Wendy Nichols and Alberto Pinto (Interior Designers)
Project type: Rebuilding and refurbishing
Project year: Ongoing
Our client's new property had a lot going for it.
It was substantial, secluded, near enough to London, but not too near and quintessential English.
The only thing it wasn't was right.
Our task was to make it suit our client better, but without losing the essential qualities that made it attractive in the first place.
Adding space wasn't the problem. Retaining a homogeneous whole that retained its character was.
The solution was to demolish the Victorian additions, but retain the Georgian façade.
To gain space, we dug down 12 meters to create an overall basement complex with squash court, swimming pool, changing rooms, spa with sauna, steamroom, gymnasium, therapy room and even a hair dressing salon.
The basement was so extensive that the new terracing ran over it.
With the lower ground fun rooms built, it was then a matter of rebuilding above them with suitable rooms from sitting to study, grand entrance hall and staircase to kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, storage to security-rooms and staff accommodation.
We retained and enhanced what we could. Stone was saved and reused from the demolished Victorian additions and supplimented with new Bath stone from - if not the original quarry - then certainly a close neighbour. The panelled dining room was a case in point. The panelling could be retained, but the ceiling plasterwork had to be recreated by master craftsmen.
We designed not just the main structure, but the detailing down to furniture; from bookcases with hidden doors to dressing tables with curved drawers and fabulous inlays.
We finished the main house in 1996, but since then we have restored, rebuilt, built and refurbished cottages, coach houses, farm buildings, follies, staff accommodation, greenhouses, bridges and fords.
We have also refurbished the Estate's village houses and properties in the surrounding area and in London's Cornwall Terrace, Addison Road and Elvaston mews.
With family houses around the world from Paris to the Rocky Mountains, the Middle East to the Far East, our client has reportedly said that this is his favourite home.