A transformation in Hartley Wintney, Hook, Hampshire
The transformation of part of an 18th century house into a magnificent principal bedroom suite, and other interior design and decoration work in this Hampshire home.
A unique and innovative bathroom design
An extraordinary bathroom design celebrates the oldest part of this period property, combining an innovative layout with custom design and classical elegance.
A rich and elegant main bedroom scheme
The backdrop to the bed is framed in oak timber and panelled with traditional horsehair fabric. Lighting and electrics are incorporated neatly into this bespoke joinery.
Open dressing room with extensive storage
Forming the hub of this suite and central to the circulation, the dressing room area features custom-designed wardrobes and storage. The woven paper panel design brings texture and interest to the space.
The background to this unusual project
This is a remarkable home in Harley Wintney, near Hook in Hampshire. Originally a pair of farm cottages built in the early 18th Century, the properties were moved a mile away in the late 18th Century to make way for a lake. Remarkably, the cottages were dismantled and rebuilt piece by piece in their new location. Combined into a single property in the 20th Century, this Hampshire house had undergone many alterations and extensions over the years, resulting in a large home that needed improvements to the internal layout as well as the general condition.
The interior design brief from our client
The client had lived here for a few years and was making progress with the renovation of the interior of the property. Underwhelmed by proposals he’d received for a new principal bedroom suite, he contacted us to work on new designs for these spaces, in the oldest sections of the house.
The concept and interior design scheme
The new suite was formed from the original principal bedroom and the second bedroom alongside. Rather than keeping the main bedroom as it was and then squeezing a dressing room and bathroom into the second bedroom space, we reworked the entire layout of this area. Rather than being limited by the previous rooms, with this approach we could develop a design layout informed by where the space was most needed and most useful for our client.
Being the oldest part of this Hampshire property, the room that was to form part of the new bathroom had many exposed beams from the timber framework of the original cottage. Other proposals had simply covered these over with tiles to create the bathroom, but we thought there was a much more interesting and sympathetic solution. We designed a layout in which these beams would all remain visible in the new space, and where the major items would be pulled away from these walls. Combined with the use of waterproof traditional plaster finishes and sealing of the timber beams, this meant the new bathroom could maintain the rare character and appearance of the original room. It would be a grand room in keeping with the principal suite of this substantial property.
Designing the new principal suite
Cosy bedroom and spacious dressing room
The reworking of the layout created this large, semi-open plan bathroom, and allowed for a generous dressing area used to connect the spaces together. As well as considering circulation, privacy is also important for a principal bedroom suite. We arranged the spaces in this broken plan layout so that the entrance into the suite is into the dressing area rather than directly into the bedroom. This makes the bedroom feel like more of a sanctuary, and in reapportioning the space and removing dressing and storage from this area, we were also able to make what was previously an enormous bedroom into a room with more comfortable proportions. In this cosier room, the garden and woodland beyond the house can now be seen from the bed too.
The bedroom scheme uses dark oak timber plank flooring, with oak-framed panelling behind the bed. Within the frames are individual panels upholstered in horsehair – a traditional, hard-wearing fabric which has a subtle, random character to the colours and the pattern of the weaving in the material. As well as visual and tactile softness, there is an acoustic benefit and along with the other fabrics and window treatments the effect is to calm the bedroom space. The panels are set up to align exactly with the bed and the bedside tables, resulting in a visual effect which is neat and ordered. The design also incorporates the wall lights, LED reading lights, switches, and sockets. A reclaimed cast-iron fireplace with new granite heath and mini LED uplights completes this tranquil and luxurious bedroom.
In the dressing room, a similar oak timber panel detail was used as the basis for the bespoke wardrobes and cabinetry. For texture and contrast, as well as a softer appearance than all timber, the door panels are finishes in a Belgian woven paper material in neutral colours. Behind the doors, a carefully designed selection of hanging, shelving and drawer storage was designed to the client’s exact requirements. Matt bronze handles and ironmongery complete the joinery design.
Moving towards the bathroom area, a fitted dressing table area completes this impeccable dressing space.
The design of a unique main ensuite bathroom
A pair of dark oak pocket doors allow the bathroom to remain open or closed to the rest of the suite as required, and behind them is a unique bathroom. Created within the oldest part of this Hartley Wintney property, this spectacular bathroom was a huge challenge, overcome with careful planning and a meticulous use of materials and finishes.
