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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And the best bit? I’ve been asked back to do another, so far unfurnished, room.

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18 Comments

  1. Reply

    Stephanie

    October 19, 2015

    Oh wow what a fantastic place to be unleashed on! There are some beautiful pieces, the bookcase wallpapered wall would be such a talking point!

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 20, 2015

      Thanks Stephanie. I must say I did enjoy it.

  2. Reply

    KAREN JONES

    October 19, 2015

    What a wonderful space and great job that you did. Imagine being given free reign to decorate ! What a dreamy job, mind you FIVE cats and FIVE dogs, are they insane ! x

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Karen. It was a dreamy job. I wish all jobs were like that haha! x

  3. Reply

    Stacey

    October 19, 2015

    Wow Carole what a great space. Those high ceilings and beams are gorgeous. Must have been a fantastic project to work on. Great job!

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Stacey. It was a dream of a project xx

  4. Reply

    Karen

    October 19, 2015

    Lovely use of materials Carole. I love the sleek lines of the metal/glass against the rustic, more earthy materials. That red cabinet is gorgeous too!

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Karen, glad you like it 🙂

  5. Reply

    Kate

    October 19, 2015

    Lovely Carole – what a great project to work on! xx

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Kate, it was so lovely to work on. I was absolutely free to take it wherever I wanted xx

  6. Reply

    maxine

    October 19, 2015

    So nice to see a barn that looks modern and fresh and not covered in hops and stuffy old sofas. Looks beautiful Well done

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Maxine. That means a lot coming from a talented stylist 🙂

  7. Reply

    Arianna

    October 19, 2015

    Love this so much hun – Absolutely gorgeous! And that chandelier is divine!!!! x

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Sweetie. xx

  8. Reply

    Sue

    October 19, 2015

    This is bloody lovely!! That mirror sideboard and the perfect place for that bookcase wallpaper- bravo x

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Sue. I was really pleased with that wallpaper I have to say 🙂

  9. Reply

    Pippa Jameson

    October 19, 2015

    Lovely Carole! The best part is being asked back as it certifies how happy the client is, congratulations xx

    • Reply

      deardesigner

      October 19, 2015

      Thanks Pips 🙂 I’m delighted to be asked back and I’ve got another prospective client off the back of it. Now, when to fit it all in haha xx

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