Built in 1704 by the current owner’s ancestor, Sir Brook Bridges, Goodnestone is a truly lovely Palladian country house enjoying that uniquely Georgian combination of welcome, warmth and elegance. Jane Austen was a regular visitor and wrote of the ‘great pleasure’ the house and grounds gave her. Her brother, Edward, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Brook’s grandson, in the local parish church in 1791 and there seems little doubt that Jane gathered considerable material during her many visits for Pride and Prejudice, which she began in 1796.

The drawing room walls are clad in de Gournay silk. The painting over the mantlepiece is of Jane Austen’s favourite niece Fanny Bridges. The sofas are from sofa.com

The drawing room walls are clad in de Gournay silk. The painting over the mantlepiece is of Jane Austen’s favourite niece Fanny Bridges. The sofas are from sofa.com

The outer hall at the house entrance. The marble fireplace was added in the Victorian era. The ginger jar was found at Ardingly

The outer hall at the house entrance. The marble fireplace was added in the Victorian era. The ginger jar was found at Ardingly

Above all, the designers would have one guiding principle: at the end of what was going to be a very long day, Goodnestone must still be a stately home – the FitzWalter family home

Above all, the designers would have one guiding principle: at the end of what was going to be a very long day, Goodnestone must still be a stately home – the FitzWalter family home

The shaker-style units and island in the kitchen were custom-built and painted in Pigeon by Farrow & Ball by the builders- BW May. The copper pans were from Ardingly

The shaker-style units and island in the kitchen were custom-built and painted in Pigeon by Farrow & Ball by the builders- BW May. The copper pans were from Ardingly

The breakfast room is a couple of steps up and through bronze and glass doors designed by Marcus and Francesca. The panes match exactly the panes in the Georgian sash windows

The breakfast room is a couple of steps up and through bronze and glass doors designed by Marcus and Francesca. The panes match exactly the panes in the Georgian sash windows

Light pours into the breakfast room through two floor-to-ceiling windows. The oval table was designed by Marcus and Francesca and made to order by the project’s main contractors, BW May. The stone surround was custom made based on a fireplace in the cellar, with the FitzWalter coat of arms added.The painting over it is by Luke Hannam from McCully & Crane Art, Rye. Marcus found the wonderful collection of leaf pressings in the attic

Light pours into the breakfast room through two floor-to-ceiling windows. The oval table was designed by Marcus and Francesca and made to order by the project’s main contractors, BW May. The stone surround was custom made based on a fireplace in the cellar, with the FitzWalter coat of arms added.The painting over it is by Luke Hannam from McCully & Crane Art, Rye. Marcus found the wonderful collection of leaf pressings in the attic

Between the dining room and the drawing room is the Oval Hall, the original entrance of the house with exquisite painted panels in the Georgian neo-classical style

Between the dining room and the drawing room is the Oval Hall, the original entrance of the house with exquisite painted panels in the Georgian neo-classical style

Julian’s mother’s piano sits at the bottom of the glorious main staircase, which is lined with ancestral portraits. Lord and Lady FitzWalter found the magnificent chandelier with multi-coloured drops in a ‘shed’ in Essex

Julian’s mother’s piano sits at the bottom of the glorious main staircase, which is lined with ancestral portraits. Lord and Lady FitzWalter found the magnificent chandelier with multi-coloured drops in a ‘shed’ in Essex

The portrait and clock are family pieces. The armchair is covered in Ashwell Sea Storm, by GP & J Baker

The portrait and clock are family pieces. The armchair is covered in Ashwell Sea Storm, by GP & J Baker

The largest of the twelve bedrooms, the FitzWalter Suite is decorated with Colefax and Fowler white rose paper. The built-in wardrobes are hidden behind wallpapered doors. Light pours in from three full-height windows with glorious views over the grounds. Francesca designed the corona over the bed in Colefax and Fowler silk

The largest of the twelve bedrooms, the FitzWalter Suite is decorated with Colefax and Fowler white rose paper. The built-in wardrobes are hidden behind wallpapered doors. Light pours in from three full-height windows with glorious views over the grounds. Francesca designed the corona over the bed in Colefax and Fowler silk

The cushions on the bed in Effie’s Room are covered in a GP & J Baker fabric. The painting was found at an antiques fair

The cushions on the bed in Effie’s Room are covered in a GP & J Baker fabric. The painting was found at an antiques fair

The Pink Room is papered with Lewis & Wood, Indienne

The Pink Room is papered with Lewis & Wood, Indienne

The wall sconces, portrait, green glass lamp and console table are all Ardingly finds

The wall sconces, portrait, green glass lamp and console table are all Ardingly finds. The portrait is of Jane Austen’s favourite niece, Fanny Bridges

The portrait is of Jane Austen’s favourite niece, Fanny bridges. The Staffordshire figures are family owned

The Staffordshire figures are family owned

The walls of Henry’s Room are painted in Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball. The sunburst mirror is from Barnstar, Rye

The walls of Henry’s Room are painted in Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball. The sunburst mirror is from Barnstar, Rye

The teal tiles are from Topps Tiles

The teal tiles are from Topps Tiles

Francesca and Marcus found the pictures in the stairway in the attic. The 1920s chair, with its original upholstery, was found at Ardingly

Francesca and Marcus found the pictures in the stairway in the attic. The 1920s chair, with its original upholstery, was found at Ardingly

The chaise longue in George’s Room is covered in turquoise velvet by Clarke & Clarke and the sheepskin on the floor next to it is from Hunter Jones, Rye

The chaise longue in George’s Room is covered in turquoise velvet by Clarke & Clarke and the sheepskin on the floor next to it is from Hunter Jones, Rye

The headboard in Robert’s Room is William Morris by Sanderson. The end table is a family piece and the Victorian mirror is from Ardingly

The headboard in Robert’s Room is William Morris by Sanderson. The end table is a family piece and the Victorian mirror is from Ardingly

The chairs in the Games Room were upholstered by Richard Harris in Jane Churchill velvet. The cabinet to the left is a family piece. The brass stags on the chimneypiece are from Cinque Ports Antiques in Rye. The white table lamps are from Woodcocks of Tenterden. The portrait was found in the attic. The mirror was found at Ardingly

The chairs in the Games Room were upholstered by Richard Harris in Jane Churchill velvet. The cabinet to the left is a family piece. The brass stags on the chimneypiece are from Cinque Ports Antiques in Rye. The white table lamps are from Woodcocks of Tenterden. The portrait was found in the attic. The mirror was found at Ardingly

he bedside lamp in Francis’s Room is from Oka. The painting over the bed is from Ardingly

he bedside lamp in Francis’s Room is from Oka. The painting over the bed is from Ardingly

The leather club chair and the dahlia painting in Francis’s bedroom were both found at Ardingly. The chest of drawers is a family piece. The plaid curtain fabric is by Colefax and Fowler

The leather club chair and the dahlia painting in Francis’s bedroom were both found at Ardingly. The chest of drawers is a family piece. The plaid curtain fabric is by Colefax and Fowler

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Helen Barton

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