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Home visit: a relaxing farmhouse in the country

Life in the countryside has a different kind of pace. Discover how natural materials and conscious choices give this renovated farmhouse its sense of slow living.

A light-coloured living room with a white sofa, wicker chair, wooden beams and floorboards.
A light-coloured living room with a white sofa, wicker chair, wooden beams and floorboards.
A light-coloured living room with a white sofa and rustic wooden coffee table.

Airy, light-filled and finished with a mix of naturally aged and new pieces, Natalie and Dug’s extension is their sanctuary. “This space is our antidote to the modern world,” says Natalie. “We’ve made it a device-free zone, so instead of looking down at our phones, we’re looking up out of the skylights. Our village has dark-skies status because there’s so little light pollution. Sometimes you can see the Milky Way.”

I’m a perfectionist, but having things that are naturally flawed, chipped or worn away – that’s calming to me.

Natalie, Petersfield

This traditional, country-style kitchen supports modern values. Natalie and Dug’s intention was to soften the look of closed cupboards by adding open storage. The unexpected emotional benefit was a fluid and sociable kitchen: “When we have guests over, I love that I’m never really the host in my own home. My family bring their own, get involved and help themselves,” says Natalie.

After living with walls and doors “where walls and doors shouldn’t be”, Natalie and Dug knocked through to open up the living, kitchen and dining areas. They hoped that reconnecting the rooms would reconnect them. “We’ve made a habit of eating together at the table and then migrating over to the sofas,” says Natalie. Using a bench for seating saves space as it can be pushed under the table when not in use.

Making a home is more of an evolution than buying everything immediately. So much of ours is re-sourced and reclaimed. We never want to be wasteful.

Natalie, Petersfield

Choosing the right colour scheme for your sleep habits can be just as important as choosing the right mattress. Natalie found that too much white in the bedroom was keeping her from getting a good night’s sleep. “I did a lot of research about relaxing spaces,” she says. “Natural tones and textiles calm the senses rather than dull them.”

A portrait of Natalie.

How did you end up here?
“Both Dug and I grew up in the countryside and longed to be reconnected with the feeling of nature – it’s in our bones.”

In what ways does your home suit your personality?
“It’s actually the opposite! We both have quite stressful jobs and Dug loves high-octane motocross racing. So our aim was to create laid-back living areas that help us take things down a few notches.”

What does comfort mean to you?
“People might be scared of white sofas, or think that living with light interiors isn’t really living. But for us, it has the opposite effect.”

A floorplan of Natalie and Dug’s home.

The foundations of Natalie and Dug’s home date back to the 1800s. They moved here in 2011 and renovated, favouring period features such as wooden beams and reclaimed floorboards. The downstairs now has the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area with the new extension at the rear. Upstairs has the master bedroom with en suite, guest bedroom, bathroom and office.

    Take a tour of Natalie and Dug’s farmhouse renovation.

    We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

    Made by
    Interior stylist: Carl Braganza
    Photographer: Dan Duchars
    Follow Natalie on Instagram: @laid_back_farmhouse