THE SHEEP HOUSE
A rare timber and brick sheep barn, this was converted into a house in the 1920’s and became home to the London and Rye literati, even playing host to Laurence Olivier’s love affair with Vivien Leigh.
Our new gardens surround the recently renovated house, which has been beautifully updated in hand made Kent brick and oak. The entrance is dramatic as you come down a long avenue of Monterey pines, and here we have created a new entrance and parking area, moving cars away from the house.
The house is then set in a garden full of colour, with a formal lawn punctuated with clipped Quercus ilex and exuberant borders. On the west of the house a thyme walk runs from a tall cathedral window through a bespoke oak and iron arch to a sculptural focal point deep in the garden. Areas of the garden are enclosed with walls and stilted hornbeam hedge to create shelter and seclusion, in turn opening up to dramatic views of the stunning Brede Valley. A Sissinghurst style rusted rose arbour looks out onto the view through a wild flower walk which leads to the walled potager.
Here we designed a contemporary fruit arbour in oak and iron, lined with heritage varieties of Kent cordon fruit and underplanted with lavender as a companion plant. Rustic oak raised beds and a large greenhouse provide fresh produce for the family, and there is a potting shed built by craftsmen in the same style as the house. We also created an orchard underplanted with a wildflower meadow and a gentle walk through a nuttery of local philiberts and Kentish cobs.
In collaboration with Jonathan Gale Architects.