This Regency country house is a typical example of how a grand house evolves over time, presenting a challenge to adapt it to suit a modern family’s way of life without compromising its original charm and beauty.
While the series of reception rooms on the ground floor can be used for their original purpose, the remnants of earlier buildings and back of house rooms on the site needed repurposing.
What started out as a brief for a kitchen expanded into something more extensive as we understood better the requirements of the large household. A complete re organisation of the space was required to suit the needs of a busy family – so much so that internal space planning informed the architecture. By interrogating the brief, and working closely with Henriette Von Stockhausen from VSP Interiors, we were able to offer further solutions to practical problems the family encountered – for example, where to store their children’s large trunks on their return from school.
Along with the trunk room, we created a shoe room to neatly store slippers and shoes and everyday hats and gloves, while the boot room provided storage and drying space for outdoor clothes and boots. It also serves as a flower room, providing a sink and counter surface to arrange flowers brought in from the garden. The sizable laundry, designed to accommodate the linen of large house parties, completes the archetypal engine room of a 21st century English country house.
The series of outbuildings at the back of the house were listed which created a variety of planning complications. A neat solution to one such problem was solved by bringing forward a partition wall to create a nice symmetrical back entrance hall. This made sense of the space and provided a smart alternative entrance to the house.
In working through the brief and understanding the practicalities of country life with children and dogs, it also became clear that additional space was needed. A boot room that could accommodate the dog and provide a practical muddy space as a valve between the outside and inside was essential. This required alterations to the architectural plans which we were able to achieve for the client by working closely with the architectural team and the interior designers.
We created a series of domestic rooms to support a busy household in an understated yet luxurious and appropriate style. These back of house rooms therefore have character and ambiance as well as being exceptionally practical.
It is our belief that such rooms are the beating heart of a household and should therefore be as considered and beautiful as the rest of the house.
The materials and the finishes used are chosen so that the patina will develop and improve with age. The zinc plinths and copper nails in the shoe room for example are functional – making the furniture hardwearing and resistant to scuffing but they are also beautiful. The holes in the thickly carved marble in the laundry provide an intricate detail that looks stunning but serves to allow hot air to rise to the clothes hanging above.