A House in the Cotswolds
Annemaria first stepped into this Cotswolds house she knew, instantly,
that she wanted to live there. The house seemed to wrap itself around
and welcome her. Once she had negotiated its purchase, she investigated
its 250-year old history with the help of Nick Barrett, the house
detective, and found that it was originally built as a hostelry
-- it was then that she realised that her subconscious may have
been guiding her as her family had run a string of pubs, a tradition
which she carries on herself with her own bar and restaurant.
house had also once been a vicar's house, then a draper's and, when
she bought it, there was a newsagent's shop on the ground floor.
Once she had obtained planning permission for change of use and
listed building consent, she and her husband, Stuart, set about
restoring its original structure and replacing the shop's front
windows with ones more in keeping with the rest of the house. In
fact during the course of the restoration they had to gut the entire
house. "If I had known from the beginning what it was going
to be like, I probably wouldn't have started" says Annemaria.
"And I'm sure anyone who has ever done a renovation will say
exactly the same thing!"
the structure of the house had been modernised, she used all her
interior design skills, honed at the Inchbald School of Design and
from running other projects, to put her own mark on the interior
of this traditional country residence. Rather than furnishing in
the conventional country house style she has drawn on an eclectic
mix of influences from both past and present. "If you buy things
you love, you'll find that somehow they come together" is her
philosophy - and this has been borne out in practice, somehow it
does all fit together; creating a "new century look" that
harmonises modern elegance and functionality with retrospective
elements from the past.
ground floor, instead of keeping the rooms separately divided, she
has made an area for entertaining that encompasses cooking, dining
and living. Here you will find a traditionally styled George Smith
sofa, there you will see prints of movie icons Audrey Hepburn and
Marilyn Monroe, here a period fireplace, there the clean lines of
a modern dining table and intriguing tall lamp stands by Porta Romano.
kitchen Annemaria cooks on a Lacanche stove and has a butler's sink
set in a large oak draining board, but these traditional elements
sit comfortably alongside an American-style stainless steel refrigerator
and cabinets with long modern D-handles. She used a local firm to
build the solid pine cabinets which were then painted to create
a cool sophisticated look at a fraction of the cost of similar bespoke
past large French posters, sits a classic cherry wardrobe made by
Chanels as a modern version of the traditional Chinese wedding cabinet.
On this floor she has created an enormous en-suite bedroom that
stretches from the bedroom through a dressing room to a bathroom.
There is also a library sitting room that has chairs that Annemaria
has glamourised by taking off the the button-backed leather and
replacing with tiger skin fabric. True to her Scottish roots, she
is keen on finding bargains - the table is MDF that has been painted
to produce a stunning effect. The idea was "to create a private
place upstairs and a public place downstairs where we can hold parties
and have friends over to dinner."
top floor is given over to further bedrooms where the loft space
has been taken away so the the ceilings go right up to below the
roof giving a feeling of spaciousness and light. Here the mood changes
to exposed beams and country style furniture.
Annemaria has styled the main rooms of the house, Stuart was given
free rein in the cellars that run the length and breadth of the
house. Here he has created a homely den with deep sofas and a pool
outside to the garden, via the practical boot room, you will find
a gravelled courtyard followed by lawns and planting rising in steps
up the hillside to a vantage point where there is a summerhouse
and barbecue area. "It's a long way to carry a tray of drinks
from the house", smiles Annemaria, "but it's worth the
walk to be in a different environment and look back at our house."
And they can look back too with great satisfaction at the stunning
result of all their hard work - from sanding the floors to painting
to sourcing furniture - which Annemaria and Stuart carried out over
the space of two years restoring their gem of a house.
living room with dining area.
kitchen with range by Lacanche and painted pine cabinets by Parlour
library sitting room with chairs in tiger skin fabric.
of the guest bedrooms.
rear elevation of the house with courtyard and garden.
Society for the
Protection of Ancient Buildings.
Property Owners' Club.
history research by Nick
Building Solutions, Gloucester 01452 304490.
by Wells Masonry 01666 504251.
range by Lacanche.
Sofas by George Smith.
by Peter Dudgeon 0207 589 0322.
by Porta Romano
and white pictures from Hulton Getty, Chelsea 020 7376 4525.
pictures from the Portfolio Collection 01572 770719.
Bookcases from Ligne Roset.
from Simpsons 01277 374541.
table by Andrew Martin 020 7225 5403.
table by Catherine Memmi
style cabinet from Channels.
furniture from The Conran