Overall winner of The Period Living Readers’ Home Awards
Mention the complete renovation of a 400-year-old property set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and most would run a mile – but not Lieset Kemink. In 2012, she and husband André Elshout bought a historic, five-bedroom farmhouse near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire, with the intention of transforming it into their dream family home.
They had previously lived in a barn conversion, and desired a layout better suited to family life with their young children. They looked Willow House intending to reconfiguring the layout. They wanted a property packed full of period features, but which had all the latest home comforts built in; a practical, family-friendly floor plan, but one that was equally suited to entertaining, as well as a relaxed, rural yet refined interior combining English country and continental influences – a signature style that Lieset has coined ‘new country chic’.
With final plans drawn up by an architect, the next step was to tackle planning permission, and, being set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lieset was prepared for difficulties. However, armed with plans that seamlessly linked to the original architecture, coupled with guidance from an expert planning consultant, the process was painless, taking only three months to be approved. Building work began in November 2012, and the renovation was completed by August 2014.
- Drainage was built into the site.
- A sympathetic extension built from reclaimed stone was added.
- Inappropriate Edwardian-style windows had been installed, so they were replaced with frames in keeping with the vernacular style.
- Dormer windows were added in the roof, which was retiled.
- The entire property was rewired.
- A new kitchen and bathrooms were fitted
- Added underfloor heating and a multi-room sound system
- The loft, garage and stable block were converted to create extra living space as well as a two-bedroom annexe.
- The ground floor boasts a large kitchen-diner with a new pantry, utility and boot room, and the garage is now a formal dining room.
- The first floor has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a home office while the second floor houses a guest suite
An antique bed fit for a princess makes a focal point in Chloé’s room, while the alcoves in the building’s fabric display cherished possessions perfectly
Get the look
Choose classic pieces in neutral tones to emulate Lieset’s rural yet refined look
- Rug: Cameo Nordic rug, from £64.64 for W60xL90cm, Urbane Living
- Chandelier: Winchelsea chandelier, H70xDia.80cm, £1,625, Oka
- Fireplace: Vicenza fireplace, H153xW148.5cm, £4,554 (surround only), Chesney’s
- Bottles: Kelston Emblem, £29.95 for a set, One World Trading
- Teapot: 1920s English Art Deco silver-plated teapot, H14cm, £49.99, Lavish Shoestring
- Paint: Benjamin Moore’s paint in Hot Lips and Saint Martin Sand, from £20 for 0.94ltrs of Natura flat
- Cushion: Alabama cushion in Powder, £40, Sofa.com
- Chair: Murrayfield leather chair, seen here in Capri, H107xW83xD89cm, with a choice of mahogany, natural, walnut or plain legs, from £1,099, Multiyork
What the judges said
Our overall winner, and top of the Country House Restoration category, Lieset Kemink and André Elshout’s beautifully converted Cotswold farmhouse won over the judges with its calm, sophisticated interiors.
‘Lieset’s lovely Dutch-inspired rooms made me want to change my own house!’ says Judge Vanessa Arbuthnott. ‘The raised fireplace in the kitchen-diner is so inviting, and the living room looks a very restful place to be.’