House in Somerset

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Shortly after the arrival of their fifth child, Damian and Patricia, realized that they needed a place in the country to escape to. They are both professional consultants in the financial industries, and quality time off with their children was important. They soon found their dream - a rambling old manor house in a small village in rural Somerset, along with stables and outbuildings, with lots of surrounding land. It needed a lot of work, including repairing the stonework and replacing the roof of the main house which dates back to the 1600s, and to help them they employed Baldassare La Rizza, an interior designer who had the requisite qualities and quantities of experience, taste, patience, and perseverance to undertake this mammoth project in such a remote location in the most beautiful English countryside. As many of the original features were kept and enhanced wherever possible, and the interiors were decorated in a simple but classical manner. Traditional colours and wallpapers were used, and a trompe l’oeil artist was brought along to paint the Venetian grisaille views in the dining area. The kitchen is very much in traditional style with the exposed oak beams, rustic table and Aga, and the rest of the house is similarly sensitively decorated, with four poster beds, Turkish rugs, floral wallpapers, wooden panelling, oak furnishings and log fireplaces throughout, and the central hallway and staircase retains its original wall painting – a wrap-around view of the Somerset landscape. The formal gardens were laid out by Tom Stuart-Smith, a family friend, but the planting and multi-coloured flowers surrounding the house are entirely due to the hard work of Patricia. Writer Adam Butler

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