Norfolk interiors: Pretty cottage in Field Dalling

PUBLISHED: 15:36 26 February 2020

Sofas, original Colefax & Fowler; coffee table from Pakistan; arm chair upholstered by Tariq Sharif Grandford, 01263 740736; side tables and mirrors all India Jane. All other pieces either family items or Kelling Designs 01328 830449 (photo: Tony Hall)

Sofas, original Colefax & Fowler; coffee table from Pakistan; arm chair upholstered by Tariq Sharif Grandford, 01263 740736; side tables and mirrors all India Jane. All other pieces either family items or Kelling Designs 01328 830449 (photo: Tony Hall)

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This month we’re in a pretty little cottage in Field Dalling

Romance is in the air, with Valentine's Day in the middle of the month. So where to go for that romantic break, somewhere special?

May I suggest this month's offering, Poppy Barn, in the grounds of Emma and Nicholas Deterding's wonderful 12th century manor house in Field Dalling, which I featured a little over a year ago.

It is one of two outbuildings both now beautifully converted - the other being the wacky Dairy Barn, with a mural of cows in adjoining fields, painted on an exterior wall. Both are fantastic but Poppy Barn is pure romance.

"Poppy Barn was nothing more than a few walls and a broken roof when we moved to Priory House in 2011," recalls Emma.

"Having obtained planning permission to turn this gorgeous flint and brick barn into a one bedroom, gite-style cottage, we set about renovating this tired beauty together with the outside little seating area. It had once been part of the quad where cattle had been kept up to the early 1990s."

I ask Emma, a well-known interior designer and owner of London and Norfolk-based Kelling Designs and KD2, how she went about the conversion.

Dining chairs, side tables and mirrors all India Jane London; dining table, similar available from Holt Antiques; kitchen units, Hodwens Fakenham 01328 222000 (photo: Tony Hall)Dining chairs, side tables and mirrors all India Jane London; dining table, similar available from Holt Antiques; kitchen units, Hodwens Fakenham 01328 222000 (photo: Tony Hall)

"It was important for us to retain the volume and mass of space, to make it feel both airy and light yet cosy and welcoming for two people," she says.

"The interior layout was set by a balcony bedroom with a one third height glass wall, shower room and a big open plan sitting room with dining area and kitchen. To save space, we put in a circular staircase that gives a flow up to the bedroom floor, complete with super king size bed with a 12 inch mattress, which took several men to install."

Having seen and featured several of Emma's great designs over the years I was interested in the interior design of this barn, particularly the amazing and unusual mural of small flying birds which wraps its way around three walls of the living/dining room, which soars to the apex and has a very special feel.

"I had been to an exhibition of Matisse at The Tate Modern and, loving his style, thought it would be fun to use the technique on the walls, to make them more interesting, rather than flat paint." continues Emma.

"Tony Allen from 'That Vandal', our resident graffiti artist, adapted his talents to create the birds flying around the room.

The view from the sitting area to the mezzanine (photo: Tony Hall)The view from the sitting area to the mezzanine (photo: Tony Hall)

"The walls are painted in Farrow and Ball light blue, moving into the green blue for the bedroom space. Here I tried to pick colours in the curtains, crewel on organza work, bought in India many years ago, for a fabulous headboard.

"It was a chance find, but a fabric which will literally work in any situation. For the living area, I chose two sofas by Colefax & Fowler from the early 1960s, which came from my parents house, as my starting point," says Emma.

"They have stood the test of time. I then added a coffee table found in Pakistan, brought back by my father in 1982, and a large glass- fronted dresser/cabinet which also houses the television.

"It belonged to my great aunt and she kept it in her tack room for years. I had it stripped and painted."

Emma says that a super dining table was another good find, together with dining chairs, side tables and mirrors, all from India Jane.

Old Grain Barn, built in early 1800s, converted in 2012 (photo: Tony Hall)Old Grain Barn, built in early 1800s, converted in 2012 (photo: Tony Hall)

"These are coupled with pieces I had, such as the card table which was grandmother's and others from my own shop." The result now is a luxurious bolt hole, in a lovely quiet setting, making it the perfect little love nest for romance, a break away from it all.

If you want to relax away from the hassle and bustle of busy everyday life or just stay in enjoying the peace and quiet,

this has to be the place. The courtyard is a very relaxing spot for a meal al fresco or perhaps a bottle of bubbly.

I ask Emma what she likes most about this sweet, creative, barn. "My favourite room is the bedroom, as the bed is divinely comfortable and you can look out onto the birds circling the room.

"However it's a difficult choice, as I also love the the volume and space of the living/dining room. The sofas by Colefax & Fowler are a little part of family memories and the birds mural something so entirely different." she says.

Bedding, throw, bedside tables in Farrow & Ball Elephants Breath and bedside lights all Kelling Design. 01328 830449 (photo: Tony Hall)Bedding, throw, bedside tables in Farrow & Ball Elephants Breath and bedside lights all Kelling Design. 01328 830449 (photo: Tony Hall)

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"I am very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the county and although I spend time each week in London at our new showrooms and running my design company, a job I love, it is always a total delight to return to Norfolk every week."

Emma also has a showroom at Priory House, in another old barn, and offices to service local clients. When she gets time she loves walking on nearby Morston Marshes. "It's very therapeutic, being surrounded by nature, the birds, the open expanse of a Norfolk coastal environment. This part of north Norfolk is the best; best people, best views and best food."

"I am delighted to get so many lovely comments from guests staying at Dairy Cottage and Poppy Barn, it makes it all so worthwhile," says Emma. "Poppy Barn is a little home full of memories, with personal pieces of mine, thrown together with people; but it sort of seems to hang together."

Suite from Victoria Plumb (photo: Tony Hall)Suite from Victoria Plumb (photo: Tony Hall)

Poppy Barn, Field Dalling is available for holiday lettings: find it at airbnb.co.uk or contact Kelling Design Norfolk, 01328 830449, London, 0203 8664430 kellingdesigns.com

Factfile

Owners: Emma and Nicholas Deterding.

Property: Grain Barn, converted in 2012.

Built: Early 1800s.

Location: Field Dalling.

Bought: 2011.

Professions: Emma is an interior designer and owner of Kelling Designs and K2, both London and Field Dalling.

Favourite Room: Emma says, 'The bedroom is divinely comfortable and you look out onto the birds circling the room. However I also like the living/dining room as the furniture I have used, mainly family pieces are full of memories.

Favourite item: The sofas, part of history, designed by John Colefax, which still look as good as they did when my parents had them in their drawing room.

Favourite interiors shop: Obviously my own!

Favourite other shop: Back to the Garden Letheringsett.

Favourite part of the county: North Norfolk coast. Best people, best views, best food.

Favourite day out: Antique shopping in Holt.

Favourite walk: Morston Marshes.

Favourite pub: Don't drink, but Langham Bell for fabulous food.

Favourite cafe or restaurant: Wiveton Cafe and Creake Abbey Cafe.

A magical moment in the county: When the sun is setting over Morston and it's a big red circle.

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