“I was on Britain’s Best Dish!” says Alastair Fairley with a grin, as he shows me into his kitchen. “I cooked pear and frangipane tart with homemade vanilla ice cream, and John Burton-Race said my ice cream was the best of the series! Actually, I’m not sure how I ended up doing that. I watched Come Dine with Me with some friends one evening when we got a bit tipsy and they insisted that I should apply.

The sitting room is painted a rich, British red with a gold picture rail. Alastair’s love of travel is evident throughout the room, from the oriental rug on the floor to the kilim-style printed fabric that covers the armchair

The sitting room is painted a rich, British red with a gold picture rail. Alastair’s love of travel is evident throughout the room, from the oriental rug on the floor to the kilim-style printed fabric that covers the armchair

Alastair’s love of travel is evident throughout the sitting room, from the oriental rug on the floor to the kilim-style printed fabric that covers the armchair

Alastair’s love of travel is evident throughout the sitting room, from the oriental rug on the floor to the kilim-style printed fabric that covers the armchair

Alastair found the Gothic windows in the conservatory at an architectural salvage yard and designed the room around them

Alastair found the Gothic windows in the conservatory at an architectural salvage yard and designed the room around them

“I love cooking, especially Mediterranean food, and I love to experiment, but my real motivation is to share what I cook with friends,” says Alastair

“I love cooking, especially Mediterranean food, and I love to experiment, but my real motivation is to share what I cook with friends,” says Alastair

The kitchen, being at the front of the house is situated below ground with a lightwell rather than a view. To compensate for this, Alastair planted ferns in the base and his friend Linda King painted a mural on the wall behind

The kitchen, being at the front of the house is situated below ground with a lightwell rather than a view. To compensate for this, Alastair planted ferns in the base and his friend Linda King painted a mural on the wall behind

A visitor to Alastair’s window garden

A visitor to Alastair’s window garden

In the study, Alastair has constructed his own bespoke desks and bookshelves and the dark blue walls are covered in photographs from America’s space missions of the 1960s and 70s

In the study, Alastair has constructed his own bespoke desks and bookshelves and the dark blue walls are covered in photographs from America’s space missions of the 1960s and 70s

“It was the golden age of space exploration, when the US and USSR were in fierce competition with one another. My father, Peter Fairley, was the Science Editor at ITN. He was known as ‘the Face of Space’ and had unique access to NASA and the Apollo space programme. As a child I thought it was pretty cool, but I had no idea until quite recently that he had accumulated so much material.”

“It was the golden age of space exploration, when the US and USSR were in fierce competition with one another. My father, Peter Fairley, was the Science Editor at ITN. He was known as ‘the Face of Space’ and had unique access to NASA and the Apollo space programme. As a child I thought it was pretty cool, but I had no idea until quite recently that he had accumulated so much material.”

The master bedroom. Above the bed is a painting by the Grey Organisation, an artists’ collective that was active in London in the 80s

The master bedroom. Above the bed is a painting by the Grey Organisation, an artists’ collective that was active in London in the 80s

The guest bedroom is painted a strong forget-me-not blue. A low, cane-backed chair is upholstered with a cobalt blue and lime green Designers Guild fabric, the reverse colourway of the curtains, and there are more bright green accents around the room

The guest bedroom is painted a strong forget-me-not blue. A low, cane-backed chair is upholstered with a cobalt blue and lime green Designers Guild fabric, the reverse colourway of the curtains, and there are more bright green accents around the room

The bathroom features a driftwood mirror that Alastair made, more examples of the model lighthouses that he loves and keeps all over the house and Paula Yates’ loo seat!

The bathroom features a driftwood mirror that Alastair made, more examples of the model lighthouses that he loves and keeps all over the house and Paula Yates’ loo seat!

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

17th Century Sandstone Farmhouse

Stella Hayes initially fell in love with the property's glorious garden. She has gone on to create a beautiful home.

60s Themed Seaside Holiday Home

I’m sure we’ve all thought about buying a house by the sea – perhaps after an idyllic holiday, or a bracing walk, even just a drive along the coast. On the morning we visit James Rourke’s house, as the sullen...

A Butterfly Unfurled

When Sally Harrington opens the huge front door of her Kentish weatherboard home I assume that the 1950s bungalow that once stood here was demolished to make way for the new house. “No,” she says, “it’s still in here somewhere,...