The focal point is the fine antique pine mantelpiece taken from one of the rooms in Bruern Abbey. Clustered round it are a comfortable chesterfield in green Lelievre velvet with a handsome old paisley shawl slung over the back, and a couple of chairs upholstered in Mulberry paisley. The cosiest place on a cold day is the club fender in front of the open fire, or the big paisley ottoman strategically placed for trays or magazines on the needlework rug. Beside the fire on the left is a tall glazed Victorian bookcase in stripped pine, and on the other side a desk. Above it all gleams the brass of a Dutch six-light candelabra.
The kitchen area is paved with pale terracotta tiles laid diagonally, and the centrally placed pine island unit, which houses the microwave, is surfaced half in granite and half in pine, with sockets built-in for appliances. It was specially designed to take the machines – like the food processor – which are too heavy and bulky to store in the cupboard units, and to give a good large extra work surface. Over it hangs an oval wrought iron rack for saucepans and utensils. The units are painted warm ivory, and topped with brown granite, and there’s a row of highly decorative Mason’s Ironstone plates above.
The master bedroom is on this floor, its mahogany four-poster magnificently dressed in ochre-and-cream silk, striped with watery blues and greens. There’s a 19th century mahogany chest of drawers, and a rosewood desk with a deep green leather top, made by Terence Conran as a young man, pre Habitat. The ensuite bathroom is painted the same buff as the bedroom and there’s a power shower over the bath. The pièce de resistance is a fine old marble-topped French washstand in pitch pine, brought over from Normandy.
The stairs are lined with old animal prints. In the upstairs bedroom, there are two single four-posters dressed in a blue-and-white ProvenÃ§al print, and an antique blue-and-white faux bamboo table. The walls are off-white, and the en suite wet room is tiled in marble from floor to ceiling. There is a power shower and washstand running across under the window.
Down a flight of stairs outside is a large terrace, with a wonderful view of the lawns and the long border of the walled garden. Rose- and clematis- covered trellises on both sides combine with beds full of viburnums, roses, phlox and lilies to give privacy for al fresco dining. This is luxury self-catering after all.