Inspiration of the Week: respecting the fabric of a Wealden hall house
This Tudor home in Suffolk has been sensitively treated and elegantly enriched, creating a beautiful backdrop for the wondrous wares of its art-dealer owner
How do you keep an early 15th-century house alive? The current owners of Tudor House, which recently came on the market, will doubtless have asked themselves this question. The building, a timber-framed beauty with medieval origins, still retains a generous clutch of original details, from its moulded beams, wooden doors and ancient fireplaces to its panelled shutters and brick floors. Each of these has been kept, cared for and celebrated.
To do so, the current owners, an art dealer and his wife, have sensibly called in the experts. Among them is Timothy Easton, a specialist on East Anglian vernacular architecture, whose knowledge of Wealden hall houses (named for the forest that once covered the area) has been brought to bear here, helping the owners to paint a picture of the building’s past.
Extensive research by other professionals has revealed some jewel-like details: the prevalence of wood in the structure, for instance, might be a result of the availability of timber following the dissolution of the monasteries and their woodlands. The owners also consulted Pedro da Costa Felgueiras, a pro in the world of historic paints, about possible restoration choices for the future, to ensure the house’s palette will remain true to its heritage.
A delicious denouement of all this historical integrity and attention to detail is that, naturally, the house looks sensational. It commands a particular presence that somewhere souped-up and shiny perhaps couldn’t – and it makes a fitting framework for the exceptional furniture and objects that are its owner’s stock in trade. While an oak flat-backed chair would look wonderful pretty much anywhere, there’s something to be said for placing one – or three – against the marching rhythm of a Tudor hall…
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