It may not be advisable to move house with a newborn baby, but many of us do. But how many of us exchange a comfortable life in London for a run-down hotel with 24 bedrooms – and all the hard work that entails? Alex and Katie Clarke did just that and arrived in East Sussex in 2004, having purchased The George in Rye hotel.

TEST the spacious family kitchen opens into a relaxing family room; the ottoman in the foreground was originally featured on a World of Interiors shoot. The chesterfield is one of Katie’s auction room finds, now beautifully restored and recovered by The Chair Doctor in Rye

the spacious family kitchen opens into a relaxing family room; the ottoman in the foreground was originally featured on a World of Interiors shoot. The chesterfield is one of Katie’s auction room finds, now beautifully restored and recovered by The Chair Doctor in Rye

TEST the distinctive Georgian windows allow the house to welcome in the glorious country garden that was planted up by Matt Reece, the former assistant gardener at Great Dixter

the distinctive Georgian windows allow the house to welcome in the glorious country garden that was planted up by Matt Reece, the former assistant gardener at Great Dixter

TEST the laundry room is the envy of Katie’s London friends, with its high-vaulted ceiling, perfect for drying and ironing the family’s clothes

the laundry room is the envy of Katie’s London friends, with its high-vaulted ceiling, perfect for drying and ironing the family’s clothes

TEST the iroko worktops and kitchen units were made by Holland of Rye

the iroko worktops and kitchen units were made by Holland of Rye

TEST until recently, this cosy sitting room was the dining room; Katie indulges her love of textiles by having them made up into a cornucopia of cushions to cover her ever-expanding collection of seating

until recently, this cosy sitting room was the dining room; Katie indulges her love of textiles by having them made up into a cornucopia of cushions to cover her ever-expanding collection of seating

TEST the playroom is also home to Katie’s recently acquired collection of clocks, bought at Rye Auction Galleries

the playroom is also home to Katie’s recently acquired collection of clocks, bought at Rye Auction Galleries

TEST The large painting was in the family’s loft-style apartment in London

The large painting was in the family’s loft-style apartment in London

TEST Alex is a keen and talented photographer and the downstairs cloakroom provides the perfect gallery for his family portraits

Alex is a keen and talented photographer and the downstairs cloakroom provides the perfect gallery for his family portraits

TEST the spic-and-span boot room

the spic-and-span boot room

TEST the calming and relaxing guest bathroom emulates the spa-touch of the bathrooms at The George in Rye

the calming and relaxing guest bathroom emulates the spa-touch of the bathrooms at The George in Rye

TEST the fabric for the bedhead and curtains in the master bedroom are from Odd (www.oddlimited.com)

the fabric for the bedhead and curtains in the master bedroom are from Odd (www.oddlimited.com)

TEST the ensuite master bathroom has been converted from a former bedroom to create a spacious wet room alongside the bateau bath on the Sussex Marble floor

the ensuite master bathroom has been converted from a former bedroom to create a spacious wet room alongside the bateau bath on the Sussex Marble floor

TEST Matilda’s bedroom is blessed with a pretty, antique bedstead

Matilda’s bedroom is blessed with a pretty, antique bedstead

TEST the belvedere provides a sunny spot to sit and read, or perhaps to admire the surrounding countryside, or even for little girls-nights-in

the belvedere provides a sunny spot to sit and read, or perhaps to admire the surrounding countryside, or even for little girls-nights-in

TEST the attic staircase climbs up to the belvedere with views of the surrounding countryside; the coir flooring is from J Hayden Carpets, St Leonards

the attic staircase climbs up to the belvedere with views of the surrounding countryside; the coir flooring is from J Hayden Carpets, St Leonards

TEST the distinctive Georgian windows allow the house to welcome in the glorious country garden that was planted up by Matt Reece, the former assistant gardener at Great Dixter ...

the distinctive Georgian windows allow the house to welcome in the glorious country garden that was planted up by Matt Reece, the former assistant gardener at Great Dixter ...

TEST the scented, flower-filled country garden provides colour all year and, Katie assures, is so cleverly planted that it needs very little maintenance

the scented, flower-filled country garden provides colour all year and, Katie assures, is so cleverly planted that it needs very little maintenance

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

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