Grand period buildings can not only be a joy to their owners but also, on far too many occasions, a tyranny, dictating not only physical spaces but décor and ultimately even the lifestyle of the families they should be serving – and this could so easily have happened at Highmoor, an imposing Victorian mansion set back from the High Street of its East Kent village. 

In stark colour-contrast to the rest of the house, the drawing room features deep red walls and chunky sofas

In stark colour-contrast to the rest of the house, the drawing room features deep red walls and chunky sofas

The unusual dining chairs are from Blooms in Southborough

The unusual dining chairs are from Blooms in Southborough

In the dining room, the first things to catch the eye are another beautiful white marble fireplace – virtually every room in the house still sports its original marble fireplace – an imposing glass-fronted armoire in French grey and two very effective Georgian mirrored windows.

In the dining room, the first things to catch the eye are another beautiful white marble fireplace – virtually every room in the house still sports its original marble fireplace – an imposing glass-fronted armoire in French grey and two very effective Georgian mirrored windows.

At one end of the kitchen large French doors lead out onto a terrace and down to the lawn

At one end of the kitchen large French doors lead out onto a terrace and down to the lawn

The stairs off the kitchen lead down to the cellar, which doubles as an elegant store for Kenneth’s wine and an intimate dining room for late night supper parties

The stairs off the kitchen lead down to the cellar, which doubles as an elegant store for Kenneth’s wine and an intimate dining room for late night supper parties

The hallway is evidence of Jane’s aim to create a light, bright, calm and contemporary environment

The hallway is evidence of Jane’s aim to create a light, bright, calm and contemporary environment

The stunning staircase turns and climbs up three stories round the huge central well.

The stunning staircase turns and climbs up three stories round the huge central well.

The tranquil master bedroom is painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Elephant’s Breath’

The tranquil master bedroom is painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Elephant’s Breath’

The spacious en suite shower room adjoins the master bedroom

The spacious en suite shower room adjoins the master bedroom

What really makes the guest bathroom truly stunning is, without doubt, the tiling

What really makes the guest bathroom truly stunning is, without doubt, the tiling

The first-floor guest room. At over three-and-a-half metres, it’s the highest room in the house and its height is accentuated by the striking vertical pattern of the black and silver wallpaper

The first-floor guest room. At over three-and-a-half metres, it’s the highest room in the house and its height is accentuated by the striking vertical pattern of the black and silver wallpaper

Henrys room is a Gant-fest complete with stars and stripes bedspread. Lighting is by both downlighters – elegant square chrome as elsewhere in the house – and a great fun pendant which looks like nothing so much as a great ball of candy floss being eaten by glowworms

Henrys room is a Gant-fest complete with stars and stripes bedspread. Lighting is by both downlighters – elegant square chrome as elsewhere in the house – and a great fun pendant which looks like nothing so much as a great ball of candy floss being eaten by glowworms

The attic bedroom is perfect for children’s sleepovers

The attic bedroom is perfect for children’s sleepovers

Being one very lucky teenager, the top floor is almost completely Grace’s domain

Being one very lucky teenager, the top floor is almost completely Grace’s domain

Jane’s pretty office doubles as a space in which to relax and watch TV

Jane’s pretty office doubles as a space in which to relax and watch TV

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

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