Personal Project – A Country Barn Conversion in Essex
Three years ago I was asked to help a busy couple furnish their barn conversion. Now, you know how much I love a converted barn so this was in fact my dream job! It was made even dreamier by the free rein I was given to turn the empty shell into not just a family home but also a place where this dynamic duo like to entertain. The only constraints I had were to make it robust enough to withstand the onslaught of five dogs and five cats who are very much part of the family.
Beams, stone, metal, and a sequinned deer’s head.
So with all of this in mind, plus the fact that the building had a former life that was more agricultural than homely, the agreed scheme centered around weathered wood, metal, leather and the occasional glitzy accessories to give it some personality and party pizzazz. I’m really pleased with the end result. Even though it was completed three years ago it seems to have stood up to most things and it’s now filled with all of the personal bits and pieces that make a house a home. These images have not been styled at all. They are just quick snaps taken on my phone, and I hope they convey not just the fantastic bones of the place, my modest contribution to it, and the warmth that it exudes that is more to do with its occupants than any interior design scheme.
An aluminium steer’s head graces the gallery’s balustrade.
The sitting room is double height right up to the rafters with a gallery at one end that looks out over the front garden. The other end is completely glazed, has a wood burning stove and looks out over a stunning courtyard. The beams are such an incredible feature it didn’t need much decoration, just some comfy seating, a huge coffee table to suit the proportions of the room and various side tables to hold lamps. It needed a chandelier that was in keeping and suited the style of the house (and was also large enough!) so the owner in the end commissioned this one especially. It’s a replica of a light that hangs in a London train station.
Bookcase wallpaper and a replica of a station chandelier.
I have to say I’m really pleased with the bookcase wallpaper on the wall of the upper gallery. I think it’s one of my favourite features of the house even though it was apparently a nightmare to put up on the uneven walls.
A red lacquer sideboard and weathered wood warms up the metal in the dining room.
I’m also really pleased with the splash of colour the red laquer sideboard adds to the dining room. The table was also a special commission and easily accommodates ten and no doubt withstands stiletto heels too. The chandelier was already in situ but along with the stone floor (that runs throughout the ground floor and is heated) it provided a good springboard for the rest of the room. All I had to do was add a metal mirror, chairs and lamps. Plus of course the sideboard and then warm it all up with wood.
A collection of eclectic styles on the upper gallery.
The upper gallery is a good place to sit and ponder (there are binoculars at the ready) and in the evening it’s cosily lit by the Zoe Darlington standard lamp. There is a matching chair and table facing these two so it’s also a good place for a quiet drink and some private conversation.
A softer look for the four bedrooms.
The bedrooms (sorry the pictures are so dark) all have a bit of a French flavour. They needed to be softer and more comfortable looking than the public rooms. The owners wife wanted something grand and feminine for the master bedroom and the proportions of the room easily take this king sized bed (top left), and as it has such high ceilings we added the biggest chandelier possible to hang between the rafters. The owner’s grown up daughter particularly wanted pink and the two guest bedrooms were given different looks by choosing different styles of furniture.
And the best bit? I’ve been asked back to do another, so far unfurnished, room.