Artist Karen Birchwood has turned her own living space into a gallery – the ideal place for prospective buyers of her paintings to visualise the artworks in a home setting.

TEST Hints of temples and flashes of gold appear in Karen’s characteristically pared back, dreamy canvases

Hints of temples and flashes of gold appear in Karen’s characteristically pared back, dreamy canvases

TEST Memory and a response to the experiences of a place is a key part of Karen’s paintings

Memory and a response to the experiences of a place is a key part of Karen’s paintings

TEST Karen’s studio is a tranquil space, surrounded by garden. “It’s quite important to have the studio away from the house,” she says, “as I come away from the house and the domestic chores.”

Karen’s studio is a tranquil space, surrounded by garden. “It’s quite important to have the studio away from the house,” she says, “as I come away from the house and the domestic chores.”

TEST Memories shift and swirl in our minds, settling for an instant and then moving on. Karen catches these moments in her work, creating dreamy memory-scapes of remembered views

Memories shift and swirl in our minds, settling for an instant and then moving on. Karen catches these moments in her work, creating dreamy memory-scapes of remembered views

TEST At the top of the house is Karen’s office space and a workroom

At the top of the house is Karen’s office space and a workroom

TEST We head upstairs and a pale blue light washes down, bringing an uplifting and serene feeling to the climb, as if we are heading into a coastal sky

We head upstairs and a pale blue light washes down, bringing an uplifting and serene feeling to the climb, as if we are heading into a coastal sky

TEST Daughter Gabby has ditched the fucshia pink walls in favour of a soft mint green

Daughter Gabby has ditched the fucshia pink walls in favour of a soft mint green

TEST All the bedrooms are decorated in quiet ocean shades

All the bedrooms are decorated in quiet ocean shades

TEST In the master bedroom, carefully arranged collections of treasures remind Karen of her travels and of loved people

In the master bedroom, carefully arranged collections of treasures remind Karen of her travels and of loved people

TEST The fireplace in the master bedroom

The fireplace in the master bedroom

TEST “All these little things are just objects that I love,” she says. “I love little dolls.” The two latest are puppets brought back from a recent trip to India

“All these little things are just objects that I love,” she says

TEST The dressing table was from her grandmother and was originally a writing desk

The dressing table was from her grandmother and was originally a writing desk

TEST The cool grey of Karen’s son’s room is broken up with framed photographs and prints and splashes of colour from his mother’s paintings

The cool grey of Karen’s son’s room is broken up with framed photographs and prints and splashes of colour from his mother’s paintings

TEST “A lot of my work is memory based; I’m trying to create an impression of the view, a remembrance of the light and the landscape, the way the wind moved so that the paintings take on a dreamy wistful feel.”

“A lot of my work is memory based; I’m trying to create an impression of the view, a remembrance of the light and the landscape, the way the wind moved so that the paintings take on a dreamy wistful feel.”

TEST Karen and David have completely transformed their home and surroundings

Karen and David have completely transformed their home and surroundings

TEST The bathroom features a soft, sea coloured scheme with shells and beach finds arranged on shelves and windowsills. The loo is partitioned away from the bath area, making it separate, but still part of the room

The loo is partitioned away from the bath area, making it separate, but still part of the room

TEST The bathroom features a soft, sea coloured scheme with shells and beach finds arranged on shelves and windowsills. The loo is partitioned away from the bath area, making it separate, but still part of the room

The bathroom features a soft, sea coloured scheme with shells and beach finds arranged on shelves and windowsills

TEST A corner of the bright, airy and relaxing bathroom

A corner of the bright, airy and relaxing bathroom

TEST The smallest room downstairs is the room they call the snug

The smallest room downstairs is the room they call the snug

TEST “The place that explains my work best is my home. My art reflects my home and my home reflects my art,” she says succinctly

“The place that explains my work best is my home. My art reflects my home and my home reflects my art,” she says succinctly

TEST On one side of the snug sits a sixties sideboard that the couple found in a skip back in Harrow

On one side of the snug sits a sixties sideboard that the couple found in a skip back in Harrow

TEST Karen’s new kitchen has opened up the whole house, making the space much more useable for the family. Ceramics by Kate Schuricht are mixed with other objects on a shelf above the sink

Karen’s new kitchen has opened up the whole house, making the space much more useable for the family

TEST Glass dishes, cast from riverbeds by Max Jacquard, are on the dining table.

Glass dishes, cast from riverbeds by Max Jacquard, are on the dining table

TEST Karen’s new kitchen has opened up the whole house, making the space much more useable for the family. Ceramics by Kate Schuricht are mixed with other objects on a shelf above the sink

Ceramics by Kate Schuricht are mixed with other objects on a shelf above the sink

TEST “I guess the house is my main gallery,”

“I guess the house is my main gallery,”

TEST My eye is immediately drawn to a pair of Kate Schuricht’s stunning ceramics by the wood burner

A pair of Kate Schuricht’s stunning ceramics sit by the wood burner

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

Out of the blue

Tricia Trend’s Goudhurst home is the perfect base from which to explore the beautiful countryside and forests that surround it – and what better place to stay than in a traditional Kentish oast! How many times have you stayed in...

In the clouds

In a central, yet completely private, location in Tenterden, a creative couple have lavished their Grade II listed maisonette with colour and personality We mortals are but dust and shadows,’ said the poet Horace, reminding us from long ago of...

The ultimate family getaway

Down a quiet country lane, enveloped by stunning countryside, Crabtree Farm has provided Andrew Jenkinson and his family with the space they needed to breathe, after many years spent in London. Following extensive renovation work, the farm is now ready...