Anna Haines brings harmony to a former vicarage outside Bath

The sense of peacefulness that so enticed 19th-century city dwellers is perfectly embodied at this former vicarage in Combe Down This was the feeling that Anna Haines wanted to evoke when she revitalised the Grade II-listed former rectory on the outskirts of Bath. From the predominantly pale palette of natural hues to the layering of antique textiles, her choices have brought harmonious charm to its interiors.

Dark Crittall windows, finished in a burnished deep brown, give views onto the back garden on two sides, and provide a stylish contrast with the pale limestone flagstone floor. A ‘Christie Rise & Fall’ ceramic pendant light from Original BTC hangs above the oak dining table with an oak and patinated steel bench, both by North Lane Works, teamed with a set of ‘Wishbone’ chairs by Hans J Wegner belonging to the owners. A bespoke water-reed rug from Tim Page Carpets completes the textured scheme.

Mark Anthony Fox

At the front of the house, a former garage was turned into a much needed laundry and utility room, while all the bathrooms were reconfigured and fitted out with sanitaryware from The Water Monopoly. The stables became an office, and the coach house was turned into a one-bedroom space with its own kitchen and dining area, providing self-contained accommodation for guests. This is so charming, I found myself pleading with the owners to turn it into a holiday let.

Key to how the house evolved was Bath-based building company Wraxall, known for its historic renovations. Floors were painstakingly restored and new elements were introduced using traditional materials that will allow the building to breathe. Anna called on Patrick Williams, the Bath-based designer behind Berdoulat, to create an unfitted kitchen, describing his input as ‘the icing on the cake’. The result is a beautiful, relaxed space that complements his ‘Cook’s Table’, with textured plaster walls and a wooden floor salvaged from a station. ‘Patrick is a building whisperer,’ says the owner.

Patrick Williams of Berdoulat was commissioned to plan the room and has used many pieces that he designed, including the plate rack and a stand for the sink, plus a drawer unit in ‘Berdoulat Green’ – a paint colour he created with Farrow & Ball. The antique housekeeper’s cupboard was sourced from Adam Lloyd Interiors.

Mark Anthony Fox

When it came to the palette, Anna kept it simple. ‘The owners really felt the bones of the house and didn’t want to upset the flow with any sudden, pronounced colour,’ she says. But, like a good designer, she gradually steered them towards stronger, earthier tones. In the boot room, built-in cupboards are in Edward Bulmer Natural Paint’s ‘Etruscan Brown’ while the snug’s walls are a soft green. ‘It was about adding richness to create pockets of interest,’ explains Anna. Another pocket is the spare room, where the walls are covered in a bespoke, pared-back version of Tess Newall’s ‘Herbarium’ wallpaper. ‘Anna was fantastic at encouraging me to think beyond my comfort zone,’ the owner admits happily.

In the spare room, Woodwork in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Lichen’ frames a custom version of Tess Newall’s ‘Herbarium’ wallpaper. Charles Burger’s ‘Sauvageonne’ toile in daim from Turnell & Gigon was used to cover the antique French armchair.

Mark Anthony Fox

In terms of furniture, Anna started more or less from scratch, as the house called for pieces of scale to temper the high ceilings. A large pedimented bookcase was built bespoke for the sitting room, while antique pieces were sourced from some of Anna’s favourite dealers – including Dean Antiques, The French House and Howe London. Texture was crucial to Anna’s vision, which she introduced through pieces such as the pair of deconstructed armchairs in the sitting room, as well as the antique textiles that weave their way through the house as rugs and upholstery fabrics. In the snug, for instance, the cushions of a custom-made sofa are covered in a jajim, while the sitting room sofas are upholstered in antique linen sheets from Susan Deliss.

Everyone involved, quite rightly, is thrilled with the final result and had a great time along the way. ‘I feel as though I have made a friend having worked with Anna,’ the owner enthuses. ‘We were all on the same page and it was such a joyful project to be part of,’ Anna adds. After all, isn’t that what creating a harmonious home should be about?

Anna Haines Design: