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A Grand English Estate for the Modern Times

by habituallychic

08 . 25 . 22

One of the best things about fall besides crisp weather, changing leaves, and cashmere sweaters are the great interior design stories online and in magazines. I haven’t been posting that much design this summer because there wasn’t much of anything to post except for some real estate listings. So, I was very excited to see the amazing home of Natalie Massenet and Erik Torstensson in the new WSJ.magazine that will be published on Saturday. But I was even more excited when I realized how many photos they included of their country home Donhead House in Donhead St. Andrew, southwest of London. Not only that but they both posted more photos in their Instagram stories. We rarely get to see this many photos of a house and it feels like a special treat. You can read more about it this weekend in WSJ.magazine or online here.

These photos show the house pre-renovation from Archer Humphryes Architects.

Miranda Brooks was responsible for the gardens and landscaping. The front of the house at night on the left, featuring a mix of phlox, asters, Hesperis, euphorbia, Achillea and lilac beds, planted seasonally by Brooks. Concrete lounge chairs by Willy Guhl amid a garden of Centranthus ruber Albus, erigeron and Jacqueline du Pré roses are on the bottom right.

A collection of Barbour jackets, arranged for guests by room, line the wall of the boot room/flower room.

A vintage sofa by Rose Uniacke re-covered in mohair velvet provides a reading nook in the walkway between the butler’s pantry and the boot room.

A view from the chef’s kitchen pantry, originally part of the garage and fashioned out of white glazed bricks from Wienerberger.

A view into the chef’s kitchen, with a table by Axel Einar Hjorth and pine chairs by Rainer Daumiller.

There is a chef’s kitchen as well as a family kitchen.

A pre-renovation photos of the hall on the left with two other photos of the finished space.

The interior designer for the project was P. Joseph Studio.

In the Yellow Room, sofas and cube chairs designed in 1971 by Charles Pfister for Knoll surround a stone coffee table by Axel Vervoordt. The framed lithograph is by Pablo Picasso. The work on the rear wall is by Imi Knoebel.

“Long before we got together romantically, I had this enormous business crush [on Natalie],” says Torstensson. The couple bought Donhead House in the summer of 2014.

In the Green Room, sofas by Vincent Van Duysen for Arflex flank a bespoke oak table sturdy enough to dance on.

The photo on the left is one of a handful of pre-renovation photos I found of the house. You can see how the window was changed to French doors to the garden. In the Yellow Room, a daybed by Charlotte Perriand next to a polyhedral dry bar by Ico Parisi is a favorite napping spot.

A collection of pottery by Paul Philp ceramics atop a cabinet by Erik Chambert in a corner of the dining room.

A look at the pre-renovated family kitchen on the left and the finished kitchen on the right where a hanging pot rack has been transformed into an indoor garden. 

In a guest bathroom, a lamp by Rose Uniacke hangs above the tub and a 1970s Onde armchair by Étienne Fermigier.

A painting by Francis Bacon sits on the mantel above a matching 1930s sofa and armchair by Märta Blomstedt in the main bedroom of Massenet and Torstensson’s three-room suite.

In the couple’s main bathroom, a vintage Rose Uniacke mirror atop an antique mahogany desk by Josef Frank, used as a vanity, and a Wiggle stool (front) by Frank Gehry.

On the left is a guest bedroom. On the left, a 1950s Italian mirror next to a table by Alvar Aalto for Finmar in the main dressing room. The vase is by Svenskt Tenn.

Firewood lines a portico leading to a garden designed by Brooks.

The outdoor dining pergola, made from reclaimed oak, set for lunch. The area was created by Miranda Brooks using reclaimed stone and with plantings that overlook a reflecting pool.

Massenet and Torstensson added the tennis court, seen here lined by wild oxeye daisies and cenolophium.

The “half moon” swimming pool designed by Miranda Brooks.

In the guest cottage, a chandelier designed by J.T. Kalmar in the 1930s hangs above the dining table.

Interior photos of the guest cottage.