If you’re planning a big reunion for when the restrictions lift, you’ll want to find a special place to mark the occasion. Anna Burles from interior design firm Run For The Hills, tells us how they transformed two unlovely barns into a chic and comfortable holiday rental with none of the Cotswold clichés
THE DOUBLE-HEIGHT DINING ROOM FEATURES HANS WEGNER WISHBONE CHAIRS AND IMARNI CHANDELIERS FROM ANTHROPOLOGIE. IMAGE: PHILIP DURRANT
There are so many holiday rentals in the Cotswolds – how did you want to set Anthology Farm apart?
As London designers, we were given the mission of bucking the ‘Cotswold look’, but at the same time not alienating people who like that style and certainly not forcing a ‘London’ look on these beautiful heritage properties. We wanted to design a relaxedly glamorous and welcoming scheme for a grand but cosy short-stay-getaway. We’re proud to have injected an eclectic new design language into the space with our styling, making it a cooler-than-average countryside escape. We stepped outside the expected ‘Cotswold’ look, with ten individually designed bathrooms and bedrooms, each designed with a particular guest in mind. For party-goers, there’s a giant dining table for more than 30 people to wine and dine together. For couples, there are romantic, under-the-eaves bedrooms with baths within the room. Our design showcases the exposed Cotswold stone and wooden beams, celebrating the farm’s history.
The tones and textures really root Anthology Farm in its setting. How did you do that while still managing to keep it feeling modern?
There are a lot of Cotswold hotels and barn-stays which have been designed in an identikit beige way, so we used more colour. We also used lots of quirky props and artefacts in the scheme which feel very welcoming but also eclectic, and added a shot of decadent fringing at the base of cocktail chairs and dressing table pouffes for glamour. Where we used layered, tactile, neutral fabrics and upholstery, we accented their lightness with black, iron and brass metal accents to keep thing luxurious.
ONE OF THE TWO KITCHENS AT ANTHOLOGY FARM. THE CABINETS ARE PAINTED IN STUDIO GREEN BY FARROW & BALL AND THE RATTAN STOOLS ARE FROM COX & COX. THE RISE AND FALL LIGHTS ARE FROM THE FRENCH HOUSE. IMAGE: PHILIP DURRANT
LEFT: THE MINSTRELS GALLERY ABOVE THE DINING ROOM. RIGHT: ORIGINAL PIECES OF ART CREATED BY RUN FOR THE HILLS’ ARTIST RITA NICOLAU IN THE KITCHEN / DINING ROOM OF THE BARN. IMAGES: PHILIP DURRANT
What were the barns like when you started the project?
The barns, can you believe, were set up as 1970s-style offices when we started. It was a rabbit warren of suffocatingly small meeting rooms in cheap dark stained wood, and narrow corridors. There was a royal blue carpet throughout – just awful! The architect had done a really lovely master plan to open up the rooms as much as possible, removing a mezzanine floor in the larger barn to make the amazing double height dining room.
You commissioned, sourced and created a huge number of artworks for the project. What would your advice be for people choosing art for their homes?
We curated more than 100 pieces of art for the project, some from high street galleries, online art shops and fashion stores. Others were vintage pieces picked up at antique fairs and quite a swathe were also designed by us in-house by our graphic designers and illustrators. In terms of advice, I’d suggest starting by creating a Pinterest Board with styles of art that they like, maybe by room or location too, thinking about where they might go and what the decoration might be around them. Once you’ve got that grounding, you can jump off to find actual pieces of art which fit that style at your budget. ArtFinder and Saatchi Art are great websites where you can key in the size you’re looking for and the cost and type of work.
A FAMILY BEDROOM, FEATURING NOOK BEDS BUILT INTO THE EAVES. IMAGE: PHILIP DURRANT
LEFT: ONE OF TEN BATHROOMS AT ANTHOLOGY FARM. RIGHT: A TWIN BEDROOM. IMAGES: PHILIP DURRANT
Can you share any of the designers or stores you sourced the furniture and accessories from?
We sourced lots of the lovely furniture and accessories from some of our beloved suppliers including Nkuku (sustainable and so cool!), lighting from the wonderful Pooky, accessories and furniture from Design Vintage and Soho Home among others as well as lots of vintage furniture and one-off bathroom vanities. With 10 bedrooms, all different, all with different beds and furniture, you can imagine what a task that was to make them all different, but we were determined!
The idea of a group holiday is tantalising at the moment. Covid has obviously put a pause on stays at Anthology Farm but when it opens up again, what do you think it will be able to offer families and friends reuniting after so many months apart?
You will feel safe to be in a spacious self-catering home from home, with a swimming pool and rolling hills to get lost in. We wanted families to feel very considered within the design of the barns and the inter-connected rooms for parents and toddlers with their own family-bathroom offer privacy. The nook beds were designed to give parents a stylish kids-in-the-room sleep solution which is a bit more charming than just a sofa bed and offers somewhere for the little ones to play hide and seek. We also thought the nooks would bring out the inner child in all of us, for people to want to kick back, read a book and pull the curtain for a midday snooze. Even when it’s lashing down outside with English summer rain, you’ll feel so special somewhere like this, and you can gather around the giant dining table for an all-day feast followed by a cosy evening in the cinema with cocktails later on.
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