Less,” famously said architect Mies van der Rohe, “is more.” Arithmetical nonsense, perhaps, or an architectural truth that becomes self-evident when you see, for the first time, either his sublime 1929 Barcelona Pavilion or The Farnsworth House, a retreat he built for a client on their country estate in Illinois. Or, in fact, when you see Heather and Pete Cernis’ Sussex home, The Walled Garden.

In the kitchen all the traditional kitchen appliances are neatly hidden within two white islands with Wilsonart work surfaces. The American white oak dining table is Parallel by De La Espada, surrounded by Rohe-designed Brno cantilevered white leather and steel dining chairs

In the kitchen all the traditional kitchen appliances are neatly hidden within two white islands with Wilsonart work surfaces. The American white oak dining table is Parallel by De La Espada, surrounded by Rohe-designed Brno cantilevered white leather and steel dining chairs

All that is on show on the kitchen work surfaces is a ceramic hob and a brushed steel tubular extractor hood

All that is on show on the kitchen work surfaces is a ceramic hob and a brushed steel tubular extractor hood

...all the paraphernalia of traditional living had to go, right down to the last stick of furniture. “Creating space is more important to me than filling space with objects. We have no paintings of any sort on the walls of the main part of the house, but why would we need them? We’re literally surrounded by sunrises and sunsets, the night skies and the changing seasons...”

...all the paraphernalia of traditional living had to go, right down to the last stick of furniture. “Creating space is more important to me than filling space with objects. We have no paintings of any sort on the walls of the main part of the house, but why would we need them? We’re literally surrounded by sunrises and sunsets, the night skies and the changing seasons...”

Heather’s music room is home to her Yamaha digital grand piano

Heather’s music room is home to her Yamaha digital grand piano

A glazed passageway acts as the spine of the building and separates the contemporary glass part of the building from the original potting sheds

A glazed passageway acts as the spine of the building and separates the contemporary glass part of the building from the original potting sheds

The end bedroom’s two exterior glass walls look out over the lovely terraced garden

The end bedroom’s two exterior glass walls look out over the lovely terraced garden

Full height glass doors slide open to allow access onto the terrace in the second bedroom

Full height glass doors slide open to allow access onto the terrace in the second bedroom

A cool blue-tinged light floods through the frosted glass into the bedrooms’ en suites from the passageway that spans the rear of the building

A cool blue-tinged light floods through the frosted glass into the bedrooms’ en suites from the passageway that spans the rear of the building

In one of the back bedrooms is a lovely Victorian wardrobe. Two original and weathered marble urns are converted into lamps. Over the bed is a beautiful, gentle abstract landscape – one of Pete’s own

In one of the back bedrooms is a lovely Victorian wardrobe. Two original and weathered marble urns are converted into lamps. Over the bed is a beautiful, gentle abstract landscape – one of Pete’s own

The couple often use the back bedrooms in the winter months

The couple often use the back bedrooms in the winter months

The snug is an ‘L’ of comfortable light grey sofas over which hangs a collection of black and white limited edition prints by Bill Jacklin

The snug is an ‘L’ of comfortable light grey sofas over which hangs a collection of black and white limited edition prints by Bill Jacklin

Contrary to appearances, the building is incredibly warm. The cavity in ‘e’ glass walls is filled with argon helping to giving the house an energy efficiency rating of 96

Contrary to appearances, the building is incredibly warm. The cavity in ‘e’ glass walls is filled with argon helping give the house an energy efficiency rating of 96

A driftwood sculpture of a group of egrets by Essex artist Guy Taplin stands on a long distressed five-drawer table from a Liverpool convent in the hallway

A driftwood sculpture of a group of egrets by Essex artist Guy Taplin stands on a long distressed five-drawer table from a Liverpool convent in the hallway

Pete’s studio is a peaceful retreat. Works in progress sit on easels at one end and several finished works line the walls

Pete’s studio is a peaceful retreat. Works in progress sit on easels at one end and several finished works line the walls

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

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