In 1912, British explorer, naturalist, and writer Aubyn Trevor-Battye tasked architects Inigo Trigs and William Unsworth with building his dream home in Hampshire, England. Inspired by the Alhambra, a grand Moorish palace in Granada, Spain, he requested a yellow stucco facade, a red tile roof, arched windows, and a deep connection to the surrounding landscape. He asked for Tuscan columns and ornate, vaulted ceilings, too.
Over 100 years later, most of the original features remain, which is why a family with three teenage children recently purchased the historic property. “It was an absolute gift of a house,” says Tamsin Saunders, the interior designer entrusted with sprucing up the place for the new owners. “It’s so gorgeous. It’s Grade II listed Arts & Crafts. And it’s set on the most amazing grounds, which were designed to feel like a natural garden.”
Tamsin, who recently launched online and by-appointment vintage shop Home & Found, refurbished the home with a light touch. She rewired the electrical system for modern use, freshened up the plasterwork, and decorated with an updated traditional aesthetic that complements the century-old architecture. “We wanted it to feel really timeless and as if it had basically been in the same family forever,” she explains.
By incorporating the clients’ inherited antiques, sourcing Arts & Crafts furniture, and employing a variety of floral patterns, Tamsin successfully achieved this heritage look. Let’s take a tour.
AfterAbove: Integrating the lush green environment into the interior was part of Aubyn’s original brief, so Tamsin aimed to honor that. “The exterior walls are clad with wisteria, so we used Bennison Fabrics throughout because they have that lovely faded timelessness,” she says. “I love their colors. They’re so soft and gentle. It’s all about bringing the outside in. And those windows are just to die for, aren’t they?” Above: In the foyer, a Swedish still-life painting hangs beneath the sweeping staircase, while a large 1930s vase filled with a leafy floral arrangement forges a bond with the outdoors. Above: Tamsin restored the historic hardwood flooring and elaborate plaster ceiling in the living room. She then enhanced the latter with an extravagant chandelier. “I loved it because it’s got the amethyst drops,” she says. “It’s Italian, and everything in it is original. So it’s just gorgeous and it’s got fantastic silver details.” Above: A window bench overlooks the verdant garden and a flowing stream lined with wild garlic. The custom striped cushion is topped with patterned pillows made from vintage textiles. “I don’t like anything that’s solid,” Tamsin says. “I love pattern because it breaks things up. I don’t like anything to really shout out at you, but I like a pattern in a very gentle, organic, natural way. I think things should just quietly resonate or just be really beautiful.” Above: The clients’ inherited antique bureau fits right in. Above: Tamsin paired the original green granite fireplace with an olive velvet wingback chair. “It’s a nice, big, solid chair to hunker down in and not be disturbed when you’re reading the papers in front of the fire,” she notes. Above: In the kitchen, Tamsin replaced the poky 1980s cabinetry with spacious custom inset cupboards. She designed fronts with recessed arch details that mimic the shape of the original door and painted them a warm buttermilk hue inspired by the existing Aga range. “I’m obsessed with joinery,” she admits. “I’m a bit of a frustrated yacht designer. I think storage is sanity, especially if you’ve got a busy family life. Everything should have a place.” Above: The kitchen’s soft chalky gray walls and speckled granite counters nod to the stonework outside.
The copper jelly molds on top of the cabinet are an homage to the nearby Petworth House. “It’s a beautiful English country house quite close by,” she says. “It’s been the same family for generations and they still live there. And in their kitchens, which are open to the public, they have this incredible collection of copper jelly molds.”Above: Tamsin filled the glass cabinet with colorful china and lusterware. Above: The clients already had the wooden dining table and a couple of vintage chairs, so Tamsin simply added a few more. “I like the mismatched look and the robustness of that,” she says. Above: The red and ivory toile upholstered bed already belonged to the clients as well, so Tamsin crafted the primary bedroom around it. She brought in complementary window treatments, a pair of vintage mirrors, needlepoint throw pillows, and a pink polka dot club chair. Above: For the clients’ daughter, Tamsin created a whimsical space with Cole & Son Hummingbirds wallpaper and pale green blinds. “It’s quite a small room, but with a lovely octagonal shape and lovely windows,” she says. “Again, it was bringing the outside in and just having a very gentle pattern that wouldn’t date.” Above: The existing two-toned green marble floors in the family bathroom didn’t need much more than a sage-colored clawfoot tub to feel complete.
BeforeAbove: The bones were there, but heavy curtains and drab furnishings were getting in the way. Above: The brown 1980s kitchen was “pretty awful,” according to Tamsin, who ripped it right out.
For more before and after projects, see: