It was a chilly February day in 2014 when I first met Ruth and Giles at their newly purchased Grade II listed house in Battle, East Sussex. They had purchased it as a holiday home where they could spend time relaxing and entertaining loved ones and had big dreams for the look and feel of the space. On this cold winter day, the house was still empty, slightly chilly, and in need of some TLC both structurally and decoratively. Both Ruth and Giles had a vision for how they wanted their new weekend retreat to look, and as soon as they started to tell me their plans, I couldn’t wait to work with them. We were going to take this house, so full of history, and take it on the next leg of its journey!
A FEW BEFORE PICTURES
Ruth and Giles wanted to bring a warm cottage feeling to their weekend holiday home while playing with more quirky features to bring together their love of red, retro, and unique antique pieces. All of this, of course, was right up my street and I was very excited to mix some of their much loved older pieces with some interesting new finds to create a space that thoroughly reflected them and made them feel relaxed and right at home.
The house was not without its challenges and before work got underway, it felt slightly cramped, dark, and quite higgledy-piggledy with fiddly steps up to rooms and lots of colours used throughout the property. The main challenge was to get a nice flow throughout the property so it felt like one cosy house rather than a selection of rooms tacked together. As the house is a Grade II listed building, I knew that there wasn’t much I’d be able to do with the lighting, so I was challenged to bring light and freshness through the finishes.
We also wanted to give a feeling of space in the four bedrooms upstairs. As long-term clothing storage wasn’t an issue in this holiday home, we opted to remove fitted wardrobes as well as the chimney breasts in each of the bedrooms to free up some much-needed space. Over the first few weeks on the job, I put together a number of design boards to create the vision for the space and worked closely with Ruth and Giles to select what was exciting them and to re-work what wasn’t.
This project has been a labour of love over the last few years for both Ruth and Giles as they’ve had to put a significant amount of work into the house. As you can see below, the space is now the epitome of a cosy weekend home and I’m honoured to have been a part in making it all come together. One of my favourite elements to the design is something Ruth opened my eyes to– she had the genius idea of sourcing second-hand curtains in bold fabrics to repurpose into crisp, modern blinds. This idea inspired me to find other equally bold fabrics to compliment other retro pieces throughout the house. So lovely!
Wandering around the house now, it’s difficult to remember the blank canvas we started with all that time ago. This house has been transformed into a holiday haven for Ruth and Giles to escape to, complete with roaring fires and a reupholstered G Plan sofa. The character of this building is just as much a part of the design as the vision that Ruth and Giles had when they asked me to join them. Overall, this house really shows the power of the holy trinity: client, architecture, and creative design, and I think these three elements came together beautifully to allow us to make a really special home.