A detached house in Berkshire, built in the Twenties and extended in the Seventies. On the ground floor of this modern home is the living room, kitchen, conservatory, pantry, garden room, laundry, den with sleeping loft, office, bathroom and two bedrooms, one of which is en suite. The master bedroom suite occupies the first floor. Outside is a swimming pool, plus a shower and a bath.
The big surprise is that this white clapperboard house perches happily by the River Thames in Berkshire but the owners are the first to admit that the inspiration for their home came entirely from New England. They spent a long time there taking snaps of everything from weatherboarding and picket fences to verandas and outside lanterns – and love the style because of its year-round holiday vibe.
When the couple first bought their home 15 years ago, it was a tangle of architectural styles – ranging from original Twenties to a Seventies add-on – which they planned to unify with the tricks and ideas they’d seen in New England. The house is long and low so they had an inkling it would lend itself to a whitewashed clapperboard exterior with wrap-around verandas and balconies.The house was designed as a ‘five year fun house’, but the family found living by the water difficult to give up. There is an island opposite that is a nature reserve with horses grazing – and the view from the windows is constantly shifting, so it's like an ever-changing artwork.
The East Coast style is echoed inside with exposed rafters, panelled walls and driftwood furniture, all in shades of white-on-white with a few neutral textiles thrown into the mix.The old wooden ladder and zinc tub were inherited family pieces.
The house flows from room to room with distinct zones among the open-plan spaces, many of which can be sealed off with wide doors. The couple had previously found that totally open plan meant they had to be incredibly tidy all of the time, so the doors give the option to close areas off when visitors arrive.
When it came to furniture, beach-house-chic was the order of the day. Ingeniously, the couple developed a way of achieving the look without sunshine, by rescuing pieces off skips and rubbing white chalk paint into them, to give a sun-bleached effect. Family items with special memories – such as the darkroom ladder and an old decorating trestle table - were also stripped down then reinvented with white chalk paint.
Not everything in the house was pre-loved – the kitchen is a classic Shaker style from deVol with hardwearing white Silestone worktops, while the floors are white oiled wide-plank engineered oak.
White oiled oak boards and white wooden planking on the walls unify the open plan spaces, and all rooms open onto the garden or river.
The house stays cosy during the winter thanks to underfloor heating, the Esse range cooker, open fires and plenty of sheepskin throws.The pantry is deliberately open plan so it’s easy to grab things when cooking. It has concealed, built-in cupboards underneath at the side for basics; everything else is decanted into storage jars.
See Also: Striking and stylish white kitchen ideas
The guest bedroom is an all-white sanctuary – it’s easy to cosy up in winter with sheepskin rugs and candles, while in summer it’s simple and fresh.
The bed is placed in the centre of the room and faces the river.
The master bathroom is semi open plan to the bedroom – the couple decided not to close it off to keep the sense of space and openness from the back to the front of the house.
Photography Paul Massey
Colors that go with navy blue – the best shades to combine with this moody hue
Take your pick of the best colors that go with navy blue from bold tangerine to cocooning neutrals
By Hebe Hatton •
Best outdoor security camera: added safety for your home, from the outside in
The best outdoor security camera to protect your home from unwanted visitors, from Ring, Arlo, Nest and more
By Caroline Preece •
This 19th century apartment is a lesson in combining architectural details with modern design
Unexpected touches of beautiful hues deliver a dreamy quality to this Parisian abode
By Ian Phillips •
A quirky upside down London townhouse that's a wonderful amalgamation of ornate original details and statement modern furniture
Behind its neat facade lies something unexpected...
By Hebe Hatton •
A modern rustic Sonoma farmhouse that's a lesson in laid back California style
Open airy rooms, light and neutral color palette, rustic touches all come together to create an effortlessly relaxed vibe that's perfect for a home in Cali's wine country
By Hebe Hatton •
A modern apartment in Moscow where ornate antiques sit with minimalist designs
Mid-century modern + 18th-century antiques + a minimalist aesthetic = a stunning space filled with inspiration
By Hebe Hatton •
Tour an Australian beachside house where contemporary design meets barefoot luxury
Relaxed and elegant at the same time, this Aussie home is a place where you can sit back and enjoy the good life
By Karine Money •
Before and after: This BILLY bookcase is now a bespoke built-in with a minimalist aesthetic
This BILLY has a new life, in the shape of a boutique built-in – kissed with botanics, books, and beautiful brassy tones
By Megan Slack •
A north London Victorian townhouse that provides the perfect neutral backdrop for eye-catching art and accessories
A fabulous family home bursting with life, color and artwork
By Kara O'Reilly •
This Mayfair apartment is a lesson in working Art Deco style with a contemporary twist
Take a tour of this elegant London apartment where a 1920s aesthetic has been reimagined with luxe details and a modern treatment
By Jo Leevers •