LIFE & SOUL

Homes & Gardens|June 2020

LIFE & SOUL
Kit Kemp has woven her inimitable creative thread through her Hampshire home, imbuing it with uplifting colours and a playfulness that belies a keen eye for detail
RACHEL LEEDHAM

GARDEN

A mobile shepherd’s hut is tucked away at the bottom of the garden. ‘The hut had been perched in a local garden when we found it, looking a little unloved,’ says Kit. ‘So we added a thatched roof and agreed to transport it to its current position, shaded by the silver birch trees and overlooking a little pond.’

SHEPHERD’S HUT

Inspired by American folk art, it took a week for the interior to be hand-painted by Melissa White, who has collaborated with Kit on past projects. Even the kennel blends beautifully with the uplifting decorative style.

DINING ROOM

The pendant light has been customized with a mobile that gives the effect of gazing into the centre of a pond. Hemel hanging light, Kevin Reilly Collection. Bespoke rug, The Rug Company

However dizzyingly packed Kit Kemp’s work schedule is, come the end of the week she will be found driving down to her home in the New Forest. ‘Whenever I open the door, I feel as if all the weight on my shoulders has lifted,’ recounts the creative director and co-founder of Firmdale Hotels. ‘Firstly, because there are six dogs wagging their tails and secondly, because I think of it as home – I was brought up around the Forest.’

With its glorious riverside location and garden that offers beguiling glimpses of boat masts bobbing in the distance, it isn’t hard to see the allure of the place Kit and Tim – her husband and fellow founder of the company – purchased over two decades ago, when their three daughters were growing up.

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June 2020