Most people who build their own country houses take one of two approaches: either opting for high design and commissioning an architect to create a ‘statement’ house which usually means that it is contemporary in style and quite unlike those around it, or they attempt something that they hope will ‘blend in’ with its surroundings and look ‘old’. Sophia Wadsworth and her husband Andrew have pulled off the more unusual trick of marrying a traditional structure, materials and craftsmanship with a look that is not obviously from any particular period, but is still very definitely a country house, and a Kentish country house at that.

The drawing room has a Jøtul woodburner as its focal point. A simple Bath stone mantelpiece from Chesneys frames it and a pair of Knole sofas face each other across a mahogany coffee table

The drawing room has a Jøtul woodburner as its focal point. A simple Bath stone mantelpiece from Chesneys frames it and a pair of Knole sofas face each other across a mahogany coffee table

The Wadsworth’s house is only two years old but looks very much at ease. With its white weatherboarding and honeyed oak frame, there are recognisable elements of Kentish vernacular, but it’s no pastiche

The Wadsworth’s house is only two years old but looks very much at ease. With its white weatherboarding and honeyed oak frame, there are recognisable elements of Kentish vernacular, but it’s no pastiche

The dining room is quite classically Scandinavian in tone. Light floods in from the windows on either side and from the glass ceiling. A long oval table seats 14 and is dressed with antique candelabras that belonged to Sophia’s Swedish great-grandparents. A painted, glazed armoire shows off the daintily sprigged Portuguese dinner service that is a much-loved wedding present

The dining room is quite classically Scandinavian in tone. Light floods in from the windows on either side and from the glass ceiling. A long oval table seats 14 and is dressed with antique candelabras that belonged to Sophia’s Swedish great-grandparents. A painted, glazed armoire shows off the daintily sprigged Portuguese dinner service that is a much-loved wedding present

The whole ground floor benefits from being wonderfully open-plan. “As a designer, one of the things that I am really keen on is planning every room as it will be used,” says Sophia. “With a new-build there’s the opportunity to make sure that everything works exactly as it should, so I worked out where all the power points and lighting should be. In the dining room I had already bought a pair of lamps that I knew I wanted to place on the oak windowledges, so I had discreet sockets made from oak, set into each ledge.”

The whole ground floor benefits from being wonderfully open-plan. “As a designer, one of the things that I am really keen on is planning every room as it will be used,” says Sophia. “With a new-build there’s the opportunity to make sure that everything works exactly as it should, so I worked out where all the power points and lighting should be. In the dining room I had already bought a pair of lamps that I knew I wanted to place on the oak windowledges, so I had discreet sockets made from oak, set into each ledge.”

The adjoining sitting room is furnished with linen-covered sofas and chairs. A scarlet and chalk white Ian Mankin stripe on the smaller sofa and red striped cushions punctuate the natural tone of the other

The adjoining sitting room is furnished with linen-covered sofas and chairs. A scarlet and chalk white Ian Mankin stripe on the smaller sofa and red striped cushions punctuate the natural tone of the other

Across the hallway, a huge spotted cowhide from South Africa divides the open-plan floorspace. “We all love to go to South Africa and my eldest son, Teddy spent his gap year working as a junior ranger in Kruger Park,” says Sophia

Across the hallway, a huge spotted cowhide from South Africa divides the open-plan floorspace. “We all love to go to South Africa and my eldest son, Teddy spent his gap year working as a junior ranger in Kruger Park,” says Sophia

A smart striped runner from Avalon Flooring in Tenterden draws the visitor up the stairs. Sophia’s flair for interior design, subtly combined with finds from the family’s travels to South Africa, is evident throughout the house: “The style that I use at home is obviously influenced by my Scandinavian heritage as my mother is Swedish and I just love that relaxed, light feel,” she says

A smart striped runner from Avalon Flooring in Tenterden draws the visitor up the stairs. Sophia’s flair for interior design, subtly combined with finds from the family’s travels to South Africa, is evident throughout the house: “The style that I use at home is obviously influenced by my Scandinavian heritage as my mother is Swedish and I just love that relaxed, light feel,” she says

The huge windows frame views of the developing rear garden and provide a wonderful view from the spacious and airy landing

The huge windows frame views of the developing rear garden and provide a wonderful view from the spacious and airy landing

A careful use of symmetry in the master bedroom and bathroom creates a serene atmosphere. The carved and painted wooden bed was bought in Paris and is simply dressed with Portuguese piqué cotton. On a pair of bedside tables stand candle-style lamps with monogrammed linen shades bought from Charlotte Casadejus at the Wealden Times Christmas Fair. The simplicity of the scheme shows off the pale honey coloured oak beams to great effect

A careful use of symmetry in the master bedroom and bathroom creates a serene atmosphere. The carved and painted wooden bed was bought in Paris and is simply dressed with Portuguese piqué cotton. On a pair of bedside tables stand candle-style lamps with monogrammed linen shades bought from Charlotte Casadejus at the Wealden Times Christmas Fair. The simplicity of the scheme shows off the pale honey coloured oak beams to great effect

Daughter Georgie’s “boudoir” pays homage to Audrey Hepburn in her incarnation as Holly Golightly and has flashes of shocking pink and dramatic black among the otherwise pale French furnishings

Daughter Georgie’s “boudoir” pays homage to Audrey Hepburn in her incarnation as Holly Golightly and has flashes of shocking pink and dramatic black among the otherwise pale French furnishings

Teddy’s room displays masses of school, university and sports team pictures along with artefacts collected from South Africa, while his younger brother Patrick reveals his love of music in a room that is full of guitars and vintage posters

Teddy’s room displays masses of school, university and sports team pictures along with artefacts collected from South Africa, while his younger brother Patrick reveals his love of music in a room that is full of guitars and vintage posters

The immaculate boot room

The immaculate boot room

A tranquil pool greets visitors to the front door

A tranquil pool greets visitors to the front door

Andrew and Sophia have grand plans for the garden and are already reaping the rewards of growing their own produce

Andrew and Sophia have grand plans for the garden and are already reaping the rewards of growing their own produce

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

17th Century Farmhouse

Stella Hayes initially fell in love with the property's glorious garden. She has gone on to create a beautiful home.

60s Themed Seaside Holiday Home

I’m sure we’ve all thought about buying a house by the sea – perhaps after an idyllic holiday, or a bracing walk, even just a drive along the coast. On the morning we visit James Rourke’s house, as the sullen...

A Butterfly Unfurled

When Sally Harrington opens the huge front door of her Kentish weatherboard home I assume that the 1950s bungalow that once stood here was demolished to make way for the new house. “No,” she says, “it’s still in here somewhere,...