Widowhood prompted the move here,” says Ro, without much preamble. “I was rattling around in the house I had shared with my husband Geoff and after he died I needed a change. By chance, my daughter Alexis saw this place advertised in the newspaper.

In the drawing room a bronze-coloured metal chandelier hangs in the centre of the almost square ceiling. The walls are painted a very pale grey and each piece of furniture is covered in a different fabric

In the drawing room a bronze-coloured metal chandelier hangs in the centre of the almost square ceiling. The walls are painted a very pale grey and each piece of furniture is covered in a different fabric

“Alexis told me to start with a floral fabric chair. She said everything would flow from that and she was right. The colours are quite muted, but they’ve allowed me to then keep my café au lait-coloured sofa from my last house and to have my new pink wingback which I love.”

“Alexis told me to start with a floral fabric chair. She said everything would flow from that and she was right. The colours are quite muted, but they’ve allowed me to then keep my café au lait-coloured sofa from my last house and to have my new pink wingback which I love.”

By subtly repeating some of the colours and patterns around the drawing room, Alexis and her mother have created a harmonious scheme without it looking too obviously ‘designed’

By subtly repeating some of the colours and patterns around the drawing room, Alexis and her mother have created a harmonious scheme without it looking too obviously ‘designed’

Through double half-louvred doors is the kitchen. It has sleek white units with sturdy, brushed stainless steel handles. “Actually, being a square-shaped room it’s rather awkward,” says Ro. “It needs an island but it’s too small for that, so I had this butcher’s block type trolley made with wooden board on top that lifts off so that I can use my breadmaker on it, without it getting too hot. It’s also really useful to be able to move my chopping board around the kitchen as I work.”

Through double half-louvred doors is the kitchen. It has sleek white units with sturdy, brushed stainless steel handles. “Actually, being a square-shaped room it’s rather awkward,” says Ro. “It needs an island but it’s too small for that, so I had this butcher’s block type trolley made with wooden board on top that lifts off so that I can use my breadmaker on it, without it getting too hot. It’s also really useful to be able to move my chopping board around the kitchen as I work.”

The double-height ceiling allows light to pour into the dining room and landing. Below, a sofa covered in undyed linen sits in the alcove of the bay window, its neutral tones enlivened by richly coloured crewelwork cushions. Above, on the landing, is an armchair covered in a brightly coloured kilim with a generous footstool upholstered in a similar pattern. “My sister likes to sit here when she comes to stay as it’s a bright, airy space”

The double-height ceiling allows light to pour into the dining room and landing. Below, a sofa covered in undyed linen sits in the alcove of the bay window, its neutral tones enlivened by richly coloured crewelwork cushions. Above, on the landing, is an armchair covered in a brightly coloured kilim with a generous footstool upholstered in a similar pattern. “My sister likes to sit here when she comes to stay as it’s a bright, airy space”

The stairs take the visitor past ten strikingly modern pictures. “We had these at our London flat and they’re a series depicting the different characters of The Canterbury Tales. I suppose they also look a little like African masks. They’re certainly not the traditional thing for a retired lady in the country to have on her wall. Most of my contemporaries have flowers or landscape pictures, but I like to mix things up a bit,” says Ro

The stairs take the visitor past ten strikingly modern pictures. “We had these at our London flat and they’re a series depicting the different characters of The Canterbury Tales. I suppose they also look a little like African masks. They’re certainly not the traditional thing for a retired lady in the country to have on her wall. Most of my contemporaries have flowers or landscape pictures, but I like to mix things up a bit,” says Ro

Ro’s bedroom overlooks the garden and has French windows onto a small wooden balcony. The room is light and serene, with a pale wallpaper and a bedhead and curtains made of the same softly coloured chintz

Ro’s bedroom overlooks the garden and has French windows onto a small wooden balcony. The room is light and serene, with a pale wallpaper and a bedhead and curtains made of the same softly coloured chintz

Across the landing, the guest bedroom features a gilded three-armed chandelier with forget-me-not blue silk shades covering the candle bulbs. A huge painted armoire from Portugal has three large blue and white jars from northern Portugal on the top

Across the landing, the guest bedroom features a gilded three-armed chandelier with forget-me-not blue silk shades covering the candle bulbs. A huge painted armoire from Portugal has three large blue and white jars from northern Portugal on the top

Ro’s garden wraps around the building’s southern wall, too, and is planted with lavender, roses, ceanothus and alchemilla mollis. “I’ve just come back from Hampton Court Show, so I’m full of ideas.”

Ro’s garden wraps around the building’s southern wall, too, and is planted with lavender, roses, ceanothus and alchemilla mollis. “I’ve just come back from Hampton Court Show, so I’m full of ideas.”

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

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