On entering Gauntlets – Philippa King’s home in Stonegate, East Sussex – it is immediately obvious that its owner is creative.
It’s the use of colour that hits you first – the moody blue hallway that leads into an open-plan kitchen painted an unexpected combination of ochre and teal. Then the opulent designer textiles paired with earthy brick floors and comfy old sofas, which make for a stylish space that also feels loved and lived-in. And that’s before you notice the finer details; the hand-painted lampshades inspired by the work of the Bloomsbury Group; the groupings of vases arranged like still lives on side tables; the eclectic artwork that lines almost every wall.
Philippa, who runs communications company Shaker and is creative director at The Bell –Ticehurst’s lauded pub with rooms – designed and built the house with her husband Steven Evans, an ex-army engineer. The couple had just built a smaller house nearby when the “funny little cottage” across the way came up for sale. While the property itself wasn’t much to look at, they could immediately see the potential of the location, and the sprawling, two-acre garden. Planning permission had not yet been granted but, Philippa explains: “We took the risk and hoped we’d get it through. We went from buying the cottage in 2011 to moving into a brand new home a year later.” The use of pre-fabricated insulated panels helped speed up the construction process. “We were also lucky in being able to continue living next door while we did the work because we’d sold the original house to friends who kindly let us live there.” Steven, an ex-army engineer, project-managed the build while Philippa took charge of the interiors.
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