In an area famed for its atmospheric, timber houses, Mark and Tara were hard-pushed to find one that provided the light-filled home they were after. After a year of searching and a year of negotiating, they finally moved into this magnificent farmhouse in Grafty Green where a liberal application of white paint has helped make the most of the natural light.

The kitchen table once belonged to Tara’s aunt Colleen and was about to be thrown out and put on the bonfire but Tara saved it. She decided to leave the top as natural wood and white-distress the legs. The kitchen chairs are Lloyd Loom by Neptune and are stocked by John Lewis

The kitchen table once belonged to Tara’s aunt Colleen and was about to be thrown out and put on the bonfire but Tara saved it. She decided to leave the top as natural wood and white-distress the legs. The kitchen chairs are Lloyd Loom by Neptune and are stocked by John Lewis

A vaulted ceiling and honey-coloured beams above the comforting cream Aga help to make the room feel light and airy. An old clock on the bressumer above the Aga belonged to Mark’s parents and was once natural wood. It was given a distressed white finish by Tara

A vaulted ceiling and honey-coloured beams above the comforting cream Aga help to make the room feel light and airy. An old clock on the bressumer above the Aga belonged to Mark’s parents and was once natural wood. It was given a distressed white finish by Tara

The modern, clean-white kitchen contrasts with the rustic beams and period features of this Wealden farmhouse

The modern, clean-white kitchen contrasts with the rustic beams and period features of this Wealden farmhouse

Structural beams remain where once lathe and plaster would have divided the hallway and dining room

Structural beams remain where once lathe and plaster would have divided the hallway and dining room

This open-plan approach allows lights to fill the downstairs space

This open-plan approach allows lights to fill the downstairs space

The drawing room is the oldest part of the house, dating back to the 1650s

The drawing room is the oldest part of the house, dating back to the 1650s

Tara and Mark used to run a business importing Swedish chandeliers

Tara and Mark used to run a business importing Swedish chandeliers

The master bedroom is warmed by the natural wood of items such as this large pine wardrobe, which was stripped of black paint, a pine dome-lidded chest and a natural oak chest of drawers. All the furniture came from antiques shops in Rochester, except the upholstered bed, which is by Hypnos

The master bedroom is warmed by the natural wood of items such as this large pine wardrobe, which was stripped of black paint, a pine dome-lidded chest and a natural oak chest of drawers. All the furniture came from antiques shops in Rochester, except the upholstered bed, which is by Hypnos

The double-aspect master bedroom looks out over the gardens, which have been a labour of love for Tara and Mark

The double-aspect master bedroom looks out over the gardens, which have been a labour of love for Tara and Mark

Décor in the bedroom has been kept, pale, pretty and feminine – whilst steering clear of twee country styling

Décor in the bedroom has been kept, pale, pretty and feminine – whilst steering clear of twee country styling

An ornate mirror is a feature in the classic, welcoming bathroom, where tongue-and-groove panelling adds a country cottage feel alongside the painted wood sink unit

An ornate mirror is a feature in the classic, welcoming bathroom, where tongue-and-groove panelling adds a country cottage feel alongside the painted wood sink unit

Victorian-style taps adorn the end of a freestanding, roll-top bath

Victorian-style taps adorn the end of a freestanding, roll-top bath

A sheltered corner makes the perfect indoor-outdoor space in which to relax in summer

A sheltered corner makes the perfect indoor-outdoor space in which to relax in summer

The large garden with mature trees, lawns and meadows offers many other lovely spots in which to sit

The large garden with mature trees, lawns and meadows offers many other lovely spots in which to sit

The garden has many relaxing places to sit and take in the view

The garden has many relaxing places to sit and take in the view

A view of the lovely grounds

A view of the lovely grounds

The only other major work that has been done is the garden. In the front there is a formal area of box hedging and at the back, a large area of lawn, a lovely natural pond and, the star of the show, Mark’s Koi carp pond.

The only other major work that has been done is the garden. In the front there is a formal area of box hedging and at the back, a large area of lawn, a lovely natural pond and, the star of the show, Mark’s Koi carp pond

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

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