Julia Barnard’s beautiful barn is a showcase for her love of rich tiles and treasured memorabilia
Country home interior. AT HOME WITH…
OWNER Interior designer Julia Barnard lives here with her daughters, Rose, 24, Helena, 21, Margaret, 17, and Plum their Jack Russell. They moved into this lovely contry home in 2004..
HOUSE This beautiful UK country home is a Victorian barn conversion.
ROOMS Main open-plan space featuring living area, dining area and kitchen, hall/library, cloakroom, study, four bedrooms, two bathrooms.
Julia’s home was originally the dairy for the nearby farmhouse. She began planting her own garden, which is almost mature after seven year’s work, as soon as she bought her country home in UK.
The tiny Somerset hamlet of 17-or-so properties nestling in idyllic, quintessentially English countryside, had a strong emotional pull for Julia Barnard and her three daughters. The problem was they needed a larger house. Julia happened to come across a barn conversion nearby that belonged to an architect from Oman. ‘He was using it as a English holiday home, but was rarely there and, luckily for us, he was prepared to sell.’
The barn conversion in Somerset was certainly different from Julia’s previous English house, a turreted property with small rooms, just along the lane. By contrast, her new house, which had been the dairy to nearby farmhouse, was the perfect family home with its vast, light, sociable, open-plan living and dining space – and Julia and the girls loved it immediately.
However, the barn conversion was, Julia admits, something of a paradox because the country home interior was only partially finished. It had been converted 15 years previously but curiously there were beautiful, ornate, custom-made cupboards in situ, but no plaster on the walls and concrete floors. This didn’t put Julia off, however “The open-plan country home style of the house wasn’t something I was looking for or had considered before,’ she says. ‘ It was just pure chance. Although, as soon as I saw such a lovely UK Country Homes, I thought: “Why haven’t thought of living like this before?”’
The first thing Julia did was gut the building, ripping out the old kitchen and bathroom, and plaster throughout.
Country home interior: SITTING AND DINING AREA
Julia’s love of textiles and colour is also apparent from her eclectic mix of furniture, fabrics and accessories. Red floral tub chair fabric, Christopher Moore. Cherry refectory table and banches, Robert Grothier. Wood burner, Woodman Stoves. Solid reclaimed maple floor, Wacot Reclamation. Walls, Lead I by Paint & Paper Library.
Country home interior: SITTING AREA
The maple cupboards were custom-made and already in situ. The sofas and chairs were bought at auction and the window seat cushion was embroidered by Margaret. The freestanding solid oak bookcase was made for Julia by a cabinet maker.
Country home interior: KITCHEN
Julia has transformed the room into a friendly, informal space for cooking and eating. She commissioned a cabinet maker to create the tall, curved oak cupboard. The beech table is painted in String by Farrow & Ball. Pan hanger, Dinghams. Chair fabric, similar from Larsen. Curtains, Julia Barnard Walls.
Once the work was done, Julia was able to concentrate on country home interior – she has a head start on most people because she learned her trade as an interior designer, working closely with the late Laura Ashley and her husband.
Orange and red are key colours throughout her country home interior and Julia has used them because she finds rich shades warm, welcoming and invigorating. ‘They are the colour of happiness,’ she says. ‘When thinking about interior design, adding texture and attern with natural sustainable materials can be important too but, really, if you have a neutral canvas, it’s all about choosing what you like.’
Country home interior: LIBRARY
Julia has created a haven of peace away from the open-plan living area. Bookshalves, made to Julia’s design, painted in Lead I by Paint & Paper Library.
Country home interior: BATHROOM
A subtle backdrop emphasizes the drama of this luxurious freestanding bath. French copper bath Drummonds. Walls, Lead III by Paint & Paper Library.
COUNTRY CLASSIC COPPER BATH
Copper baths make a wow statement. They weigh around 45 kg (compared with cost iron, which can weigh 160 kg) and maintain heat wonderfully. Try William Holland.
Country home interior: BEDROOM
Julia’s bed was custom-made by a cabinet maker from local oak and the curtains were printed by Julia’s grandmother when she was at art school. Bed linen, Toast. Quilt, Julia Barnard. Solid maple flooring, similar from Hardwood Floor Store.