One of the wonderful things about East Sussex is that as soon as you think you know the place, you will quickly realise that you don’t know it at all. Nestled at the bottom of that lane, the one you drive past every day, hidden behind the blush of those giant purple rhododendrons and the splash of lush dark evergreens lies a house. And then you marvel at how you managed to miss something quite so stunning!

Original botanical paintings by Lillie’s mother line the landing. The feature light is from Nuova Venier in Murano, Venice

Original botanical paintings by Lillie’s mother line the landing. The feature light is from Nuova Venier in Murano, Venice

The former garage was converted into a spacious open plan area for the whole family, with a bespoke walnut kitchen by Rencraft, Tunbridge Wells

The former garage was converted into a spacious open plan area for the whole family, with a bespoke walnut kitchen by Rencraft, Tunbridge Wells

Floor to ceiling books in the library

Floor to ceiling books in the library

The reed diffuser is in the Praslin Seychelles fragrance by Lavender & Lillie. The handwash, lotion and soap are from the Palace Road India range

The reed diffuser is in the Praslin Seychelles fragrance by Lavender & Lillie. The handwash, lotion and soap are from the Palace Road India range

A bespoke laser-cut United Kingdom and Ireland mirror in the downstairs loo

A bespoke laser-cut United Kingdom and Ireland mirror in the downstairs loo

The wallpaper in the drawing room is by De Gournay. The rocking horse is from Stevenson Brothers

The wallpaper in the drawing room is by De Gournay. The rocking horse is from Stevenson Brothers

The parquet floors are by Avalon Flooring

The parquet floors are by Avalon Flooring

An oak pergola surrounds the raised pool area. The outdoor table is from OKA Bottom: Elephants from Ko Samui outside the pool house

Chris also designed the pool house, which is covered in the same green oak repeated in the retaining walls that terrace the hill, creating useful levels where the garden has been at last able to thrive

An oak pergola surrounds the raised pool area. The outdoor table is from OKA Bottom: Elephants from Ko Samui outside the pool house

An oak pergola surrounds the raised pool area

Chris also designed the pool house, which is covered in the same green oak repeated in the retaining walls that terrace the hill, creating useful levels where the garden has been at last able to thrive

Elephants from Ko Samui outside the pool house

Chris designed the main part of the garden on a formal scheme, with gravel paths dividing the beds around the fountain

Chris designed the main part of the garden on a formal scheme, with gravel paths dividing the beds around the fountain

Sculptures by Carol Peace and Dawn Benson add interest on the terrace and among the borders

Sculptures by Carol Peace and Dawn Benson add interest on the terrace and among the borders

Sculptures by Carol Peace and Dawn Benson add interest on the terrace and among the borders

Sculptures by Carol Peace and Dawn Benson add interest on the terrace and among the borders

The chest of drawers is from Ensor Interior Design

The chest of drawers is from Ensor Interior Design

Potato the dog in the hall with vaulted ceilings in the Gothic Revival style

Potato the dog in the hall with vaulted ceilings in the Gothic Revival style

The Venetian glass chandelier in the master bedroom is from RV Astley. The sculptures at the end of the bed are from Thailand

The Venetian glass chandelier in the master bedroom is from RV Astley. The sculptures at the end of the bed are from Thailand

A sofa on the landing. The original floorboards were sanded and restored. The animal cushions are by Sass & Belle

A sofa on the landing. The original floorboards were sanded and restored. The animal cushions are by Sass & Belle

The teak four poster is from Lombok

The teak four poster is from Lombok

Chris and Lillie found the antique Mongolian cabinet at Yi Ju in Tunbridge Wells, along with the Chinese chair. The brass statues were found in Bangkok

Chris and Lillie found the antique Mongolian cabinet at Yi Ju in Tunbridge Wells, along with the Chinese chair. The brass statues were found in Bangkok

The world map is from Printed Space and the bunkbed is by Great Little Trading Company

The world map is from Printed Space and the bunkbed is by Great Little Trading Company

A pretty pink nursery for Chris and Lillie’s new born daughter, complete with unicorns from Melissa & Doug

A pretty pink nursery for Chris and Lillie’s new born daughter, complete with unicorns from Melissa & Doug

The dining room was once a snooker room for RAF officers billeted in the house during World War II. The wallpaper is by De Gournay. The coloured vases are from Venice, a special place for Chris and Lillie, which inspired one of the Lavender & Lillie fragrances

The dining room was once a snooker room for RAF officers billeted in the house during World War II. The wallpaper is by De Gournay. The coloured vases are from Venice, a special place for Chris and Lillie, which inspired one of the Lavender & Lillie fragrances

Indian miniatures by Lillie’s mother and Southeast Asian shadow puppets reflect Chris and Lillie’s love of travel

Indian miniatures by Lillie’s mother and Southeast Asian shadow puppets reflect Chris and Lillie’s love of travel

Ornate heirloom chandeliers draw the eye to the ceilings in the sitting room

Ornate heirloom chandeliers draw the eye to the ceilings in the sitting room

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Kimberley Watson

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