The fabulously curated Winkenhurst Manor, near Heathfield in Sussex has one marvellously curious room, leading into another. The owners, who work together in the antiques and interior design business, have made an art form out of creating unique displays of collectables in Victorian museum cases. This beautifully renovated home shows off its fascinating treasures with aplomb, a joy to explore.

The Victorian collector theme resounds throughout the home.

The Victorian collector theme resounds throughout the home

The bright and airy orangery.

The bright and airy orangery

The orangery replaced the 1950s/60s extension. 1960s industrial style heat lamps were sourced from a farm

The orangery replaced the 1950s/60s extension. 1960s industrial style heat lamps were sourced from a farm

“We’re not very good at buying small amounts of anything,” says Paul.

“We’re not very good at buying small amounts of anything,” says Paul

The dining area with beautiful artwork and a cabinet full of collector's items.

The dining area with beautiful artwork and a cabinet full of collector's items

Ornate plasterwork, as well as being dotted around the house, dominates the stairwell and landing area at the heart of the house

Ornate plasterwork, as well as being dotted around the house, dominates the stairwell

You never know who you might meet on the staircase.

You never know who you might meet on the staircase

The couple commissioned the bedstead in the master bedroom.

The couple commissioned the bedstead in the master bedroom. “We work with various restoration firms, as part of our antiques business,” says Paul

A dresser full of sea shells.

A dresser full of sea shells

“In the Victorian era people liked to collect shells, and they used to put them in cabinets of curiosity. We put cabinets like that together.”

“In the Victorian era people liked to collect shells, and they used to put them in cabinets of curiosity. We put cabinets like that together.”

The bright modern painting (above) used to belong to Adam Faith.

The bright modern painting (above) used to belong to Adam Faith, sold as part of his estate when he died

The couple’s shared dressing room. The spats and shoes belonged to Sir Norman Hartnell.

The couple’s shared dressing room. The spats and shoes belonged to Sir Norman Hartnell

Shells are a prominent feature in Martin’s bathroom.

Shells are a prominent feature in Martin’s bathroom

A door from Martin’s Jack and Jill bathroom leads into one of the guest bedrooms

A door from Martin’s Jack and Jill bathroom leads into one of the guest bedrooms

Even a bust on the windowsill has been generously adorned with shells

Even a bust on the windowsill has been generously adorned with shells

Over a surprisingly rustic bare-brick fireplace in a guest bedroom hangs a large starburst mirror. “We buy them from antique auctions. That one is mid 20th century I believe,” says Paul.

Over a surprisingly rustic bare-brick fireplace in a guest bedroom hangs a large starburst mirror. “We buy them from antique auctions. That one is mid 20th century I believe,” says Paul

The extensive collection of plasterwork on display in the hallway and landing would have been designed for fancy French houses

The extensive collection of plasterwork on display in the hallway and landing would have been designed for fancy French houses

At the top of a small flight of steps on the landing, an old timber ‘hobbit door’ hints at the house’s long history

At the top of a small flight of steps on the landing, an old timber ‘hobbit door’ hints at the house’s long history

A stuffed barn owl sits on the dressing table.

A stuffed barn owl sits on the dressing table. The ‘Whistle’ sign on the wall is from an old railway station

Ornate plasterwork, as well as being dotted around the house, dominates the stairwell and landing area at the heart of the house: “These samples would probably have been used by artists as references. It’s a bit of an homage to Sir John Soane’s house.”

Ornate plasterwork. “These samples would probably have been used by artists as references. It’s a bit of an homage to Sir John Soane’s house.”

More evidence of the Victorian collector.

More evidence of the Victorian collector

The doorway leading to the dressing room.

The doorway leading to the dressing room

In another guest bedroom an ink painting of a Parisian scene acts as a headboard.

In another guest bedroom an ink painting of a Parisian scene acts as a headboard

The en suite bathroom features a roll top bath and tongue and groove walls. The ‘Whistle’ sign on the wall is from an old railway station

The en suite bathroom features a roll top bath and tongue and groove walls

The ‘Whistle’ lettering on the wall, reminiscent of today’s popular illuminated letters is in fact from an old railway station

The ‘Whistle’ lettering on the wall, reminiscent of today’s popular illuminated letters is in fact from an old railway station

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Helen Barton

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