Locks Lane, Birdham, West Sussex
Locks Lane was previously designed as a second home, resulting in it having a bland, un-lived in interior that lacked soul. Purchased by Kate & David Adams, the key aspect of the brief was to create a UK family base for themselves, their three children (14, 17 and 19) and Kate’s mother, Anne, who would live in the house permanently.
Being based in Hong Kong, Kate remotely researched interior designer firms from London to the South Coast. Having been listed as one of the top 20 Best British Interior Designers by the Telegraph, Pascoe Interiors Ltd came to the couple’s attention. With a wealth of experience working with clients over a long distance, Clare (Pascoe) went on to impress, with detailed and honest answers to initial questions, before providing example schemes to demonstrate ideas and methods of communicating internationally. While Kate and David were open about not wanting Clare’s signature Mid-Century Contemporary style they felt more than confident she could deliver a more traditional style for their UK home, which Kate summarised as a “British New Hamptons Style” to reflect the property's enviable coastal location.
The home had been extensively renovated by the previous owners, therefore the initial plan was for a more decorative project based around furnishing and decoration. This was to include a new kitchen and amendments to the lighting to reduce the vast number of 240v spotlights and replace them with subtly placed low voltage spotlights.
However, it did not take long for Clare to ascertain that the current smart home system was overly complex, badly installed and complicated by an incompatible mix of US and UK fittings. Realising that the original installation was poor and bordering on unsafe in places, Pascoe Interiors sourced local firm Newland Solutions to replace the lighting and upgrade the smart home system to one that was fully UK compatible and remotely interactive. The extent to which the original electrical installation had been badly installed was truly revealed once works were underway, resulting in the re-design works to include a full re-wire of all of the lighting, AV system, security and smart home system. While this caused a regrettable delay to completion, the result is a property that is safe, sustainable and can be remotely managed with ease.
Alongside the electrical works, Clare designed the interior around a pared-back neutral palette to create a backdrop for the textures, colours and finishes that would then follow. New items of furniture needed to be sourced to work alongside the couples existing furniture; with Clare designing key bespoke pieces that were beautifully hand made locally in Sussex where required.
The entrance hall gives a bold first impression of the interior, with its faux panelling wallpaper, a design classic sofa upholstered in British wool, a rich orange leatherette ottoman and brass lamps. A bespoke stair runner in rich blue and pale grey leads invitingly upstairs, while beyond is a glimpse of the impressive kitchen dining and sitting room.
The kitchen was designed to accommodate Anne’s daily needs as well as those of the entire family plus visiting friends when required. The oversized galley kitchen has two main features; the large island that creates drama through its scale, simplicity and the beauty of the stone work top and the total control Aga with single module that balances the clean contemporary lines with a welcome classic injection. The Aga, a Quooker tap and low voltage feature and task lighting all combine to deliver a sustainable kitchen that is impressively efficient to run despite its size.
By relocating the dining table, space was created for a soft seating area in the kitchen, zoned by a Knots Rug in soft shades of pink. The white oak dining table, surrounded by a mismatched set of Eames chairs, is offset by a pair of impressive Hex pendants in brushed brass, a material that was used throughout the house to inject subtle glamour and warmth to the crisp base palette.
For the living room a more classic scheme was desired. Clare commissioned a pair of traditional sofas, handmade in West Sussex and upholstered in British Wool, a pair of Knoll Relax armchairs and an Eames chair, all offset with brass and smoked mirror glass tables from Tom Dixon that continue the brass theme. Another blush pink toned rug links with the kitchen seating area, while a duck footed lamp with ostrich feather shade adds welcome humour next to the classic Eames chair and foot stool. Clare added in bold colours and textures through an eclectic mix of cushion fabrics ranging from bold florals to stripes in a rich yet blended palette.
With three teenage children, a spacious family room was high on the wish list. A relatively narrow yet long room can be hard to furnish comfortably for a number of people, so the obvious solution was a corner sofa. Working with a Surrey based company, Clare designed an extended corner sofa to rebalance the tunnel effect of the room. Dramatic black walls and graduated grey curtains are complemented by the faux book shelf wallpaper. Colour was injected with an orange armchair and in the silk and wool blend rug, while a classic design – the Saarinen table and chairs with orange seats - continue this accent colour.
The swimming pool, with home gym, steam room and changing rooms, complete the ground floor. While the humidity is controlled with an intelligent system, Clare still had to be mindful that any decoration or furniture in this space would need to have good longevity. Wishing to inject some decorative details into the swimming pool area that would not be too typical or at odds with the space, yet that would work in harmony with the feature palm trees paper visible through the glass balcony upstairs, Clare commissioned a bespoke wallpaper mural featuring palm leaves and pineapples. Chairs by Missoni, a bench by Ercol and the Children's football table complete the space.
The first floor bedrooms are within the eaves of the house and feature sloped ceilings that, at times, posed challenging spaces to accommodate large storage items. The most spacious is the master suite, which is in the newly extended end of the house. Gold grass wallpaper adds instant drama, while the pheasant curtain fabric gives a nod to the rural South Downs, which is just a stone’s throw away. In fact the day Kate and David were selecting the curtain fabric, a pair of pheasants were strolling through the drive !. The bed comprises a British, handmade headboard and mattress accented with cushions in bold mustard wool and rich orange velvet. Brass bedside tables and lamps offset with green velvet shades complete the scheme.
The boys both wanted very different schemes in their rooms. The eldest desired a monochromatic scheme, with a ‘sofa-bed’ within the window alcove in which he could lounge and recline to watch films that he intended to project on the blank wall opposite. Clare designed the sofa bed to fit the space and features a full headboard, sideboard and half footboard with oversized cushions to facilitate lounging.
The youngest brother chose a striking street scene from Hong Kong that was made into two wall murals, adding instant depth to the smallest bedroom in the house. Ercol furniture, denim and red accents keep the scheme young and space was made for his highly coveted lazy chair.
For their daughter's bedroom, (not photographed) an ice theme was desired. A bold silver, crushed velvet bed takes centre stage against ‘crystal’ embellished wallpaper.
Despite the project slightly overrunning due to contractors mistakes and small complications along the way, Kate and David remain thrilled at how welcoming and comfortable Locks Lane now is. It is a far cry from the rather sadly bland house they first walked into. One of the most important aspects of the brief was to create a UK home base for the internationally spread out family and Locks Lane now provides a home where each member of the family feels comfortable and welcome, as all their individual needs and characters have been accommodated.
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