Friday 27 February 2015

Stoneywell: a magical Arts and Craft home

Last year when we went off for a little holiday down in the South East, we joined the National Trust. It's a year long membership, so we're on a mission to see as much as we can in that time.
Today we visited the most wonderful house; Stoneywell, an Arts and Crafts gem, designed by the architect Ernest Gimson for his brother. I love residences which are on a really domestic scale. It's much easier to see how people lived than in a great stately home.

This one is in the perfect location, set in the middle of the plot, with nobody else around.
Chanelling Fragonard's The Swing.

A swing from a tree is just so romantic, my dream house would definitely have one.

This was their summerhouse, where the family would decamp for the warm months, and the overwhelming feeling is that this is a house in which to have fun. The garden has tennis courts, a woodland for the children to run wild in and a garden which is the antithesis of formal.

Window seats, that's another one for the dream house. Add in open fires, and beautiful wooden floors and we're making some nice progress.

The house is build in a valley, on bedrock. The steps are hewn out of the rock. Everything about the house feels so organic. It's the lack of straight lines and the use of natural materials. All the walls are white as decreed by the architect, and there is lots of oak and stone from the nearby quarry.

The architect also designed a lot of the furniture. Everything fits together so well. I have a new found affection for this movement, the furniture is so simple in its lines, but beautiful in its handmade construction. Kind of reminds me of the mid century stuff which is so popular at the moment.
Imagine walking up those stairs to bed if you were a little bit tipsy! I love the red velvet cushions with the mossy green candlewick bedspread.

The front door. All the doors are made from beautiful pieces of wood and have so much character. That second door leads down into a pantry. You know that's going on the ideal home list.
This was a house built with children in mind. There are so many child sized nooks and crannies, there is so much room to run around in and, one of my favourite things; there are so many sets of stairs, that you could go up one set, run around and then come down another. As the house is built into the landscape, it ends up on different levels. In the master bedroom, you can climb out of the window into the garden.

Books arranged in nooks and crannies, and chairs everywhere for the family to sit down and get absorbed in them. I've never been much of a fan of William Morris textiles, but they fitted in well here. 
The eponymous stoney well. Prospective brides marrying into the family had to jump that well as a kind of initiation. Unless they were Olympians with the legs of Serena Williams, I suggest they all ended up wet. That little round building reminds me of buildings in France.
Vintage Austrian dirndl found on a day charity shopping in Bristol with my friends Helen and Sian. Clogs bought in Stockholm, neon pink tights from the market, stripy top and cardi from the chazza, bag from Em, gloves from Curtise
The inspiration for my outfit today was Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, when she was prentending to be a marionette. 

What do you see? You people staring at me?
Car picnic! We could have gone to the tea shop and had some cake, but instead we took our packed lunch and found some woodland to park up in. Flask coffee, one of my true loves. If you ever want to see me smile, simply offer me food.

I often think of houses as characters in their own right, with their own personalities. When I watch films, I pay as much attention to the setting as the characters and plot. This house was happy, fun-loving and very relaxed. 

How about you? I'd love to hear, what's on the list for your dream house?


Sarah Jane said...

Is this actually a holiday home? It looks so lived in. Beautiful place

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful day out. Perfect time to visit too when it is not rammed to the rafters with people.
You look great in your outfit - that's what I see! Xx

Fiona said...

What a charming and interesting house Tania, I love its rusticity.
It must have been a wonderful place for those children to explore...and you, obviously. I can just imagine sitting on a sun-soaked window seat flicking through those old books and gazing dreamily at the colourful art on the walls. I'm loving this outfit btw, especially those FAB pink tights. xx

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Tania,

This looks to have been the perfect day out.

National Trust membership is a wonderful thing to have since it really does make one look up properties and investigate them, even places that one would not have tried normally. And, as is usually the case, one can be very pleasantly surprised by what one finds.

Stoneywell looks to be a gem. So many nooks and crannies to explore, and, as you say, one can relate so much more easily to places which are on a more domestic scale. It just looks as if one could move in for the weekend!

The National Trust does do sterling work in preserving the nation's heritage. At times we find it rather too 'precious' but better that than as here in Hungary where the most wonderful of buildings are in a parlous state.

mondoagogo said...

Oooh, this looks like my kind of place, I love buildings on all sorts of levels, and the swing reminds me of my great aunt's garden :)

Hmm... dream houses. Right now I'd settle for a balcony, more cupboards, a bathroom with natural daylight, and friendlier neighbours!

There are a couple of NT houses near me here in London, come and visit them! (and me!)

Sue said...

What a perfect home, I WANT IT!! You of course must have a swing. I had a book full of ideas for my dream home, far too many to go into one home, but dreams are free so I keep dreaming.

Vix said...

I do love an Arts and Crafts house! As I grew up in one they instantly transport me to childhood with the dark and cosy interiors and the simple furniture. I'd move in there right away!
You look like you belong there, too. Lady of the manor! xxx

Peaches McGinty said...

There is so much perfection here!!! I'm with you on a garden swing and everything else, those stairs would be a hilarious ascent if tipsy although the walls would be a welcome buffer. I always love books stuffed everywhere, even if I don't read them (I'm an awful reader)and you are Truly Scrumptious! I love dirndls like you wouldn't believe, and car picnics too x x x

Curtise said...

I'm late to comment, aren't I? Bad me, catching up, catching up...
Stoneywell is gorgeous, I love all the details you've picked out to show us. It looks light and cosy, I love the window seat and all the steps, and I knew you would be drawn to that artwork with the kiddiewinkies!
Ha, I'm trying to imagine you hopping over that well in your clogs - do you think you'd make it, Tan, if you had the incentive of making an honest fella of Mr Q?!
Flask coffee is a joy, isn't it? And so are you in your dirndl and bright tights! Love the pic of you getting your Fragonard on too!
My dream house? Hmm, plenty of cats, arched windows, and a dressing room please! xxx

Ivy Black said...

Beautiful! I'd live there no problem. Look at you on the swing! I do love a swing but I can't jump off when I'm done like I used to. Mind you, I'm not eight anymore...only in my head! I'd love a tree swing too. Can't have one at home or I'd end up smacking in to the fence.
You do look like you belong there.

I have nice earworm for the day and luckily I know all the words. I used to copy the dance too. Again, not eight anymore!!

Connie said...

A grassy, flowery field for running free, a big bathtub and endless reliable hot water. These are just a few of the things on my very long perfect home list. Though this house comes very close to perfect. You are so lucky to live in an area with such beautiful historic buildings. And can we talk about your shocking pink tights?! Beautiful!!!!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I LOVE that picture of you on the swing!!!!!

tree said...

First of all, I LOVE your fashion! :) Secondly I love the beauty of the house and swing. And those steps.....COOL! :)

Anonymous said...

Ps Love the photo of you with your packed lunch. Hula Hoops are clearly good for you! That is why they are also a staple food in my diet! :)) xx

diaryofapennypincher said...

Ooh, I'm in the National Trust too, looks like a fab place to visit! I much prefer the smaller properties to the huge stately homes, you really get a feel for life in them.