When they first set eyes on this historic rectory near Bath, Linda Morey-Burrows, founder of architectural design practice MoreySmith, and her art consultant husband Patrick Burrows knew it was the perfect project for them. ‘The house had been renovated and divided into three separate dwellings, there were very few bathrooms and it was certainly not to our taste,’ Linda says. They fell instead for the listed yellow Cotswold stone bones of the building – luckily left unscathed during all the work on the house – and its glorious views over Limpley Stoke in the Avon valley.
After remodelling the property into a spacious six-bedroom family house with en-suites, a home workspace, a dressing room, a dedicated guest wing and an almost self-contained apartment on the top floor, Linda and Patrick started imprinting their personal taste on this home. ‘We wanted it to feel like the most unique, comfortable and exclusive private villa in a hotel,’ Linda says. The idea was to mix old treasures with new finds: classic 20th-century designs by Charles and Ray Eames, contemporary B&B Italia sofas and, what Linda calls, ‘hand-me-down pieces – a Singer sewing machine inherited from Patrick’s family and an old gateleg table from mine’.
The walls are painted warm, neutral colours to provide a quiet backdrop for the jewel in the crown: the couple’s modern art collection. Pieces range from the subtly decorative, such as the off-white ceramics that make up Edmund de Waal’s A Light in the West, to the ceiling-height Principles of Infinity sculpture by Nika Neelova and a ‘slightly shocking ’ portrait named White Pop by provocative British artist Gavin Turk.
‘The symmetry of classic Georgian architecture encases our art beautifully,’ Linda says. But her love of this house is not purely due to its artistic merit. ‘Although it feels like we are a million miles from anywhere, hidden in the countryside, you can get to a coffee shop, a good restaurant and the train station in ten minutes. That’s a real highlight.’ moreysmith.com
For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration April 2018
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