A Cotswold house designed with understated glamour by Joanna Wood

When the interior designer Joanna Wood fell for an irresistibly pretty house in the Cotswolds, she was able to put her decorating expertise to good use, sensitively improving the layout and creating effortlessly lovely interiors

Joanna describes the process of reorganising an old house as one of ‘carefully picking apart and putting back together again’. In this instance, she also made a key addition: a wide, single-storey, stone-floored hall, which stretches across the back of the house and links the dairy, now the kitchen, to the rest of the house. At the other end of this new hall, a new secondary staircase leads up to Hattie’s bedroom and bathroom in a rear wing. Below them is the television room, plus the boot room, the cloakroom and the utility room. Opposite the front door, the previous front door opens into the 1720 staircase hall, with the dining room to the right and the drawing room ahead.

Upstairs, the first floor has been restored to its original layout to make a main bedroom and bathroom, and a study, bathroom and dressing room for Charles. Guest bedrooms and bathrooms are on the floor above under the slope of the stone-tiled, steeply gabled roof. The house has expanded, thanks to its new hall and a kitchen far too big, bright and lovely ever to have housed servants, but its period charm remains undisturbed.

Joanna chose Paint & Paper Library’s ‘Quench the Gloom’ paint for a spare room on the second floor, where the shutters are covered in Colefax and Fowler’s ‘Viviers’ linen mix.

Simon Brown

So much for the reorganisation of space. What about the decoration and furnishing? ‘All sackcloth and Claremont,’ says Joanna, pointing out the chair to the left of the drawing room fireplace upholstered in a linen hessian, and the chair on the right in a pure silk velvet – a mix of luxury and practicality that is characteristic of her style.

Much of the furniture came with them, but some things were bought specially, such as the green leaf plates that climb up the tall chimney breast in the double-height kitchen. Joanna also decided to bid for a few of the antiques that had belonged to the previous owners. ‘It was chaotic,’ she remembers. ‘I was watching Hattie compete at a Pony Club event, listening to the Grand National on the radio and bidding by phone. One of the scruffier and least expensive pieces was a desk, which turned out to be by Gillows.’ Perhaps she should also admit to being rather good at multi-tasking.

Joanna Wood: joannawood.com
Johnston Cave Associates: johnstoncave.com