Mandy and Phil Shaw have lived in their East Sussex home for 26 years and in that time, they have transformed it from a fairly anonymous late Victorian semi-detached villa into a space that is the ultimate expression of them both and their family.

The kitchen is a riot of red, white and blue, with Union Jack cushions scattered about on the sofa and armchair. The table is covered in a red and white spotted oilcloth and stands in the glass ceilinged breakfast/dining room that the couple built onto the back of the house

The kitchen is a riot of red, white and blue, with Union Jack cushions scattered about on the sofa and armchair. The table is covered in a red and white spotted oilcloth and stands in the glass ceilinged breakfast/dining room that the couple built onto the back of the house

The kitchen is papered with Harlequin’s Brighton design which features pen and ink drawings of Brighton houses, both Regency and modern, accentuated with splashes of red and blue.

The kitchen is papered with Harlequin’s Brighton design which features pen and ink drawings of Brighton houses, both Regency and modern, accentuated with splashes of red and blue.

In the corner, by the door to the garden, stands a Rock-Ola Princess Deluxe jukebox. “We stock it up with songs for Christmas and choose special ones for birthdays too,” says Mandy

In the corner, by the door to the garden, stands a Rock-Ola Princess Deluxe jukebox. “We stock it up with songs for Christmas and choose special ones for birthdays too,” says Mandy

The study, painted in two shades of muted grey; the room has a serene feel, with armchairs covered with vintage linen and Mandy’s embroidered cushions and blankets.

The study, painted in two shades of muted grey; the room has a serene feel, with armchairs covered with vintage linen and Mandy’s embroidered cushions and blankets.

The stairs are covered with a smart red and cream Roger Oates’ runner

The stairs are covered with a smart red and cream Roger Oates’ runner

In Mandy and Phil’s room the ornate brass bed was payment for another of Phil’s commissions and is covered with an English ‘wholecloth’. Mandy made the curtains from a bright Laura Ashley print, but didn’t have quite enough fabric, so she lined and edged them with a red and white spot and added frilled pelmets

In Mandy and Phil’s room the ornate brass bed was payment for another of Phil’s commissions and is covered with an English ‘wholecloth’. Mandy made the curtains from a bright Laura Ashley print, but didn’t have quite enough fabric, so she lined and edged them with a red and white spot and added frilled pelmets

A pink-painted Lloyd loom chair stands in one corner of the room and a striped IKEA rug stretches out across the floor

A pink-painted Lloyd loom chair stands in one corner of the room and a striped IKEA rug stretches out across the floor

Along the bottom of the bed is a wedding ring quilt, in the American ‘piecing’ style

Along the bottom of the bed is a wedding ring quilt, in the American ‘piecing’ style

Daughter Harriet’s bedroom holds a double bed covered with vintage and homemade quilts. There is a child-sized Welsh dresser, one of four that Phil made for all the children

Daughter Harriet’s bedroom holds a double bed covered with vintage and homemade quilts. There is a child-sized Welsh dresser, one of four that Phil made for all the children

The family bathroom is decorated with tiny star patterned wallpaper and duck egg blue painted matchboard panels. Striped linen blinds hang at the windows and a reclaimed roll-top bath stands on dark stained floorboards

The family bathroom is decorated with tiny star patterned wallpaper and duck egg blue painted matchboard panels. Striped linen blinds hang at the windows and a reclaimed roll-top bath stands on dark stained floorboards

On the landing, there are more quilts hanging on the walls and over the banister

On the landing, there are more quilts hanging on the walls and over the banister

Union Jack bunting hangs above the open French doors to the garden. Just in front of the French doors stands a handsome dapple-grey rocking horse. “Phil made that for the children and put a time capsule in it, and he made the hobby horse, the wooden Noah’s Ark and the train on the shelf above too,” says Mandy

Union Jack bunting hangs above the open French doors to the garden. Just in front of the French doors stands a handsome dapple-grey rocking horse. “Phil made that for the children and put a time capsule in it, and he made the hobby horse, the wooden Noah’s Ark and the train on the shelf above too,” says Mandy

At the bottom of the garden we climb the stairs to Mandy’s studio. Almost every patch of wall is covered in shelving that seems to be groaning under the weight of books, fabrics, patterns, cotton reels, completed and unfinished quilts, soft toys and baskets of ribbons and trimmings

At the bottom of the garden we climb the stairs to Mandy’s studio. Almost every patch of wall is covered in shelving that seems to be groaning under the weight of books, fabrics, patterns, cotton reels, completed and unfinished quilts, soft toys and baskets of ribbons and trimmings

The garden features some of Mandy’s father’s woodcarvings and is home to an unruly trio of chickens “They’re lovely to have around most of the time, and very useful for their eggs as I make lots of cakes too, but I bought some gooseberry bushes for my raised beds the other day, and before I could even plant them in the soil, the chickens had eaten them,” says Mandy

The garden features some of Mandy’s father’s woodcarvings and is home to an unruly trio of chickens “They’re lovely to have around most of the time, and very useful for their eggs as I make lots of cakes too, but I bought some gooseberry bushes for my raised beds the other day, and before I could even plant them in the soil, the chickens had eaten them,” says Mandy

The ground floor below Mandy’s studio is home to carpenter Phil’s weatherboarded workshop

The ground floor below Mandy’s studio is home to carpenter Phil’s weatherboarded workshop

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

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