It’s odd, perhaps, but the expression ‘living over the shop’ somehow now seems to conjure 1950s images of a middle-aged, Fair Isle-sweatered tobacconist and his aproned wife settling back, Horlicks in hand, while on the black and white television Percy Thrower does something wholesome with geraniums.

The real glory of the kitchen-dining area is a long and honeyed farmhouse table

The real glory of the kitchen-dining area is a long and honeyed farmhouse table

James has seamless combined an eclectic mix of old and new throughout the house

James has seamless combined an eclectic mix of old and new throughout the house

A glossy white piano greets visitors on entering the house

A glossy white piano greets visitors on entering the house

The light floods into the kitchen-dining area through French windows which lead out to the courtyard garden

The light floods into the kitchen-dining area through French windows which lead out to the courtyard garden

At the other end of the dining area stands a small 18th century table: the first piece James bought when leaving college

At the other end of the dining area stands a small 18th century table: the first piece James bought when leaving college

James’ house is filled with artworks, ornaments and curios, the most striking of which are a pair of toy wooden horses

James’ house is filled with artworks, ornaments and curios, the most striking of which are a pair of toy wooden horses

A large distressed grey French cupboard stands at the other end of the dining area, its long-lost original glass panels replaced very effectively by humble chicken wire

A large distressed grey French cupboard stands at the other end of the dining area, its long-lost original glass panels replaced very effectively by humble chicken wire

It’s James’ skill in spotting just the right pieces for each room that makes this house so special

It’s James’ skill in spotting just the right pieces for each room that makes this house so special

The original sitting room, home to a French corner unit upon which nests a collection of antique shooting decoys

The original sitting room, home to a French corner unit upon which nests a collection of antique shooting decoys

Old shop signs are another of James’ passions

Old shop signs are another of James’ passions

The view into the bathroom, past a huge gilt mirror

The view into the bathroom, past a huge gilt mirror

The master bedroom and en suite shower room. On the table in the corner stands a drawer unit from an old village shop

The master bedroom and en suite shower room. On the table in the corner stands a drawer unit from an old village shop

Even the pretty bedroom of a visiting child is complete with perfectly-placed finishing touches, including a vintage Jackie magazine

Even the pretty bedroom of a visiting child is complete with perfectly-placed finishing touches, including a vintage Jackie magazine

The walled, partially-decked courtyard garden is the perfect summer hideaway

The walled, partially-decked courtyard garden is the perfect summer hideaway

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

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