Decimus Burton was quite a gent. Born in 1800, the son of James Haliburton, one of the most significant builders of Georgian London, he studied under John Nash and designed his first major public building – Colosseum in Regent’s Park – at the age of 23.

A vast and haunting canvas by Alan Rankle and Kirsten Reynolds

A vast and haunting canvas by Alan Rankle and Kirsten Reynolds

The hallway features a glowing amber stained glass window that Ken sourced in London to replace the original. Doors at the end of the hallway lead into the house’s own private chapel

The hallway features a glowing amber stained glass window that Ken sourced in London to replace the original. Doors at the end of the hallway lead into the house’s own private chapel

The large gilt mirror in the hallway reflects part of Ken’s collection of Rankle

The large gilt mirror in the hallway reflects part of Ken’s collection of Rankle

In the formal dining room, above the fireplace, is an elegant 19th century double action brass timepiece. Behind the clock is a Victorian gilt mirror, the twin of which tops a fireplace in Osborne House

In the formal dining room, above the fireplace, is an elegant 19th century double action brass timepiece. Behind the clock is a Victorian gilt mirror, the twin of which tops a fireplace in Osborne House

The couple have revamped the kitchen, situated in the basement, with stripped pine units and a muted palette of colours to create a bright, airy and welcoming space

The couple have revamped the kitchen, situated in the basement, with stripped pine units and a muted palette of colours to create a bright, airy and welcoming space

‘Below stairs’, in what would have been the original kitchen, Ken has created a less formal dining room dominated by a sturdy dark oak dining table from Robert Amstad. On the wall at the head of the table is a stunning Rankle of Calder Valley

‘Below stairs’, in what would have been the original kitchen, Ken has created a less formal dining room dominated by a sturdy dark oak dining table from Robert Amstad. On the wall at the head of the table is a stunning Rankle of Calder Valley

The work of Isobel Ackary is evident in the shape of two lovely stained glass-fronted cabinets and a small basement window

The work of Isobel Ackary is evident in the shape of two lovely stained glass-fronted cabinets and a small basement window

Generously proportioned artworks line the ascent to the first floor and the chandelier-lit hallway including important Rankles

Generously proportioned artworks line the ascent to the first floor and the chandelier-lit hallway including important Rankles

On the first floor landing is a collection of shells and coral collected during their travels over the years by Manfred’s wife, Anna

On the first floor landing is a collection of shells and coral collected during their travels over the years by Manfred’s wife, Anna

Ken and Irene’s own bedroom has been modernised with a black glass chandelier which ties together the dark woods of the furniture with the contrasting pale florals of the soft furnishings and wallpaper

Ken and Irene’s own bedroom has been modernised with a black glass chandelier which ties together the dark woods of the furniture with the contrasting pale florals of the soft furnishings and wallpaper

The top floor of the building has been converted into a flat where Ken and Irene once stayed at weekends. From here the views are even more dramatic and elegantly brought into focus by a vintage brass telescope

The top floor of the building has been converted into a flat where Ken and Irene once stayed at weekends. From here the views are even more dramatic and elegantly brought into focus by a vintage brass telescope

“Having been so closely involved with renovating the property and looking after it when Manfred was abroad, it’s wonderful to actually be living here,” says Ken. “He was a very kind man.”

“Having been so closely involved with renovating the property and looking after it when Manfred was abroad, it’s wonderful to actually be living here,” says Ken. “He was a very kind man.”

Off the landing is the couple’s guest suite and its centrepiece, a large and unusual gun metal ‘brass’ bed. In a corner is a magnificent domed chest which once belonged to Manfred, whilst the walls are home to a collection of artist Helen Hunt’s lepidopterology studies

Off the landing is the couple’s guest suite and its centrepiece, a large and unusual gun metal ‘brass’ bed. In a corner is a magnificent domed chest which once belonged to Manfred

The walls are home to a collection of artist Helen Hunt’s lepidopterology studies

The walls are home to a collection of artist Helen Hunt’s lepidopterology studies

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

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