Interiors: Trad goes rad
A listed Cotswold home gets a thoroughly modern makeover
‘Discovering this place was like stumbling upon a house frozen in time,’ says Bronwen of the Grade II listed Cotswold home she and her husband have treated to a full-scale renovation. ‘Parts of it were covered in overgrown briars and creepers, including the back door. It was a real sleeping beauty.’
Originally built for a dowager, the house was filled with subtly feminine features that revealed its past. ‘I loved how the gothic windows had a delicate feel and the stair risers were very shallow – just right for the lady of the house,’ says Bronwen. Her aim was to recapture this original charm while adding elements of contemporary design.
However, getting to this point was not without dramas. The on-off-on-again sale was almost stymied at the last minute by a surprise bid from a local rock star. ‘He mostly wanted the 50 acres that abutted his grounds,’ she explains. In the end, the Freemans lost some acres but gained a house – plus a famous neighbour. ‘No outrageous parties so far, though,’ Bronwen smiles.
Bronwen honed her interior styling skills after careers in fashion and digital media, and has worked her magic for private clients and nearby hotel Montpellier House, where she collaborated with Cheltenham antiques emporium Blighty (blightyantiques.com).
In her own home, historical corners – an old-fashioned pantry, the kitchen and study – contrast with the open-plan hub of the house, where Crittall glazing, design classics and punchy shades come into their own. ‘Country style isn’t all about living in the past,’ says Bronwen. ‘Reimagining the house through modern eyes has revealed its beauty all over again.’
Bronwen Da Costa Freeman, an interior stylist, and her husband Mark Freeman, a property developer and surveyor, live in a five-bedroom house in the Cotswolds with children Bryn, 14, Ava, 13, and Tessy, nine, plus Maggie the labrador and Pablo the labradoodle.
‘I loved how the gothic windows had a delicate feel and the stair risers were very shallow – just right for the lady of the house,’ says Bronwen
Steps lead down from the dining area to a cosy hang-out, where the family watch films. The bespoke sofa was made by Andrew Greenwood (greenwood-upholstery.com), and the 1960s hanging chair was a lucky Ebay find
Labradoodle Pablo stakes his claim to the House Doctor DK rug from Bodie and Fou (bodieandfou.com). The antique leather armchair was from Blighty (blightyantiques.com), the chesterfield was bought at auction, and the ‘Glamorous’ cushion is by Barbara Coupe (barbaracoupe.co.uk). The kitchen/dining/den area was opened up to allow light to flood in. A stay at Crosby Street Hotel in New York got Bronwen and Mark hooked on Crittall windows
The bespoke dining table is by HB Group (hbgroup.co.uk), and the Panton chairs are available at The ConranShop (conranshop.co.uk). Flagstones from Norton Stone & Masonry run throughout (nortonmasonry.com)
The decorative fireguard in Bronwen’s bedroom was found at an antiques market in Ross-on-Wye. ‘Gilt adds just the right amount of decadence,’says Bronwen
Left: The pantry walls were painted inPriory Wall by Color Trend (colortrendpaints.co.uk). ‘I think pantries should be incorporated into modern house designs – it’s like having a second kitchen and store cupboard rolled into one,’ says Bronwen. Right: The cabinets were from an antiques shop in Devon, which Bronwen painted in Farrow & Ball’s Railings: ‘Crystal and white crockery always look fab against dark colours’
Left: A contemporary bathby Victoria + Albert (vandabaths.com) is offset by the gothic windows. ‘It’s all about the mix,’ says Bronwen. Right: Vintage lighting combined with a clean-lined four-poster bed creates just the right mix of past and present. For a similar bed try The White Company (thewhitecompany.com). Andy Thornton sells vintage and reconditioned lighting (andythornton.com)
‘With ample light in this space, we can get away with a black background [Railings by Farrow & Ball],’ says Bronwen. The island is a Victorian baker’s table from Blighty (blightyantiques.com) Bronwen added the marble top. A collection of pewter cloches is stored under the island. The bespoke kitchen units areby HB Group (hbgroup.co.uk)