Simon in the kitchen, with bespoke units by Woodchester Cabinet Makers, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Lichen, with stone tiles from Natural Stone Consulting, and a rustic table and chairs from Burford Garden Company. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Wimbourne White
Househunting is a big part of Simon Fenwick’s life – he finds, renovates and manages period properties on behalf of his clients. And it was on one of these searches that he discovered his renovation project; Grade II-listed Elm House.
‘I’d looked at more than 30 options for a client who wanted a country home in the Cotswolds. This one was by far the best,’ says Simon. ‘The client’s sale fell through, but meanwhile I’d fallen for the property and the area.’ So, in August 2009, Simon found himself the owner of a new home.
Built in the 1640s, many of the house’s original features were still intact, and Simon soon started to get a feel for the renovation that lay ahead. ‘I was lucky as it hadn’t been messed around with too much, but it also hadn’t been well maintained,’ he says. ‘Horrible windows had been fitted in the 1960s, along with ugly radiators and dodgy pipework and electrics.’
Having previously practised as a chartered building surveyor before setting up his company, Simon wasn’t short of inspiration. ‘The house dictated what it needed and I used my experience of what worked in other people’s homes,’ he says. ‘I was determined to restore it as sympathetically as I could and to a high standard of craftsmanship.’
Simon discovered that the Cotswolds is home to skilled practitioners of all manner of crafts. The builder, CN Builders, is based just down the road, carpenter Jon Hitchcock is a neighbour, and blacksmith Ben Landucci, of Iron Forged Designs, who made stair rails, garden furniture and a new front gate, is based in nearby Brackley.