valley at the bottom of a long drive through open fields. It was one of two farmsteads belonging to a brother and sister who had owned the farm since the 1920s but had always let one of them separately. “We were looking for somewhere to settle and they were happy to have us here,” says Louise, summing up the beginning of what was to be an idyllic time for the young family. Louise and Hugh went on to have a third child, Max, brother to Angus and Amelia, and all three children greatly enjoyed living in the middle of a farm with all the excitement that came with sharing the yard and outbuildings with cattle. “It became a very special home for us, so we felt fortunate when, in 2008, the farm’s owners retired and offered us the chance to buy the farmhouse.” The process of gradually shaping the property to suit their family’s needs – which had begun, with the owners’ consent, when Louise and Hugh were tenants – continued after their purchase of the
farmhouse. The austere rooms which confronted them might have deterred many people, but to Louise they were full of potential. “Having previously run a decorating business, I knew how to wield a paint brush, hang wallpaper and make curtains, and so I knew I could have fun with the inside,” she says. A woodburner, the only source of heat when they first moved in, was supplemented by a new Aga, and later on central heating was installed. What was once accommodation for harvest workers above the back kitchen, and previously only accessible by ladder, became an en-suite bathroom to the master bedroom by knocking through a cupboard. Other changes were made to increase the family’s pleasure in their home. “The front of the house faces east and is flooded with morning sunshine, which I love to wake up to,” says Louise. “To make the most of this, when the windows needed replacing we created French windows from the two original silled
ABOVE Hollyhock & Swag by Warner Fabrics for the window treatment has a wonderfully romantic, vintage feel. The dining chairs are Swedish and the jug and glasses on the table are Nina Campbell. For a similar, striped tablecloth, try Ian Mankin.
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