The design scheme was based on a reduced palette of muted, neutral colours, accented by the blue vanity unit and granite top. To maintain the atmosphere of the original room, the wall panels were replastered with the same rolled edges up to the timber, recreated using a traditional waterproof plaster – Moroccan tadelakt. This plaster was custom-coloured to suit our design and applied with the same rolled-edge detail as before. All the other plaster surfaces were also refinished in waterproof Tadelakt to replace the old plaster, and this creates a waterproof finish to the whole room. The exposed timber beams were repaired and treated with impregnating waterproof treatments to protect and preserve them.
The focal point on entering the room is a splendid, polished copper freestanding bath tub. This is filled from a floor-mounted freestanding bath filler, its matt bronze finish contrasting attractively with the shine of the copper bath.
Turning to the left, the centrepiece of the room is a bespoke-designed sink and vanity unit. It incorporates generous storage in the drawers, as well as a hidden storage in the side panels, including a charging point for toothbrushes.
Matching brassware fittings were used– a functional design with a blend of historic aesthetic and elegant detailing. The soft lustre of the rich matt bronze finish creates a gentle contrast against a deeper plaster colour here, and tones beautifully with the deep Lundhs Antique granite of the washbasin top. The bespoke vanity unit beneath is painted deep blue to match the natural flecks of labradorite in this stunning, billion-year-old Norwegian stone.
Above the basin is a shower screen in matching bronze, and a custom-made bronze-framed mirror hanging over it. Ultimately it’s this individual custom-designed piece that allows the basin to be pulled away from the wall, ensuring that there’s still a perfect mirror to use whilst standing at the basin.
Behind the shower screen and dwarf wall is a spacious walk-in wet room shower area. Here are the only fittings on the walls, with the concealed shower fixed through the tadelakt finished wall. The character of the original room is fully expressed in this design, and none of it is covered over.
Opposite the basin, another reclaimed cast iron fireplace is fitted into the original chimney, with the same granite hearth material, and the lighting detail carried through from the bedroom to discreetly uplight its decorative panels at each side.
Open bathrooms can be fantastic rooms within suites like this, although there’s no place for the WC in them. Alongside the bathroom is a separate WC, with a washing bidet toilet and its own washbasin. The same design details and palette of materials and colours is carried through, although rather than tadelakt a tiled finish is used for the service wall here – Moroccan Zellige tiles. These artisan-made tiles are a subtle reference to the origin of the tadelakt in the main bathroom, whilst having a gently irregular appearance that’s in keeping with traditional rustic tiles.
Hallways and landing areas redesigned
We decorated and refreshed all the hallways and landing areas, including new carpets, colours and light fittings.
Following restoration of the main staircase, a pretty flatweave runner carpet was installed, it’s springtime-inspired colouring lifting the feel of the space. Matching colours were used to trim the neutral, linen curtains in the hallway.
On the landing, a cluster of porcelain pendant lights hangs over the staircase. As well as lighting the area, the soft glow of the illumination through the translucent porcelain is a beautiful effect itself.
Home office / study design
Off the landing, the client’s home office was designed and decorated to create a calm and focused working environment. With new views over the garden through full-height glass doors, we positioned the desk to the centre of the room and discreetly fitted the power and network connections through a hidden floor box in the timber flooring. Deep tones and wall colours were used to decorate the space.
Ground floor interior layout reworked
We also reworked the layout of one side of the ground floor of the client’s home. Retaining key features from the original construction, we brought the sitting room and dining room together into a new connected space. Altering the layout in combination with a new furniture scheme improved the flow and circulation, and brought more natural light through these reception rooms.
A boldly decorated snug and reading room
Alongside these rooms a new snug room was created. Very much a quiet space and a reading room, we designed custom fitted cabinetry and shelving for one side of the room, with the rest finished in a striking decorative wallpaper design by Timorous Beasties.
We incorporated Arts and Crafts joinery details and motifs into the cabinetry design, its form and its proportions, to remain sympathetic to the property and other joinery details that had been added since its original construction. Adjustable library lights are fitted through the cabinetry to complete it, with bespoke silk box-pleated shades in colours and braids to tone with the wonderful wallpaper.
The finished country home
This challenging project resulted in a beautiful home of understated elegance. In the principal bedroom suite, a major redesign produced a magnificent series of rooms with a natural, flowing layout. A cosy bedroom, spacious dressing areas, and stunning bathroom – all in keeping with period aesthetic and timeless classical charm of the property.
Sympathetic updates elsewhere extended the feeling of relaxed sophistication throughout the home. It now has an interior which suits not just country living, but also the distinctive nature of the property and, most importantly, the client’s personal style.