Gabby Eagar’s house could be viewed as the stuff of dreams or nightmares, depending upon one’s enthusiasm for a ‘project’. It’s dreamy, because it is a classically proportioned Georgian grange that looks as if it has sprung to life from the pages of a Jane Austen novel.

The kitchen is a vast space, with an enormous inglenook fireplace being the focal point. It’s a working space for a house that would have been run by a team of servants and the bell panel that testifies to this fact still hangs over the doorway to the hall

The kitchen is a vast space, with an enormous inglenook fireplace being the focal point. It’s a working space for a house that would have been run by a team of servants and the bell panel that testifies to this fact still hangs over the doorway to the hall

The hallway has been painted in a warm grey with a charcoal coloured carpet that is also used as a runner on the staircase that twists in classic Georgian style. Under the stairs is an oak and walnut chest of drawers bought from Strand Antiques in Rye

The hallway has been painted in a warm grey with a charcoal coloured carpet that is also used as a runner on the staircase that twists in classic Georgian style. Under the stairs is an oak and walnut chest of drawers bought from Strand Antiques in Rye

In the drawing room the walls have been covered with golden yellow silk that has been hand-painted with exquisitely detailed Chinese birds, trees and flowers. “I saw it in the de Gournay showroom when we lived in London and I used to think, ‘one day, I hope to have a house worthy of it’,” remembers Gabby

In the drawing room the walls have been covered with golden yellow silk that has been hand-painted with exquisitely detailed Chinese birds, trees and flowers. “I saw it in the de Gournay showroom when we lived in London and I used to think, ‘one day, I hope to have a house worthy of it’,” remembers Gabby

Two enormous grey-green painted panelled doors connect the drawing room with the simpler, but equally elegant morning room

Two enormous grey-green painted panelled doors connect the drawing room with the simpler, but equally elegant morning room

The dining room looks rather like the background of a Gustav Klimt painting. “My mother says it’s like being inside a giant chocolate box,” laughs Gabby. “It’s a lovely room to dine in at Christmas, but at the moment the table is being used by the children for ping-pong, so we’ve got the chesterfields in here.”

The dining room looks rather like the background of a Gustav Klimt painting. “My mother says it’s like being inside a giant chocolate box,” laughs Gabby. “It’s a lovely room to dine in at Christmas, but at the moment the table is being used by the children for ping-pong, so we’ve got the chesterfields in here.”

Although the house is very obviously Georgian, parts of a much older building are still visible. This is especially apparent in the pool room where the walls are panelled with oak that over the centuries has turned almost black. The intricate patterns carved into it look Jacobean and there are beautiful 17th century Delft tiles in the fireplace that would seem to support this, but some parts may even be Tudor

Although the house is very obviously Georgian, parts of a much older building are still visible. This is especially apparent in the pool room where the walls are panelled with oak that over the centuries has turned almost black. The intricate patterns carved into it look Jacobean and there are beautiful 17th century Delft tiles in the fireplace that would seem to support this, but some parts may even be Tudor

A spacious guest room has a striped and swagged wallpaper. A pair of French chairs also stand either side of the iron fireplace: “My friend said they weren’t so much shabby chic as s***** shack,” says Gabby. “We haven’t changed any of the wallpapers on this floor and I think they’ve been here since the 1940s or 50s.”

A spacious guest room has a striped and swagged wallpaper. A pair of French chairs also stand either side of the iron fireplace: “My friend said they weren’t so much shabby chic as s***** shack,” says Gabby. “We haven’t changed any of the wallpapers on this floor and I think they’ve been here since the 1940s or 50s.”

A door from Gabby and Russell’s bedroom leads to a dressing room with a glass and metal table where Gabby keeps her perfume bottles and small accessories

A door from Gabby and Russell’s bedroom leads to a dressing room with a glass and metal table where Gabby keeps her perfume bottles and small accessories

The older girls’ rooms are up another flight of stairs in the eaves of the house and decorated in cheerful shades of pink, blue or orange

The older girls’ rooms are up another flight of stairs in the eaves of the house and decorated in cheerful shades of pink, blue or orange

The younger children’s bedrooms and bathrooms are grouped together and close to the panelled playroom

The younger children’s bedrooms and bathrooms are grouped together and close to the panelled playroom

“Obviously, the garden has been here for a long time, so it’s been good to watch and wait to see what comes up each season,” says Gabby

“Obviously, the garden has been here for a long time, so it’s been good to watch and wait to see what comes up each season,” says Gabby

The walled garden and fields beyond are wonderfully private and make an enviable space for entertaining

The walled garden and fields beyond are wonderfully private and make an enviable space for entertaining

Across the lawn stands a brick summerhouse built in the 1950s

Across the lawn stands a brick summerhouse built in the 1950s

To the rear of the house stands the old glasshouse and vine house. The glasshouse has an old lead water tank and shelves around the walls that still have Victorian terracotta pots neatly stacked in anticipation of great industry. In the centre of the building is a deep, stone-edged bed for growing tender and exotic plants and small trees

To the rear of the house stands the old glasshouse and vine house. The glasshouse has an old lead water tank and shelves around the walls that still have Victorian terracotta pots neatly stacked in anticipation of great industry. In the centre of the building is a deep, stone-edged bed for growing tender and exotic plants and small trees

A beautiful magnolia tree stands proudly in the centre of the garden

A beautiful magnolia tree stands proudly in the centre of the garden

The front of the house is in the solid, sober style of ‘farmer’ George III. The beauty of its sash windows and the door with its simple fanlight above lies almost solely in the pleasing proportions of the architecture rather than any decoration

The front of the house is in the solid, sober style of ‘farmer’ George III. The beauty of its sash windows and the door with its simple fanlight above lies almost solely in the pleasing proportions of the architecture rather than any decoration

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

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