Step inside this beautiful 19th-century oast house in Kent, owned by Lucinda Hamilton and husband Andrew. The bright, spacious home is filled with fabrics from Cabbages & Roses and Cath Kidston and pretty antique finds. The couple, who now have three children, were previously living in London and once they started a family they yearned for a home in the country. 'The restriction of open-plan living in our loft apartment in London was challenging, especially with our young son,' says Lucinda. 'Plus there was the usual problem of storage for bikes and footballs! So we started looking for a new home to buy, but that was difficult as we couldn't find anything we liked.'
A solution presented itself when a friend who was having problems selling her oast house suggested that Lucinda and Andrew take a long-term lease on it until they found what they wanted. 'It seemed like a good idea,' says Lucinda, 'but when we went to look at the house we liked it so much that we decided to put in an offer to buy it instead. It didn't need much work, just redecorating. It's perfect for small children as the rooms upstairs were right next to each other and it has a huge garden.'
The kitchen/breakfast room runs the full length of the house, which was a major plus when it came to deciding to buy as Lucinda runs a specialist catering company called Cocolicious. The home also has beauty views across the valley and beyond. As Lucinda was pregnant with her second child when they decided to move, it came in handy that the first person she befriended when moving to the country happened to be an interior designer - Alexis Wylie. 'I happily involved Alexis in the project to redecorate,' says Lucinda. 'I'm definitely a shabby chic person and love the floral fabrics of Cath Kidston and Cabbages & Roses. Alexis gave me the confidence to translate my love of soft and feminine fabrics into a workable scheme.'
Lucinda scoured small interior shops specialising in decorative pieces such as crockery, painted furniture and textiles. Alexis came up with the idea of turning a quilt into curtains, which hang in the kitchen/breakfast room.
A gorgeous palette of pale blue was used to furnish the living room, which features sofas from Sofa Workshop and Laura Ashley, and a grey coffee table from Woodcocks of Tenterden (01580 761 008). The hall table (below) also came from Woodcocks of Tenterden.
The bedrooms are also furnished with painted furniture, as seen in the guest room, which features memorable cushions that Alexis Wylie sourced. The walls are painted in Stony Ground by Farrow & Ball and create the perfect backdrop for Lucinda and Andrew's range of beautiful furniture and fixtures.
'Decorating this house has been a voyage of discovery,' says Lucinda. 'Alexis showed me how to indulge my passions so they work for the house as well as for me. I've learned you can get away with lots of patterns if you choose soft bleached colours and that you can mix different colours on painted furniture providing you start with one theme that is repeated throughout.'
Words adapted from Mandy Nolan. Photos by Robert Sanderson.
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor