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A Classical Country House Renovation

Projects come in many different guises, from complete renovations to smaller refurbishments, some short term, others developing over the passage of time. I have been working with a client in Hampshire for many years as part of a long-term renovation project. This handsome house, nestled in the countryside is a family home that has been extended and adapted over the years to meet the family’s changing needs. The initial phase incorporated a new wing, to include a boot room, guest loo and study, with later additions of children’s bedrooms and bathrooms, an outdoor scheme including a swimming pool and pool house, and most recently a new timber barn for family entertaining and a teenagers den.

Guest loo wallpaper

On the ground floor the Guest Loo is decorated with iconic flamingo wallpaper by Cole and Sons, with soft sheer linen curtains for privacy, and a simple but sophisticated linen blind, edged in Osborne and Little knitted beaded trimming. The small details giving the blind a more contemporary finish.

Whilst smart fashionable seagrass, with its satisfyingly tactile texture, creates a sophisticated finish in the downstairs hallway. We chose this masculine indigo shade to create the ambience of a Gentleman’s Club, leading from the Hallway to the Study in this classical country house. A complex material to work with, seagrass requires an accomplished paper hanger as it’s tricky to cut and hang without fraying. Due to its natural fibres, I would not recommend this material for a damp environment, such as a bath or shower room.

The family boot room is painted in Sanderson’s Velvet Blue, a bold and brave choice of colour. We worked closely with the client to design generous storage, creating interior space that could house all the paraphernalia of a large family in the country. Every member of the family has their own designated space, even the dogs! The boot room is an essential space for countryside living and this scheme illustrates how it can be stylish as well as practical. The lantern from Pooky is classical but makes a bold practical statement, echoed by the black metal door furniture.  We chose a strong blue shade to demonstrate the utilitarian aspect of the boot room, whilst still co-ordinating with the more elegant hallway, decorated in pretty blue wallpaper and plain linen roman blinds edged in a smart Colefax scalloped trimming. The soft and feminine style of the wallpaper is highlighted by the more functional monochrome blue space beyond.

A word on Blue. Blue is so sought after, but notoriously difficult to design with – too cold, too bold, too baby blue. I think here it just works so well. It’s an alternative to the predictable green boot room, and it’s a real statement.

Throughout the rest of the house the hall and passageways are painted which is practical and in keeping with the period of the building. However, I love to add a playful element of surprise to my schemes, so on the first floor we wallpapered the entrance hall to the master suite. This automatically demarcates the space between the hallways and the master bedroom, softening the space, and adding the most wonderful focal point for the passageway. The wallpaper picks up all the colours in the master bedroom and bathroom. Whilst soft and feminine because it’s only used in a small space, it’s still very liveable. If it were used across the whole master bedroom, it would have been overpowering and less restful.

I love to hang artwork on wallpaper. It provides an additional layer of detail and this piece perfectly complements the Sandberg wallpaper (Eugen) behind.

Ladle Hill House side table
decorative wallpaper in hallway
decorative wallpaper in hallway

The client’s brief was to design this bedroom for a young girl to last through to her teenage years, and beyond.  Long and slim it was a tricky shape to work with, so to maximise on the space we designed it so that it has three designated zones, the far end for sleeping, the middle area with a writing desk, and the area by the door for storage and clothes. 

I love the timeless soft blue scrolling fern fabric from Soane Britain, and Edward Bulmer’s French Blue on the bookcase, for books and belongings, which is both pretty and practical. With her love of elephants we incorporated this gorgeous elephant bedspread from Sarah K Designs, and the drawing by Jazzy Westinghouse.

The scalloped headboard was the client’s own, and reupholstered in Fermoie star fabric, with a raspberry pink cord at the edge. The cushions were made from Vaughan and piped in feminine hot pink. Such a gorgeous space to get cosy at bedtime.

scalloped headboard
decorative wallpaper in hallway

An elegant pool house provides an outdoor kitchen, shower and changing facilities and the perfect spot for afternoon tea whilst the children cool off.

decorative wallpaper in hallway

A handsome new timber barn is a  recent ‘lockdown’ addition adding invaluable outside space for gatherings of large numbers and teenage parties. Housing essential, but not always beautiful, drum kits and keyboards. The barn was painted Farrow & Ball Cromarty to provide a warmer tone in this double height entrance hall, which flooded with light provide a welcoming space. We chose this elegant Anton and K patinated mirror and wide distressed dresser, and two outsized Ashoka lamps with Fermoie shades to give a sense of scale, finishing with the repurposed Lloyd loom chair painted in Farrow and Ball Cromarty, and window blind by Soane Britain.   At the foot of the stairs the client’s own wingback chair is reupholstered in Lewis and Wood Selsley Stripe with pretty cushions from Lucy Marsh Collection and a lamp base from Lucy Cope with a gathered block printed shade from Ashoka.

This is the type of project I love. It has been a joy to work on over the years, seeing the house evolve naturally over time to meet the family’s changing needs. To see the full image gallery from this project please visit my portfolio page.  For more information about Lucy Marsh Interiors please contact the Studio at  and to view the Lucy Marsh Collection please visit our online shop at