It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values,” once said poet Lawrence Durrell. “You do not need a sixth sense for it. It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. ‘I am watching you – are you watching yourself in me?’

In the kitchen, the green Aga in the inglenook came with the house and although Francesca had never used one before, peace has now broken out between the appliance and its new owner. “We had some rather late lunches to start with but I’ve finally got the hang of it,” she says, noting that, alas, it can’t hack stir-fries and so a more versatile hob is also now on her shopping list

In the kitchen, the green Aga in the inglenook came with the house and although Francesca had never used one before, peace has now broken out between the appliance and its new owner. “We had some rather late lunches to start with but I’ve finally got the hang of it,” she says, noting that, alas, it can’t hack stir-fries and so a more versatile hob is also now on her shopping list

A big, built-in dresser extends along one wall, its shelves displaying a stunning set of much-loved, green Jasper Conran Wedgwood. “I really designed the kitchen around the Wedgwood,” says Francesca

A big, built-in dresser extends along one wall, its shelves displaying a stunning set of much-loved, green Jasper Conran Wedgwood. “I really designed the kitchen around the Wedgwood,” says Francesca

On the wall above a kitchen table overhung by a ceramic industrial light is a collection of favourite paintings all of which have a story and a special meaning to the couple. Among them is a family Christmas card designed by Laura Oakes, a beach scene by Chris Daynes, the resident artist at Rye’s Swann Gallery, a landscape by Catherine Heard and a copper plate print by Rye artist Marina Kim

On the wall above a kitchen table overhung by a ceramic industrial light is a collection of favourite paintings all of which have a story and a special meaning to the couple. Among them is a family Christmas card designed by Laura Oakes, a beach scene by Chris Daynes, the resident artist at Rye’s Swann Gallery, a landscape by Catherine Heard and a copper plate print by Rye artist Marina Kim

Dominating one wall of the children’s playroom is a striking piece of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theatre set from Mccully & Crane in Rye

Dominating one wall of the children’s playroom is a striking piece of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theatre set from Mccully & Crane in Rye

Mexican sombreros in the children's playroom

Mexican sombreros in the children's playroom

A corner of the master bedroom

A corner of the master bedroom

In the master bedroom heavy Colefax & Fowler curtains are another witness to Francesca’s fabric collecting and were remodelled for the Georgian windows by Annette at Daisy Chain Furnishings in Hastings

In the master bedroom heavy Colefax & Fowler curtains are another witness to Francesca’s fabric collecting and were remodelled for the Georgian windows by Annette at Daisy Chain Furnishings in Hastings

In the guest room hangs a beautiful 1930s silk evening dress bought by Francesca for a recent wedding. The bedspread was made by Vietnamese children in Hoi An, where Francesca and Piers spent their honeymoon

In the guest room hangs a beautiful 1930s silk evening dress bought by Francesca for a recent wedding. The bedspread was made by Vietnamese children in Hoi An, where Francesca and Piers spent their honeymoon

Above the bedhead is an antique Japanese tablecloth.

Above the bedhead is an antique Japanese tablecloth

Pride of place in the boys’ bedroom goes to a wonderful Hornby train track encircling a model village – complete with brewery – built for the boys by Francesca’s father

Pride of place in the boys’ bedroom goes to a wonderful Hornby train track encircling a model village – complete with brewery – built for the boys by Francesca’s father

The Hornby train track

The Hornby train track and mantlepiece in the boys' room

And so well was the property renovated that there was little to do but to make it their own which largely consisted of a lick of Farrow & Ball and the import of some cherished pieces either inherited from the couple’s parents or collected from antique and junk shops over the years...

And so well was the property renovated that there was little to do but to make it their own which largely consisted of a lick of Farrow & Ball and the import of some cherished pieces either inherited from the couple’s parents or collected from antique and junk shops over the years

The delightful entrance hall

The delightful entrance hall

Shelves in the entrance hall are filled with rows of books and family photographs

Shelves in the entrance hall are filled with rows of books and family photographs

A door leads off the hallway into the downstairs loo and utility room. In most houses, the utility room is an afterthought, if a thought at all, but Francesca’s is a little haven. “I seem to spend so much time in here, I wanted it to be a pleasant space to work in,” she says

A door leads off the hallway into the downstairs loo and utility room. In most houses, the utility room is an afterthought, if a thought at all, but Francesca’s is a little haven. “I seem to spend so much time in here, I wanted it to be a pleasant space to work in,” she says

French doors in the kitchen lead out into a truly stunning orangery with flagstone flooring, an ancient fig festooned with Vietnamese paper lanterns growing up the centre and jasmine climbing the walls

French doors in the kitchen lead out into a truly stunning orangery with flagstone flooring, an ancient fig festooned with Vietnamese paper lanterns growing up the centre and jasmine climbing the walls

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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