Site of many of the world’s finest homes, this 1930s country house in south-east England is set in beautifully landscaped gardens and has been transformed from a much-loved but dated property into a stunning family home by interior design studio Kitesgrove.
Kitesgrove completed a complete renovation that took just over two years to complete, including Covid delays, and oversaw a two-wing extension and a full renovation. The result is a rural retreat that cleverly blends traditional features with contemporary design.
“The customers wanted to make sure that the house remained a family home for the whole family and all generations to enjoy,” said Katie Lion, interior designer at Kitesgrove. “It had to feel elegant, welcoming, comfortable and retain nostalgia and important heirloom furniture and artwork.”
Kitchen ideas include painting the cabinets in a pretty chalky pink, Desert Rose from Paint & Paper Library (opens in new tab)† “We wanted to create a soft palette that blends into other areas of the house,” says Katie. ‘The paint was purposely selected for its grayscale quality, which evolves effectively in the changing light.’
Portland Stone floors were installed for a more rustic, country feel. “The subtle tumbled and mottled quality of the stone in a herringbone pattern brings subtle interest and pattern to the muted palette.”
Since the family likes to cook and entertain, a butcher block has been created with wheels so that it can be moved for added functionality and versatility in the room.
In addition to the soft pendant lighting and fabric blinds, the original antique dining table and chairs add sturdiness and a sense of history to the heart of the home.
“We wanted to create a softness in the space for a casual dining/breakfast space for the whole family. The linen shade provides a soft light glow and blends effortlessly with the almond and pink tones of the room,” says Katie.
The family room overlooks the garden with wide double doors that create a transition between inside and outside. Living room ideas involved using natural colors and organic shapes to enhance the sense of immersion in the great outdoors.
The carpet was chosen as the starting point of the scheme. It has blue and green that goes well with the garden. “It’s the focal pattern and texture in the room and it feels really soft underfoot,” says Katie. The eau de nil cabinets draw on the colors in the rug.
“The aim was to create a calming and more informal family space for all generations of families to enjoy. We have therefore provided ample storage space for games and toys, and deep comfortable seats for relaxing.’
The drinks cart is made to add a vintage item to a more playful room. “We wanted the house to feel layered with new and older pieces to give the feeling of pieces being collected over time.”
As the central room in the house, this space was intended to be rich and deep in tone to fit into a formal dining room and make it stand out against the more muted schemes elsewhere.
The beautiful antique tapestry that became the centerpiece of the room came from Paris. “I had always considered putting a tapestry in this space, so I wanted to draw with the inky blacks and greens in it,” says Katie.
Dining room ideas include wrapping the walls and woodwork in a deep blue, to create an immersive and atmospheric space.
The table and chairs are made of natural materials, as can be seen from the mix of wood, cane and leather, while being practical.
The color palette for the study, which opened onto the formal dining room, was carefully chosen. “We wanted an equally rich and earthy tone, which is reflected in the tapestry,” says Katie. ‘It was important to choose the right shade of brown so that it didn’t dampen the natural light. The brown provides a wonderful cocoon feeling to concentrate or relax.’
Mid-century-influenced hero pieces are among the home office ideas. “The client’s preference was for a mix of classic and modern pieces, so we were always aware of finding a balance between new and older pieces to harmonize together,” says Katie. ‘The Woven Wooden Collar on the Desk (The Sebastian Cox Bayleaf Desk) (opens in new tab)) brings texture and shape to the sleeker upholstered chair with leather armrests.’
The blind fabric was chosen because of the ocher color and the stripe to compensate for the brown. It brings a touch of pattern to the room and acts as a focal point in front of the window overlooking the garden.
The armchair in the den is upholstered in muted dusty pink velvet, which was chosen to give a traditional touch to the room and hint at the pink and burgundy hues with the interconnecting reception area.
Pressed botanicals are part of the client’s existing art collection, bringing together the brown, pink and ocher scheme.
The glass extensions each have a large bedroom. This upstairs hallway leads to one of the bedrooms. The extension has glazing and wooden beams on three sides, with the aim of bringing in daylight and views over the garden and beyond.
The desk occasionally doubles as a workspace and dressing table. The client wanted a quiet place to write letters with a view of the garden.
This guest bedroom was supposed to feel soothing and neutral while continuing the theme of natural tones and textures. The brief was also to ensure that the room could easily grow with the changing needs of the family. Cabinets were built-in and tailor-made to the requirements of the customer’s storage space.
The colors of the children’s room have been chosen for continuity with other parts of the house, so that the rooms follow naturally from one to the other. ‘We wanted the children’s attic rooms to feel like cozy places with playful details to give each room its own identity. The job was to make sure the kids could grow with these programs,” says Katie.
The fabric of the headboard was the starting point for the scheme. ‘The playful stripe pattern has a nice painterly quality with a number of colors to draw on and layered within the scheme.’ Mid-century bedside tables add a warm oak tone against the deep wall color (Oval Room Blue by Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)) and sits well next to the brown tones in the headboard fabric.
Bedroom ideas include repurposing existing client artwork, cartoon illustrations on postcards, and bringing it back to life with bold new frames, a cost-effective solution when incorporating artwork into the design. “They add a nice, whimsical touch,” says Katie.
A smoky teal shade, Green Smoke from Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab), envelops the room. “These attic rooms feel cocooned, so we wanted to emphasize the subtle mustard hue in the headboard with mustard tones in the pillows and blinds and accentuate it for added depth against the all-green room,” says Katie.
“Soft pinks and neutrals have been chosen to create elegant and calming bedrooms that focus on smaller details of texture, shape and accents of deep tones such as burgundy and indigo to accentuate certain pieces,” says Katie. ‘Thanks to this calming design, the garden comes into its own even more. Each master bedroom has the same colours, but different furnishings and fittings to give them a character all their own.’
The inspiration for the pink and burgundy hues was the client’s beautiful maple, which can be seen from both master bedrooms.
The light streams in and creates a beautiful shade of pink through the sheer curtains that shift over the course of the day. “As part of the timber frame of the extension, we made sure to include the curtain track for a seamless design that allowed the curtain to completely enclose the space for complete coverage and a wrap-around experience,” says Katie.
‘The chair has been placed here for a quiet reading corner. We wanted to choose something classic, but with a sculptural silhouette. The chair is upholstered in neutral linen. We chose the deeper burgundy hues on the pillow and throw to sit against the maple in the background.”
The focal point linen headboard introduces natural texture and tones with the neutral scheme. Burgundy cushions connect with the maple outside the room, while the indigo throw adds an extra deep color for a finishing touch.
Interior design/ Kitesgrove
Photography/ Mark Bolton