Any illusion you might have that you are visiting a traditional Kent family household is neatly dispelled at the gates. There, dozing in the shade amid wild flowers and ornamental rhubarb is a 1960s Morris Minor. Not that unusual, you might think. And it wouldn’t be, were it not for the fact that this particular Morris Minor is pebble-dashed. 

Mel and Lizzie’s kitchen was the final area to be tackled in the main house, née cowshed. One wall is covered with a framed series of 42 black and white shots of Lizzie. “Usually, only one or two shots are chosen from a shoot but in this case I thought it would interesting to have them all,” Mel says

Mel and Lizzie’s kitchen was the final area to be tackled in the main house, née cowshed. One wall is covered with a framed series of 42 black and white shots of Lizzie. “Usually, only one or two shots are chosen from a shoot but in this case I thought it would interesting to have them all,” Mel says

The spur for the kitchen renovation was the size of the original Aga – and appetites of Mel and Lizzie’s six children

The spur for the kitchen renovation was the size of the original Aga – and appetites of Mel and Lizzie’s six children

The beautifully ordered storage shelves

The beautifully ordered storage shelves

Once every available space on the walls of the high-raftered sitting room was covered with Mel’s work, but a recent re-think has banished them to the loft. On one wall, Mel and Lizzie have framed a collection of their children’s old toothbrushes which adds a fun splash of colour

Once every available space on the walls of the high-raftered sitting room was covered with Mel’s work, but a recent re-think has banished them to the loft. On one wall, Mel and Lizzie have framed a collection of their children’s old toothbrushes which adds a fun splash of colour

Carefully-chosen favourite family photos stand high on the wall opposite the fireplace. In pride of place, however, is not a photograph but Lizzie’s father’s cap respectfully framed

Carefully-chosen favourite family photos stand high on the wall opposite the fireplace. In pride of place, however, is not a photograph but Lizzie’s father’s cap respectfully framed

A huge grape-vine tumbles over virtually the whole house. It rambles, too, over the roof of the conservatory that, with its large rough mahogany table, makes a perfect dining room.

A huge grape-vine tumbles over virtually the whole house. It rambles, too, over the roof of the conservatory that, with its large rough mahogany table, makes a perfect dining room.

The small passage that connects the yurt to the conservatory is clad in reclaimed timber from Symonds Salvage in Bethersden

The small passage that connects the yurt to the conservatory is clad in reclaimed timber from Symonds Salvage in Bethersden

Mel and Lizzie’s pièce de résistance is a beautiful yurt that serves as their own wonderful bedroom. A second entrance to Mel and Lizzie’s yurt opens onto the garden

Mel and Lizzie’s pièce de résistance is a beautiful yurt that serves as their own wonderful bedroom. A second entrance to Mel and Lizzie’s yurt opens onto the garden

Mel’s workplace is part of the eclectic collection of buildings that comprise his Pluckley home

Mel’s workplace is part of the eclectic collection of buildings that comprise his Pluckley home

Mel’s clients receive a warm welcome in the building that houses the studio. The walls of the dressing and sitting areas are painted rich reds and blues in contrast to the pure white of the workspace

Mel’s clients receive a warm welcome in the building that houses the studio. The walls of the dressing and sitting areas are painted rich reds and blues in contrast to the pure white of the workspace

Mel’s photographic studio. Here, and in the garden, he calculates that he has now photographed some 56,000 parents, grandparents and children plus a bewildering menagerie of family pets

Mel’s photographic studio. Here, and in the garden, he calculates that he has now photographed some 56,000 parents, grandparents and children plus a bewildering menagerie of family pets

Clustered around the family home are an office, gallery, framing building, Lizzie’s father’s former beach hut and a glory hole known universally as the Spider Shed

Clustered around the family home are an office, gallery, framing building, Lizzie’s father’s former beach hut and a building known universally as the Spider Shed

Mel and Lizzie’s garden provides many peaceful places in which to relax

Mel and Lizzie’s garden provides many peaceful places in which to relax

A generously sized hammock is slung under a superb tree-house, the leafy roof of which is provided by the tree itself

A generously sized hammock is slung under a superb tree-house, the leafy roof of which is provided by the tree itself

Mel made the grass sofa when he found he had some extra turf left over from an area of lawn he had dug out to create his fire pit

Mel made the grass sofa when he found he had some extra turf left over from an area of lawn he had dug out to create his fire pit

In the vegetable plot different vegetables jostle in the same beds. In one, French beans stand shoulder to shoulder with Jerusalem artichokes, perpetual spinach and rhubarb

In the vegetable plot different vegetables jostle in the same beds. In one, French beans stand shoulder to shoulder with Jerusalem artichokes, perpetual spinach and rhubarb

Lizzie’s favourite spring haunt, the polytunnel, can be found across the stream, brimming with salad crops and yet more flowers Left: The crimson former beach hut, that belonged to Lizzie’s father, adds a pleasing pop of colour amongst the garden foliage

Lizzie’s favourite spring haunt, the polytunnel, can be found across the stream, brimming with salad crops and yet more flowers Left: The crimson former beach hut, that belonged to Lizzie’s father, adds a pleasing pop of colour amongst the garden foliage

Dozing in the shade amid wild flowers and ornamental rhubarb is a 1960s Morris Minor, pebble-dashed with gravel left over from resurfacing the drive

Dozing in the shade amid wild flowers and ornamental rhubarb is a 1960s Morris Minor, pebble-dashed with gravel left over from resurfacing the drive

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

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