It’s a steamy and umbelliferous (as in lots of floaty cow parsley) morning in the Weald as we arrive at Wendy’s secluded house, which is tucked away from view down a narrow leafy lane. We’re warmly greeted with a, “Mind the dead rabbit!” As if in honour of our arrival Scout, one of her trio of cats, has just caught and is happily (and rather messily) eating a rabbit on the lawn. We politely avert our gaze and head for the house.

“There was a lovely big old model C Aga in the kitchen – an original dating back to the 1930s – but it was hugely inefficient so we really had to replace it. We opted for a more economical range, but it doesn’t give off any heat,”

“There was a lovely big old model C Aga in the kitchen – an original dating back to the 1930s – but it was hugely inefficient so we really had to replace it. We opted for a more economical range, but it doesn’t give off any heat,”

Stone steps lead up from the new kitchen into a library, which was the original kitchen. Local carpenter, Paul Ferdinando made the bookcase that encompasses the wall

Stone steps lead up from the new kitchen into a library, which was the original kitchen. Local carpenter, Paul Ferdinando made the bookcase that encompasses the wall

A friend who lives in America sent Wendy the colourful poultry bunting which hangs along a curtain rail in the kitchen

A friend who lives in America sent Wendy the colourful poultry bunting which hangs along a curtain rail in the kitchen

Flowers and foliage from the garden

Flowers and foliage from the garden

Wendy clearly puts the skills she learns to good purpose too – all around the house there’s evidence of her fondness for making and collecting

Wendy clearly puts the skills she learns to good purpose too – all around the house there’s evidence of her fondness for making and collecting

Due to the fact the house has no central heating, the previous owners had installed a wood burner in the sitting room

Due to the fact the house has no central heating, the previous owners had installed a wood burner in the sitting room

Wendy and Rob have installed two new bathrooms. The walls surrounding the staircase are lined with prints and paintings. At one end of the landing, the first floor bathroom features an elegant roll-top bath

Wendy and Rob have installed two new bathrooms. The walls surrounding the staircase are lined with prints and paintings

At one end of the landing, the first floor bathroom features an elegant roll-top bath

At one end of the landing, the first floor bathroom features an elegant roll-top bath

The third upstairs room isn’t really big enough to be called a bedroom, yet offers the perfect retreat for reading and paperwork. The Arts & Crafts desk is from The Design Gallery in Westerham

The third upstairs room isn’t really big enough to be called a bedroom, yet offers the perfect retreat for reading and paperwork. The Arts & Crafts desk is from The Design Gallery in Westerham

The bed in the guest room is dressed with an invitingly cosy eiderdown and plump pillows

The bed in the guest room is dressed with an invitingly cosy eiderdown and plump pillows

The master bedroom is painted a calming hue of very pale green. As in most rooms of the house, Wendy has gathered flowers and foliage from the garden which are positioned on the mantelpiece alongside her jewellery

The master bedroom is painted a calming hue of very pale green

As in most rooms of the house, Wendy has gathered flowers and foliage from the garden which are positioned on the mantelpiece alongside her jewellery

As in most rooms of the house, Wendy has gathered flowers and foliage from the garden which are positioned on the mantelpiece alongside her jewellery

“Crocheting is my first love. I was taught by Nancy Nicholson,” she says, but it’s obviously not her last: at present she is busy upholstering a chair in the studio

“Crocheting is my first love. I was taught by Nancy Nicholson,” she says, but it’s obviously not her last: at present she is busy upholstering a chair in the studio

Stone steps lead up to the greenhouse

Stone steps lead up to the greenhouse

Wendy’s studio is nestled amongst abundantly lush borders that have been planted in a tightly packed, but marvellously loose style

Wendy’s studio is nestled amongst abundantly lush borders that have been planted in a tightly packed, but marvellously loose style

Wendy is a horticulturist by training “There was no garden when we came here. It was all just lawn,” she says. Looking outside at the full, densely planted beds all around the house, they look so established and as if they’ve always been in place

Wendy is a horticulturist by training

“There was no garden when we came here. It was all just lawn,” she says. Looking outside at the full, densely planted beds all around the house, they look so established and as if they’ve always been in place

“There was no garden when we came here. It was all just lawn,” she says

Looking outside at the full, densely planted beds all around the house, they look so established and as if they’ve always been in place

Looking outside at the full, densely planted beds all around the house, they look so established and as if they’ve always been in place

The garden has two main aspects: an open, sunny side in front of the kitchen window that leads down to the vegetable patch and a wonderful shady slope behind the house

The garden has two main aspects: an open, sunny side in front of the kitchen window that leads down to the vegetable patch and a wonderful shady slope behind the house

Spider the black cat soaks up some sunshine on a bench

Spider the black cat soaks up some sunshine on a bench

Rob’s office is a handsome timber clad building, painted dark brown, which looks very effective amid the creams and greens of the surrounding plants

Rob’s office is a handsome timber clad building, painted dark brown, which looks very effective amid the creams and greens of the surrounding plants

A chicken wire running hare was made for Wendy by artist Lucy Williams

A chicken wire running hare was made for Wendy by artist Lucy Williams

Bespoke pieces made by Rob from Cranbrook Iron are dotted around the garden including this willow-clothed garden den

Bespoke pieces made by Rob from Cranbrook Iron are dotted around the garden including this willow-clothed garden den

At the bottom of the paddock an old caravan is another of Wendy’s projects in progress. Cranbrook Iron’s mini firebowl with a tripod grill is the perfect way to enjoy summer evenings in the garden

At the bottom of the paddock an old caravan is another of Wendy’s projects in progress. Cranbrook Iron’s mini firebowl with a tripod grill is the perfect way to enjoy summer evenings in the garden

We’re led back up through the garden into the orchard where her comely purebred hens – Buff Laced Wyandotte, Speckled Sussex and Silver-grey Dorking – amble contentedly around

We’re led back up through the garden into the orchard where her comely purebred hens – Buff Laced Wyandotte, Speckled Sussex and Silver-grey Dorking – amble contentedly around

Wendy’s pampered hens enjoy scratching around at the top of the garden

Wendy’s pampered hens enjoy scratching around at the top of the garden

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

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