Stella Hayes initially fell in love with the property’s glorious garden. She has gone on to create a beautiful home filled with her impressive art collection.

Stella’s much-loved dogs, Pointer George and Vizsla Ralphie, eagerly await a treat in the kitchen

Stella’s much-loved dogs, Pointer George and Vizsla Ralphie, eagerly await a treat in the kitchen

The long, high and bright dining room has more than a touch of orangery about it

The long, high and bright dining room has more than a touch of orangery about it

In the dining room the sizeable table was sourced from eBay

In the dining room the sizeable table was sourced from eBay

“There was a time when everyone wanted new or pine and period furniture and the junk shops were just full of wonderful old stuff,” she says

“There was a time when everyone wanted new or pine and period furniture and the junk shops were just full of wonderful old stuff,” she says

Above the chunky sink unit at one end of the kitchen hang gold-leafed paintings by Ilze Preisa. Heavy stone pineapple lamps from Gardener & Cook sit to each side

Above the chunky sink unit at one end of the kitchen hang gold-leafed paintings by Ilze Preisa. Heavy stone pineapple lamps from Gardener & Cook sit to each side

Also off the kitchen is a guest bedroom where the pride of place goes to the first bed the couple ever bought

Also off the kitchen is a guest bedroom where the pride of place goes to the first bed the couple ever bought

On a wall in the kitchen is a bright – very bright – grasshopper painting by Ilze Avotina. “I treated myself to a museum quality work despite family really hating it,” says Stella, “but it’s so happy! I went to the artist’s house – she only ever wears black and white – and her house was all white, but her work is these crazy colours.”

On a wall in the kitchen is a bright – very bright – grasshopper painting by Ilze Avotina. “I treated myself to a museum quality work despite family really hating it,” says Stella, “but it’s so happy! I went to the artist’s house – she only ever wears black and white – and her house was all white, but her work is these crazy colours.”

The shuttered snug room, just off the drawing room, makes for an ideal private spot for relaxation

The shuttered snug room, just off the drawing room, makes for an ideal private spot for relaxation

As far as the house was concerned, Stella had three equally invaluable resources – her own considerable eye for design, a wonderful collection of furniture gathered over the years and a superb collection of paintings, the result of her experience as a gallery owner.

As far as the house was concerned, Stella had three equally invaluable resources – her own considerable eye for design, a wonderful collection of furniture gathered over the years and a superb collection of paintings, the result of her experience as a gallery owner

Focus of the beamed drawing room is a lovely honeyed sandstone inglenook before which stands a striking custom-made black and white striped glass coffee table and two period French chairs bought in Paris and re-upholstered

Focus of the beamed drawing room is a lovely honeyed sandstone inglenook before which stands a striking custom-made black and white striped glass coffee table and two period French chairs bought in Paris and re-upholstered

Stella’s John Broadwood grand piano

Stella’s John Broadwood grand piano

Upstairs, in the master bedroom, is a lovely rosewood scroll-top bed, another eBay find. “It would have cost a fortune in a shop,” Stella says

Upstairs, in the master bedroom, is a lovely rosewood scroll-top bed, another eBay find. “It would have cost a fortune in a shop,” Stella says

Stella found the walnut occasional table in a junk shop. Behind it is a large and impressive canvas – Red Shoes by Jana Brike. The French gilt chairs are another Parisian find

Stella found the walnut occasional table in a junk shop. Behind it is a large and impressive canvas – Red Shoes by Jana Brike. The French gilt chairs are another Parisian find

A superb marble-topped yew chest of drawers is home to a pair of Chinese table lamps from Hoopers in Tunbridge Wells

A superb marble-topped yew chest of drawers is home to a pair of Chinese table lamps from Hoopers in Tunbridge Wells

The elegant bathroom is painted in Farrow & Ball London Stone

The elegant bathroom is painted in Farrow & Ball London Stone

The view through to the bathroom

The view through to the bathroom

Another guest bedroom is furnished with a Victorian brass bed, along with matching side tables, stone table lamps and a large black and white-framed mirror from Homesense in Tunbridge Wells

Another guest bedroom is furnished with a Victorian brass bed, along with matching side tables, stone table lamps and a large black and white-framed mirror from Homesense in Tunbridge Wells

An upstairs loo remains decorated in the original blue floral wallpaper chosen by a previous owner

An upstairs loo remains decorated in the original blue floral wallpaper chosen by a previous owner

Alliums in the garden

Alliums in the garden

The garden is positively packed with vibrant hues of pinks and purples and is a haven for bees, which Stella also keeps (below left). Everywhere great untamed banks of colour tumble over one another. A lawn separates the house and its beds from a swathe of untamed grasses and wild flowers that drift into a wood beyond

The garden is positively packed with vibrant hues of pinks and purples and is a haven for bees, which Stella also keeps (below left). Everywhere great untamed banks of colour tumble over one another. A lawn separates the house and its beds from a swathe of untamed grasses and wild flowers that drift into a wood beyond

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

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