Generally, the mention of an old mill house conjures up idyllic pastoral images of ancient millstones grinding corn trundled to the doors in brimming cartloads from surrounding golden fields – a sort of Constable-Hovis hybrid seasoned with a little Vaughan Williams. What it does not evoke is part of a former Victorian industrial complex set in the middle of a gunnery range. 

The light oak floor of the kitchen extends uniformly through the house and contributes, along with the white walls, to the overall feel of light and space. On the opposite wall to the kitchen, at the other end of the kitchen-dining space, is a fun, silver leaf Union Jack

The light oak floor of the kitchen extends uniformly through the house and contributes, along with the white walls, to the overall feel of light and space. On the opposite wall to the kitchen, at the other end of the kitchen-dining space, is a fun, silver leaf Union Jack

Over the woodburner in the sitting room is another of Sara’s large canvases, a single heart in encaustic. “I love the medium because it’s tricky to work with and you never quite know what you’re going to get.”

Over the woodburner in the sitting room is another of Sara’s large canvases, a single heart in encaustic. “I love the medium because it’s tricky to work with and you never quite know what you’re going to get.”

Opposite the sitting room is the music room-cum-playroom where pride of place goes to an upright piano that Sara and Peter have painted white

Opposite the sitting room is the music room-cum-playroom where pride of place goes to an upright piano that Sara and Peter have painted white

“It’s interesting to mix old exterior and contemporary interior – visitors are always surprised as they walk in from the old into the new”

“It’s interesting to mix old exterior and contemporary interior – visitors are always surprised as they walk in from the old into the new”

The family bathroom leads off the master bedroom. With its modern freestanding bath, the bathroom is the perfect showcase for a large canvas of an ammonite – another of Sara’s favourite themes

The family bathroom leads off the master bedroom. With its modern freestanding bath, the bathroom is the perfect showcase for a large canvas of an ammonite – another of Sara’s favourite themes

The couple came down from London just over ten years ago, rented the stables next door and then, when the owners of the house decided to sell, the two couples exchanged homes

The couple came down from London just over ten years ago, rented the stables next door and then, when the owners of the house decided to sell, the two couples exchanged homes

In the pretty guestroom is a fascinating old French, zinc-lined fridge which now serves as a small cupboard

In the pretty guestroom is a fascinating old French, zinc-lined fridge which now serves as a small cupboard

Another of Sara’s pieces takes pride of place in her son’s bedroom

Another of Sara’s pieces takes pride of place in her son’s bedroom

An eclectic mix of books has found its home on the landing

An eclectic mix of books has found its home on the landing

“We thought how romantic to live next to an old mill,” says Sara. “However, we discovered that it wasn’t quite that sort of mill. It was a gunpowder mill and the surround land was the testing ground for its produce.”

“We thought how romantic to live next to an old mill,” says Sara. “However, we discovered that it wasn’t quite that sort of mill. It was a gunpowder mill and the surround land was the testing ground for its produce.”

Outside in a neighbouring field and adjoining a working barn is Sara’s studio

Outside in a neighbouring field and adjoining a working barn is Sara’s studio

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

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