MODERN RUSTIC #13

It may look like it’s straight out of New England, but this clapperboard home perches by the river in very British Berkshire

Get the look: The outside of the house is clad in cedar weatherboarding painted with Sadolin Superdec, which doesn’t peel.

THE PROPERTY

A detached house in Berkshire, built in the Twenties and extended in the Seventies. On the ground floor 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.

EXTERIOR

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 DEN

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.

Get the look: The old wooden ladder and zinc tub were inherited family pieces, but you can find similar at Drummonds architectural salvage or Baileys Home and Garden. The beanbag is covered in white denim by US outlet Big Duck Canvas. The metal daybed is from Ikea.

LIVING ROOM

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.

Get the look: The white denim sofas are from Rachel Ashwell. The knitted and linen cushions are by Daylesford Organic. The wall lights are from Garden Trading and the glass hurricane lanterns are from The Conran Shop.

KITCHEN

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.

Get the look: The Shaker-style kitchen units, Silestone worktops, prep table and oak stools are all by deVol. The range cooker came from Esse. The chopping boards are from Daylesford and the big glass storage jars are from Ikea. The fisherman’s lights are from Color Worx in East Wittering.

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.

Get the look: The flooring is wide plank, white oiled, engineered oak, which can be used with underfloor heating and is from Indigenous flooring in Burford. The rocking chair was bought on eBay and sprayed white.

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.

Get the look: The glass storage jars are from Garden Trading. The oat sacks are from H&M. The straw basket is from Apartment in Lymington and the lidded hampers were bought on Ebay.

GUEST BEDROOM

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.

Get the look: The bed and bedding is from The White Company. The bleached pine drawers and big baskets came from Newark antiques fair. The en-suite shower room basin console is from CP Hart.

The bed is placed in the centre of the room and faces the river.

Get the look: The reclaimed chair is covered in white linen from Ian Mankin.

MASTER BATHROOM

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.

Get the look: The freestanding bath, stand mixer and basins are all from Victoria Plumb. The storage box is from Ikea and the chaise longue (just seen) was from The Conran Shop. The mirror is from Baileys.

Photography Paul Massey

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