Isolation or blissful seclusion?

Interior Designer Lara Clarke has ensured that anyone lucky enough to stay at Asher House, a recent Barr Group renovation project, would unequivocally claim the latter.

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It was a delight and a privilege to work to the designs of Lara Clarke, on a whole house of bespoke joinery and cabinetry. One of the trademarks of a Lara Clarke Interiors project, is her bespoke joinery design; every inch is considered and no stone is left unturned. As such, the Asher House project, was destined to be a highly successful designer/cabinet maker collaboration.

Lara, in her refreshingly calm, unflappable way, made this hugely detailed project seem wonderfully uncomplicated. With a background in high-end luxury interiors, having trained at KLC and worked for a niche, high-profile international design house, Lara is well-practiced in producing high specification client-focused designs.

Barr Joinery team worked alongside Barr Kitchens and Barr Build, as well as HollandGreen Architects and, of course, Lara Clarke Interiors, to reinvent, remodel and renovate this beautiful Oxfordshire stone cottage.

We asked the Barr Group team to share their favourite nooks and here is their shortlist:

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1) The kitchen - delightfully in keeping with the rest of the property, follows a restful traditional design. Inset door panels stick strictly to a flat frame shaker script, with just the lightest touch of mouldings to the cooker hood and plinth top. A classic stainless steel Laconche oven, with its distinctive four-prong control bar, mirrors the brass tap set opposite and the inset American fridge freezer below. At the dining end of the kitchen, a double pantry faces a stand-alone glazed dresser style piece, which is scribed to the wall for the perfect fit. The island is clad with an in-frame tongue and groove detail and in-built shelving. The soft green-grey pantone in a hand-painted finish contrast with the stark white Caesarstone worktops.

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2) The Snug - has a cosy corner for everyone. What could make a space more inviting than old beams, original stone walls and features like this little aperture with a mirror inset and its exposed old timber lintel… well, a sofa that you can sink into and some warm inset lighting in this case. The Cottage Snug literally hugs one in!

3) The Games Room is a true grown-up play space. It has its own bar complete with made to measure drinks cabinet, bar stools, open fire and pool table - the ultimate evening getaway. We may be missing our local village pubs or city bars but Asher House residents certainly have the next best thing! Recruit a family member and escape for a whiskey or G&T!

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4) Equally special is the childrens play space, situated right next to the kitchen – away from the melee but close to the main hub. A place where toys can be delightfully strewn without being in the way, furnishings are sized for the comfort of little legs and storage keeps messy play items away from little hands!

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5) The Master Bedroom has gone from dark and lifeless to airy and inviting thanks to HollandGreen Architects’ remodeling. Vaulting the ceiling of this gable end room has transformed the space. Barr Joinery used white oiled oak to build tailor-made wardrobes and laddered loft access. The floor to ceiling cabinetry not only maximises storage but also provides a seamless feature wall. In addition, Lara designed an innovative upholstered TV solution for the foot on the four postered master bed.

6) The Master Ensuite, cleverly designed around a stone feature wall so that the roll-top bath sits within the room - but the WC and shower remain hidden from view. Exposed beams and statement lighting finish the look.

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7) Last but certainly not least, the pool house is the Asher House pièce de résistance. Positioned poolside, with a view across rolling Oxfordshire fields, it is attached to the main house and accessed by an old external window… the perfect entertaining hatch. A Cotswold stone plinth, matched to that of the main house, supports the reclaimed chunky timber, handpicked by the Barr Group team - forming the frame of the solid 'old barn style’ structure. A traditional tiled roof and guttering mean that it is usable in all weather and a wood burner keeps its outside diners’ cosy on cooler evenings. Rustic furnishings give it a warm homely feel, with large window mirrors reflecting the pool and the stunning wild planting beyond.

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