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Kitchen Laura inherited the units and marble worktop when she moved in. Decorative star, Flo and Co Interiors

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elaxing in their cedar hot tub, Laura and Mike Szczygielski can watch the world go by, which in their case means deer, owls, foxes, hares and even bats. Since moving to the Warwickshire countryside two years ago, they’ve been able to immerse themselves in the rural idyll they’d always dreamed of. ‘We’d lived in our last house, a four-bed detached property in Solihull, for 20 happy years, but when the children left school and went to university, we decided it was time to follow our dream of finding a home in the countryside,’ says Laura. ‘As we drove down the long winding lane to view the barn, we just knew that we were going to fall in love with it. We walked into the beautiful kitchen and it was lit with fairy lights along its old oak beams – I bet they could tell a tale or two! It was a lot smaller than our previous home but that didn’t matter to us, and the fact it is open plan actually makes it feel very spacious. What we lost in size we gained in character. We’d loved the inside but when we stepped into the garden we wanted to sign on the dotted line there and then. It wraps around two sides of the barn, with amazing countryside views and the most beautiful uninterrupted sunsets and sunrises.’ But it was the hot tub they discovered in a secluded corner of the garden that > 44

Country HoMeS & InterIorS

AT HOME WITH... Owners Laura Szczygielski, who works for the Sue Ryder organisation, and her husband Mike, an IT specialist, live here with their grown-up son Joe. They also have an adult daughter, Sophie.

House Two-bedroom barn dating from the 17th century.

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