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The Making of Ellesmera Mill

Posted to Guest Bloggers by Siobhan on 4th September 2017

There is no doubting that Ellesmera is in a truly beautiful spot, one of the best to be inspired by nature and all that is around it, and as an interior designer I love that! You have a natural place to start with your design theme. The house is nestled into a valley with a bubbling brook running the length of the garden, with one of the most beautiful beaches ever just a short walk away. 

Working closely with the owner of the property, we went first to the Design Centre in London to scout out gorgeous fabrics for sofas, curtains and headboards to base our scheme around. 

The owner of this magical mill house has a long relationship with the property and her children have grown up here, so it was even more important that we renovated the home sympathetically. Every property is different and so too is every owner, but the owner of this property is truly special and was so full of energy for the large task ahead. Our shopping trips over the course of nine months ranged from London to Morocco, with plenty of flea markets and antique shops thrown in for good measure! At times this was an exhausting process with incredibly early starts and very late nights, but we smiled and laughed throughout. 

Ellesmera Mill is now full of a well-curated selection of treasures - the fruits from those trips - from ancient fossils used as display objects, to a beautiful butterfly encased in lucite, to a 300-year old door mounted on metal legs and used as a coffee table. The rugs, of course, were all sourced in Morocco and matched perfectly to the fabrics painstakingly chosen in London. A firm favourite was a Ralph Lauren fabric called Antibes; this fitted in well with the scheme as the house has a certain French feel to it. 

Our original colour scheme for the living room was chosen based on the colours of the wonderful ochre glazed confit pots - so of course we had to source one of those too. 

Our rooms all had themes and my favourite room still changes day by day but I love the calm of the white room. Although the room is white, there are over five different shades of white paint used as well as numerous white fabrics and textiles. There's a white animal hide that the owner found on an early morning scavenger hunt at Kempton Market, which we asked our upholsterer to put on a cute little bedroom chair. It looks stunning and suits the room perfectly, where sheer Mark Alexander curtains waft in the breeze behind. 

Working with a property in the South West of England and so close to the sea meant one of the most important things had to be designing the outside space - making sure this was as special as the inside and providing lots of areas for larger groups to both relax and have fun in. This was the really fun bit.

We put a wood burning hot tub on some beautiful reclaimed slate slabs at the back of the house and at the front, a huge rustic deck. It was important that the decking was in-keeping with the ethos of the house and didn’t look too new or modern, or even too much like decking. Some wonderful sawn Douglas Fir was sourced locally and hammered down with nails that would naturally rust over time... and voila! The decking looks as though it has been there as long as the shutters.

The outside wood and boat store was turned into a very special outside living room complete with wood burning stove and sheepskin rugs. I can imagine nowhere better to enjoy a rainy summer's evening where you can be outside in the elements, whilst remaining cosy and warm under the twinkling string lights. 

Properties featured in this article: Ellesmera Mill

4th September 2017
by Siobhan


Siobhan is a freelance Interior Designer and Stylist who works from her home office on wild and rugged Dartmoor.

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