Stooped doorways, wonky beams and vast inglenook fireplaces fill Annabel Playfair’s 18th-century home with character, and there’s a sense of history at every turn. Still, there’s a contemporary twist to its light-filled rooms with wide views across a sweep of lawn to the rolling hills behind.
One-off pieces of furniture are part of a collection built over the years, displayed alongside Annabel’s own oil paintings, which range from dramatic seascapes to tumbling bowls of tulips, and those landscapes stretching from the doorstep.
In a quiet Warwickshire village, the farmhouse was perfect for the family. However charming though, it was also beginning to show its age. There was no large living space, and the kitchen was small and dark. ‘I’d always dreamed of creating a large live-in kitchen where everyone could gather,’ says Annabel. An oak-frame extension gave her exactly that. With a huge table in the middle and a cosy seating area it serves every purpose. A similar-size extension added space to the living room, and moving a staircase opened up the hall and brought more light into the central heart of the house.
Owner: Artist Annabel Playfair lives here with her children, triplets George, Henry and Tilly, 19, and Max, 24
Property: An 18th-century Grade II-listed, eight-bedroom home in Warwickshire, set in 10 acres of grounds
What she did: Kitchen and living room extensions were built in 2001, a garden room and loggia in 2010. Annabel recently converted the stables into an art studio
In 2010 she embarked on a second project, adding a garden room at the back of the house with windows all round and topped with a roof lantern. Next came an inspired home improvement: a covered loggia accessed from the kitchen. Here, among climbing roses and pots of sweet peas, are sofas, hammocks and a large dining table, with an open fire for chilly evenings. And in the inspiring surroundings of her transformed home, Annabel’s painting has taken off and her most recent project was to convert the stables into a studio.
The entrance hall was a later addition to the house. It is decorated with a table from James Holiday Antiques which is home to a hands sculpture created by Annabel’s son George for his A-levels