The old stone Dower House in north-east England was in urgent need of sympathy and restoration when the current owners came across it. Originally Elizabethan, it was rebuilt in 1801, but much of its character had been lost after generations of remodeling and partitioning.
To create the perfect family home takes courage, talent and the knowledge that so much of the expenditure will be unseen, hidden in walls, roof-space and under floors, as the massive job of installing new plumbing and cabling is carried out.
The designer-owner had done it all before, and fortunately all the furniture from the old house fitted perfectly. The ground-floor kitchen and dining-room had been separate flat, and once it had been gutted, the owner went to Chalon in London for a new country-style kitchen to complement the large Aga cooker.
The first-floor bedrooms and bathrooms are warm but pale. The expansive living areas on the ground floor are richer in detail and colour than those above, employing silks and suede, needlepoint and linen. The design is a triumph of function and country-house comfort.