After coming to Goudhurst as a hop picker at 19, Suzanne Stobbs knew she’d love to return one day to live in the village. Now Suzanne and her husband Tim have found their perfect family home in an idyllic position in the heart of Goudhurst.

Suzanne and her family had lived in their previous house for twenty-one years, so moving was quite a wrench for some members of the family. “I hadn’t realised quite how much it meant to my son Alexander especially to leave the old house – but he does like the fact that there’s room for two pianos here. And we’re so close to the church where Alexander regularly plays the organ,” she says

Suzanne and her family had lived in their previous house for twenty-one years, so moving was quite a wrench for some members of the family. “I hadn’t realised quite how much it meant to my son Alexander especially to leave the old house – but he does like the fact that there’s room for two pianos here. And we’re so close to the church where Alexander regularly plays the organ,” she says

A small rug in the sitting room conceals the entrance to the cellar that could have been used to store smugglers’ ‘booty’

A small rug in the sitting room conceals the entrance to the cellar that could have been used to store smugglers’ ‘booty’

A pale Italian marble floor replaces more traditional floorboards in much of the ground floor

A pale Italian marble floor replaces more traditional floorboards in much of the ground floor

Suzanne has lined one of two staircases with baskets of succulents, cacti and geraniums

Suzanne has lined one of two staircases with baskets of succulents, cacti and geraniums

The master bedroom with its heirloom quilt made by Suzanne for her mother’s 70th birthday

The master bedroom with its heirloom quilt made by Suzanne for her mother’s 70th birthday

Alexander’s room

Alexander’s room

Suzanne and Tim’s daughter’s room is a sweet, light-filled space

Suzanne and Tim’s daughter’s room is a sweet, light-filled space

Built as three small cottages, the house dates from the seventeenth century and retains many original features

Built as three small cottages, the house dates from the seventeenth century and retains many original features

Downstairs there’s a giant table containing a large number of Suzanne’s paintings. “I have to spread them all out here like this,” she says, “because I work on so many at once, and I paint in oils in a very textured way, using many layers that I apply quite thickly. It takes an age to dry, so laying them out like this works well.”

Downstairs there’s a giant table containing a large number of Suzanne’s paintings. “I have to spread them all out here like this,” she says, “because I work on so many at once, and I paint in oils in a very textured way, using many layers that I apply quite thickly. It takes an age to dry, so laying them out like this works well.”

The annexe that houses Suzanne’s studio is at right angles to the main house, making the small outdoor space into a courtyard garden

The annexe that houses Suzanne’s studio is at right angles to the main house, making the small outdoor space into a courtyard garden

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming & Helen Barton

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