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.

The home

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.

covered loggia in extended 18th-century farmhouse
rose arbour in garden of farmhouse with lady painting
artist in studio of her 18th-century farmhouse

Annabel at work in her studio

Farmhouse interiors

Aga in country kitchen of a farmhouse

A painted mural by Annabel adds rustic charm above the Aga. The ironstone worktops are from Great Tew Quarry

country kitchen with exposed beams in a farmhouse

Extending the kitchen gave Annabel the sociable family space she wanted. A high vaulted ceiling with exposed trusses provides a background for displaying her basket collection. The cabinets are by Hutchinson Furniture and the sinks are from John Nicolls. Painted pine chairs are set round an antique servants’ table from Patsy Edwards Pine. Rise and fall lighting is from Holloways of Ludlow and the Cotswold stone flooring is from Downs Quarry

dining table in a country kitchen
utility room in 18th century farmhouse

The utility links the home to Annabel’s new studio and features slate worktops from Great Tew Quarry

Oriental cabinet in 18th-century farmhouse

A chinoiserie cabinet, Louis XV chairs in Ian Mankin fabric and urns from James Holliday Antiques in the new section of the living room, flanked by a still life by daughter Tilly, and a Provençal landscape by Annabel

living room with paintings and open fireplace

She found the turquoise clock for the kitchen seating area at Berrys & Grey in Cornwall. Paintings of the sea and seafood are all by Annabel

antique blue sofa in a farmhouse living room

Annabel’s painting of Port Isaac sits above an antique love seat from a shop in Moreton-in-Marsh

living room with light oak beams in a 18th-century farmhouse

The living room was doubled in size 16 years ago when Annabel made her first set of alterations to the farmhouse. Complementing this old part of the room and its original fireplace are some of the antiques Annabel has collected over the years, including an ornately carved armchair sourced through interior designer Rachel Hammel Cook. The walls are painted in Paris Grey by Annie Sloan, the beams in diluted White Truffle by Francesca’s Paints, and the ceiling in the undiluted shade. For a similar floral curtain fabric, try Nina Campbell

sofa with pink cushions in living room of a 18th-century farmhouse

Annabel handpainted the delicate pale blue design on the study walls — no two birds are the same. The sofa was from DFS and has been accessorised with a blanket and cushions from Susie Watson, plus additional cushions from Birdie Fortescue. All of the paintings in this room are by Annabel

study with fireplace and hand painted walls and bureau desk

The study is full of more unique finds. Annabel bought the pink pouffe in an antiques shop while on holiday in Padstow, Cornwall. The tapestry-covered footstool is from James Holiday Antiques. The bureau and mirror came from Station Mill Antiques, the lamps from Pooky and the curtain fabric is by Kate Forman

entrance hall in an 18th-century farmhouseThe 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

master bedroom with blue wallpaper and beams

The master bedroom features wallpaper from Farrow & Ball and lamps from Kate Forman

blue slipper bath in a bathroom with beams

The slipper bath is from John Nicolls and the open shelves above come from Station Mill Antiques

bedroom with painted beams in an extended 18th-century farmhouse

Tilly’s bedroom in the original part of the house has original panels and beams. The walls are painted in Pink Lotus with woodwork in White Truffle, by Francesca’s Paints. The bed is from Forever England and the Vogue prints from Les Bouquinistes in Paris

attic bedroom in loft of an 18th century farmhouse
stairs and landing in 18th-century farmhouse

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