Sunday, July 1, 2012

An English Country House

One of the highlights of our recent trip to the UK was a visit to my cousin's home in the country. Olivia lives with her British husband and five children in a rambling, old house in South East England about an hour from London.

Like many houses of its kind, additions have been made over the years. The tower is one of the earlier portions.

The front door opens into a low-ceilinged, panelled room with a large fireplace in an older part of the house.

By contrast, the living room in a newer wing of the house has a very high ceiling.

Behind the house are two grass, terraced gardens. On either side of the stone walk on the upper level is newly planted lavender, replacing the original that had outgrown its position.

On the lower level is a walled garden laid out like a parterre with four beds, but less formal as the paths between the beds are grass not gravel.

An entrance to the walled garden.

Pink and purple are the dominant flower colors.

Clematis climbs obelisks centered in the beds.

Pink roses and lady's mantle along the lower wall, purple poppies in the foreground.

Below the terraced gardens at the back of the house is a rolling lawn.

The view from the living room - a walk of fragrant, indigo Agastache.

To the right is a rose garden.

Setting out for a walk - my cousin Olivia and my daughter Sophie on the left and me on the right with Olivia's five children.

With the energy and temperment perfect for the mother of a big family, Olivia is creating an idyllic childhood for her brood.

Olivia's husband has recently partnered with a local farmer to cultivate the land around the house which had laid fallow for several years. The fields are now planted with oats.

The property is dotted with farm buildings and this exquisite cottage.

I could happily live out the rest of my days here.

The cottage garden.


  1. Phyllis what a wonderful home and property your sister has with her family. It looks like a faabulous place for kids to grow up on and play. I'm jealous of all her wonderful gardens they're beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    Enjoy your Sunday!

  2. Wow, an idyllic British life in the countryside...dreamy! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Very British! Love the gardens, just my colors! That cottage must be calling your name...

    Have a nice week!

  4. What a wonderful legacy this is. Just about heaven to me. And, you look gorgeous! Big hug, Phyllis

  5. No way!!! Are you kidding?! Awesome! I am almost hyperventilating! Breathe..... More please:)

  6. No way, indeed!! I'm with Brenda!! Seriously? Where are you all hiding Prince Charles? ;)

    Phyllis, I am soooo in love with Olivia's home and garden. And, her children are absolutely gorgeous. What an incredible setting for them to play and, enjoy the English country life. Thank you and Olivia for the tour.

    Cheers from hot and humid DC!

  7. Seriously…this is like a dream….the house is to die for and the grounds are incredible…I for one would probably love the cottage house even more! This is everyone's fantasy! I hope your cousin loves it as much as we all do! What a fun place to visit! so glad you shared this with us! Please keep us updated and you and your daughter are gorgeous! ( as are the cousins!) What a fun, sweet post!

  8. There is nothing to beat an English country garden. What an idyllic lifestyle and the perfect place to raise a large family. What a happy pic of all the gorgeous cousins. X Sharon

  9. Hi Phyllis, oh my goodness, it looks like a movie. And you & your family are the beautiful movie stars. It's a dream! Thank you so much for sharing your visit.
    Have a great week!

  10. Idyllic is definitely the word for it.

  11. exquisite...I need a cousin like Olivia!

  12. Just beautiful....thanks for sharing such special moments....

  13. Just lovely, lovely, lovely...

  14. I am completely enamoured with ever single part of this gorgeous home. What an idyllic life your cousin is creating for her the outdoor area and the gardens...fabulous!!

  15. oh myt goodness, I was swooning at every picture! i love all things english-countryside. is it the horse girl in me? i feel that way about some of the roads out by you. the stone fences, the fields and stately homes. i love this area to be so close to a touch of england :)

  16. Love the gardens...What a beautiful home and family.

  17. "beautiful life" is what I can say for this country house. Phyllis, your sister has a wonderful home and property. Best place to calm the mind. Never seen such a enjoyable photo story.
    - Mehul
    limestone fireplace

  18. What an absolutely idyllic life! Every image is pure beauty. This is my idea of the perfect house and garden - absolutely gorgeous - thank you and your cousin SO much for sharing!
    Paula xxx

  19. Wow!! This is what dreams are made of! I love Everything about it-- the home, gardens, the adorable kids! What a treat this post is. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Hello !
    C'est très beau, la maison, l'intérieur, le jardin ! Magnifique !
    Céline, french watercolorist.

  21. It is easy nowadays to imitate architectural designs, but not the unprecedented feel of an English country home. And your cousin’s house definitely brings out such air. It would be a joy to have a peek inside, though the outside is already a gratifying sight in itself. It must’ve been a really great vacation! :D -->Rodger Ciliberto

  22. Goodness, I want to move right in. What a superb spot on the earth to be! Looks like a great place to bring up children and live out life.


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