted John Oliver Russian Red and heaped with velvet cushions, caused a local sensation as it changed from pale green Laura Ashley with co-ordinating furniture and beaten copper corner cocktail bar, very 70’s. Did I have some fun!
A Town house in Preston
Just for fun I’m putting in the first house I ever “did up”, in 1980. Originally two very run down flats, I turned it back into a house and did all the decorating myself at nights once I had finished my day job, producing shows from a freezing cold office at the front of the house. Everything, even the wallpapers, were bought from sales and junk shops and the carpets were offcuts all sewn together very laboriously and graciously by the son of the carpet fitter in return for free tickets to a show we were then producing. The curtain man, Jack the Lad, somehow managed to sell Designers Guild fabrics at £1 per metre on his market stall, intead of the £15 it was in the shops, so my curtains were all fabulous. The highlights were the boiler breaking at the beginning of a seriously cold winter and not having the money to replace it, then the bathroom leaking so we had to use wellies to go to the loo. But it turned into a lovely family home. Happy days!