How do you make rustic living urban and cool? Just add a bronze cow’s head, luxe Italian lighting and a mix of industrial ingredients...

Get the look The Highland cow’s head is by artist Tessa Campbell Fraser. The vintage armchairs were re-upholstered in Mark Alexander’s Vanbrugh check with orange leather piping by Alma. The chandeliers are vintage Italian. For similar, try Rainbow London. The dining table and leather chairs are by Pippa Paton Design.

The properTy

Two Grade II-listed barns near Oxford, built in 1876 and now linked with a modern extension. The main barn has a kitchen/dining area on the ground floor, plus a snug, utility room and cloakroom.

Upstairs, there is the master bedroom, a bathroom, dressing room and study. In the second barn, there’s a playroom/ media room, two guest bedrooms, a dressing room and shower room on the ground floor, with the children’s bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The single-storey extension between the two barns comprises a hallway, sunken living room and music room.

Dining area

When it comes to creating interiors, these home owners, Pippa and her New Zealand-born husband Scott have a head start. They run their own design practice, with Pippa focusing on décor and Scott concentrating on architecture and project management.

They worked side by side on this renovation, squished in with the kids (and numerous pets) on the top floor of the smaller barn for almost a year, so they could oversee the work. The larger building had already been converted into a living space, but it was laid out in a series of small rooms.

The second barn had a flat upstairs, but the ground floor was untouched. Their vision for their home, was that you would walk in the front door and immediately have a sense of openness, but also an understanding of where every room fits in the space.

One of Pippa’s starting points for the scheme was the large vintage table in the dining area. It has an agricultural look that she wanted to offset with precise lines and clean, smooth materials, such as the glass galleried landing and poured-resin floor.

This double-height room – presided over by a cast-bronze cow’s head (shown above) – defines cool, country style. The owners knew exactly where they were going to put the sculpture, so the balcony was designed to hold its weight.

You look left and see the snug, dining room and kitchen.

Get the look The Giacometti Leaf table lamps are by Porta Romana.

Straight ahead, there’s the formal living room. And to the right, there’s the playroom. Everything’s open plan, so the challenge was to define each area while bringing it together as a whole.


Half the island contains storage and the rest is open, so the stools can be tucked beneath when not in use. The acid-etched steel splashback echoes the ‘rusty, agricultural look’ Pippa wanted to achieve.

Get the look The kitchen units and island are by Pippa Paton Design. The steel splashback, opposite, is by Eskimo Design. The large glass bottles were found at Appley Hoare Antiques. The Pel wall clock is by Paul Beckett. For an alternative glass pendant, see Original BTC’s Prismatic. Find matching metal bar stools at Made in Design.

Living room

This space, which sits in the new extension, is the first room you see as you enter the house. A half-wall separates it off from the hallway that leads to each barn, without blocking the exterior views.

Get the look The walls are painted in Zoffany’s Silver flat emulsion. Find a large metal wall clock at The Richard Harvey Collection. The wall lights flanking the clock are by Porta Romana. The Deco-style drinks trolley was found at Alfies Antique Market. Find a vintage chaise longue like this at 1stdibs. com. The wooden bench, opposite, was a gift. Solid ID sells similar designs. The sofa is from George Smith and the suede-upholstered chairs are by Pippa Paton Design. The resin flooring is from Senso.

Low-slung sofas and a fur-covered chaise invite lounging. Convivial chairs are just waiting for a conversation to kick off. The vaulted expanse of the dining area is balanced by a cosy snug located near to the stairs. And everywhere, gentle tones of charcoal, buttermilk, caramel and smoke add warmth.


Within an hour of moving in, the couple’s daughter had strung up all her showjumping rosettes.

Get the look The walls are painted in Paint Library’s Spur flat emulsion. The twin antique beds were re-covered in a Nobilis fabric. The bedding is by Marimekko. The table lamp is by Tine K Home. The pendants are by Pippa Paton Design.


It’s Pippa’s outsize pieces that provide the wow factor – the huge cast-bronze cow’s head looming from the gallery and the Seventies Italian chandeliers that drip sensuously from the ceiling in the living area and master bedroom.

On all of her projects, Pippa plots a lighting plan even before the décor.

Get the look For a similar Italian chandelier, visit the Midcentury Modern show. The Louis XV caned bed and bedside table are by Simon Horn. The bedspread is made in Circolo by Ulf Moritz for Sahco.


This is probably the most-used room in any house, so Pippa wanted to make it a surprise to walk into. She loves the challenge of fitting so much into a small space. Her secret: streamlined units, a soothing colour scheme and ‘wow’ features, such as this antique stone trough, converted into a basin.

Get the look The vanity unit and octagonal mirror are by Pippa Paton Design. The tap is from Hansgrohe.

However well planned a house is, it’s the atmosphere it creates and the emotions it evokes that are the real testament to its success. Pippa and Scott have designed a family home that makes a statement while being easy to live in and not too precious.

For more information about Pippa and Scott’s interior design work, go to pippapaton design.co.uk

Photography / James Merrell

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