The Weald of Kent is a very special part of the world, with its beautiful rolling landscape peppered with postcard-worthy villages – and an unusually high volume of dream homes in ideal family proportions.

This house is one of them. Set along a country lane with views from the back over a pond (and a swimming pool) to farmland and the rise of the High Weald in the distance. On one snowy morning visit, a robin red breast perched on the hedge, as if positioned by a stylist, with the winter silhouettes of trees against the sky beyond like a living Ravilious painting. It’s a magical spot.

Ally commissioned bespoke bookshelves to create a focal point in the sitting room. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Varta, to add a splash of bold colour.

Ally commissioned bespoke bookshelves to create a focal point in the sitting room. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Varta, to add a splash of bold colour.

The oak sideboard used to be in the kitchen, but Ally thought it deserved a grander location. The chairs and sofa are from Furniture Village – to save money to spend on the bookshelves

The oak sideboard used to be in the kitchen, but Ally thought it deserved a grander location. The chairs and sofa are from Furniture Village – to save money to spend on the bookshelves

Using one fabric for the curtains and blinds throughout the ground floor unites the layout, giving the space a chic, pulled-together look which makes you wonder why on earth we fuss about putting different patterns in every room

Using one fabric for the curtains and blinds throughout the ground floor unites the layout, giving the space a chic, pulled-together look which makes you wonder why on earth we fuss about putting different patterns in every room

Also pressed into service was a trove of fabrics Jo found stored in a cupboard

Also pressed into service was a trove of fabrics Jo found stored in a cupboard

The copper-lined pulley light over the dining table is by Original BTC (it was a bargain Ally found under the discontinued clearance table.). The leather club chair was a family favourite. Ally gave it new life with cushions covered in vibrant African fabrics brought back from Tanzania that turned up in Jo’s clear out

The copper-lined pulley light over the dining table is by Original BTC (it was a bargain Ally found under the discontinued clearance table.). The leather club chair was a family favourite. Ally gave it new life with cushions covered in vibrant African fabrics brought back from Tanzania that turned up in Jo’s clear out

Ally had the dresser made to replace the dark wood dresser she moved to the sitting room and to reflect the kitchen’s contemporary country style. Baskets and apple crates are her favourite tools for keeping clutter organised

Ally had the dresser made to replace the dark wood dresser she moved to the sitting room and to reflect the kitchen’s contemporary country style. Baskets and apple crates are her favourite tools for keeping clutter organised

The main change Ally made in the dining room, was to turn Jo’s table round, so it leads on invitingly from the kitchen. Ally had Jo’s existing dining chairs recovered in a mix of prints to contrast the graphic design of the curtains and blinds

The main change Ally made in the dining room, was to turn Jo’s table round, so it leads on invitingly from the kitchen. Ally had Jo’s existing dining chairs recovered in a mix of prints to contrast the graphic design of the curtains and blinds

Jo put in the dining room extension which joins up the kitchen and the snug, when she first moved in 14 years ago, combining the beams of the original 16th century cottage with a light airy modern feel. The glorious four-oven Aga, was already in place

Jo put in the dining room extension which joins up the kitchen and the snug, when she first moved in 14 years ago, combining the beams of the original 16th century cottage with a light airy modern feel. The glorious four-oven Aga, was already in place

These chairs which had belonged to homeowner Jo’s mum, were looking a bit tired, but reupholstered with two old Mexican blankets Ally found in the big clear out, they are now the focal point in the hall – and a very handy place to hang a handbag

One of two chairs which had belonged to homeowner Jo’s mum, were looking a bit tired, but reupholstered with two old Mexican blankets Ally found in the big clear out, they are now the focal point in the hall

The chairs were transformed and what had seemed like rubbish, was upcycled and given a whole new lease of life

The chairs were transformed and what had seemed like rubbish, was upcycled and given a whole new lease of life

A very handy place to hang a handbag

A very handy place to hang a handbag

Ally had bookshelves built in the guest cloakroom and papered the walls with Jane Churchill’s March Hare wallpaper in the stone colourway

Ally had bookshelves built in the guest cloakroom and papered the walls with Jane Churchill’s March Hare wallpaper in the stone colourway

Ally has used the same curtain fabric upstairs in a different colourway. The chair is a Dunelm find, with one of Ally’s signature cushions covered in fabric from an old grain sack. Ally urged Jo to buy the beautiful armoire to give the room a focal point.

Ally has used the same curtain fabric upstairs in a different colourway. The chair is a Dunelm find, with one of Ally’s signature cushions covered in fabric from an old grain sack. Ally urged Jo to buy the beautiful armoire to give the room a focal point.

A chair in a spare bedroom recovered with a patchwork quilt made by Jo’s mother.

A chair in a spare bedroom recovered with a patchwork quilt made by Jo’s mother.

This chair was a wedding present to Jo’s parents. “It was very comfortable but not very cool,” she says. “Ally had it painted white and covered in African fabric – transformed!”

This chair was a wedding present to Jo’s parents. “It was very comfortable but not very cool,” she says. “Ally had it painted white and covered in African fabric – transformed!”

“I spent two hours with each of Jo’s children so I could understand what they liked and wanted, so they would each have an individual space”

“I spent two hours with each of Jo’s children so I could understand what they liked and wanted, so they would each have an individual space”

In one of the children’s bedrooms, Ally had the headboard upholstered in the grain sack fabric, to set off the mixed prints of the cushions

In one of the children’s bedrooms, Ally had the headboard upholstered in the grain sack fabric, to set off the mixed prints of the cushions

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether

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