17th Century Cotswold Manor House

This Grade II-listed house lies peacefully nestled in the rolling Cotswold hills within its own picturesque gardens and country sporting grounds. It had been in the hands of the same owners for several decades before being bought by our clients in 2020. Having worked with this client on their previous home as well as a vibrant entertaining space in a barn on the estate, Sims Hilditch was appointed to update the main house and make it a base for a family who enjoy pursuing country sports and entertaining friends regularly.

Architecture: Christian Fleming

While the earliest sections date from the 17th century, the house has been extended multiple times over the years resulting in a variety of interesting architectural details and ceiling heights. In order to make the home fit for modern family living, one of the first steps was to reorganise the flow of rooms to create a larger footprint and more considered use of space, particularly in the domestic areas at the back of the house. Through our longstanding relationship, we gained a good understanding of our clients’ lifestyle, tastes and interests; the challenge was to bring their new home gently into the 21st century and then find the appropriate balance between the formal and family spaces.

We chose tones with more contemporary notes when it came to the kitchen in response to the volume of the room and the highly pitched ceiling. This is where the family spend most of their time and it acts as a nexus of the house. The kitchen's high-pitched ceilings were designed in collaboration with Fleming Architects. Above the dining table, an oak leaf chandelier serves as the focal point, while double doors lead to the courtyard and gardens. Beyond the kitchen are a series of functional rooms including a pantry and flower room; each one features bespoke joinery designed in house alongside playful touches of pattern, print and colour.

The main part of the house is home to the entertaining rooms. An internal butler’s pantry was transformed into an atmospheric and handsome space for wine tastings. Beyond the wine cellar and a server's kitchen lies the formal dining room. A grand mahogany table sits fourteen guests comfortably while a smaller, more intimate arrangement for eight stands in the bay window.

While schemes in their previous house were based of a palette of neutral tones, in this project we were asked to bring in depth and colour, particularly in the more masculine rooms. It was important not to create high contrasts hence the paprika coloured walls of the snug which has the same tonal strength to lead comfortably into the inky blue of the dining room.

Beyond the traditional entrance hall is an anteroom which flows into the generous double-aspect drawing room and is full of sociable spaces. 

A substantial amount of the first floor is given over to the main bedroom, his and her bathrooms and separate dressing rooms. We embraced the different pitch heights of the ceilings in the bedroom and used rough-boarding to create a pretty space with lots of light-reflective surfaces. 

In the guest bedrooms beyond, we introduced more pattern and colour using larger scale wallpaper designs and stronger tones on the walls.

The top floor of the house is decorated to suit the style of a young country gentleman. It’s full of original features and quirky shapes, we added details such as tongue and groove panelling and industrial-style iron cast radiators to give a more masculine feel.

The property boasted a number of former stables which we transformed into functional spaces, they are now home to a boot room, laundry room, shoot room.