Thursday, March 16, 2017

A boho home decorated for reflection

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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

Emma Clarke saw a picture of Northwood Lodge in Kent County, Great Britain, in an agent’s window and knew immediately she’d found her forever boho home. “It looked like a child's drawing with a pointy roof and pretty casement windows," says the former UK Film Council executive. “I was immediately obsessed with it."

The building was built as a lodge for a larger country house and had also been used as a carriage house. Clarke’s renovation outfitted it with private and guest quarters (available for rent on Airbnb) and nary a room without several mirrors and crystal chandeliers. She bought the property soon after her mother died, when, by her own admission, she needed a distraction. The lodge’s proximity to beautiful Herne Bay makes it the perfect place for both distraction (of the vacation sort) and literal and figurative reflection.


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David Mereweather photo / Wealden Times

Note the mirrored pendants hanging over the dining table in Clarke’s private quarters. The large great room was once where carriages were parked and still has a hatch to the hayloft between the heavy oaked beams, now whitewashed. Some days this long farmhouse table sports potted plants…


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Sawday's

…and other days it’s dressed in flowers from the gardens just outside the room's windows and French doors.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

The private living area is full of comfy furniture…


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

…and a vast quantity of wildly different styles of art, as is the entire lodge. (And don’t forget mirrors and crystal. Lots of both!) 


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

There’s so much to look at that it’s easy to miss Sidney, whose head is mounted above the doorway in this photo. Sidney once was a tiger, of course, but he was also one of her father’s many photography props. Here, he gives Clarke’s domestic cat something to aspire to.


All the comforts of home for guests


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David Merewether  photo / Wealden Times

Just across the hall from Clarke’s private space is a sitting room for guests, the boundary adroitly marked by a mirror on the guest side and a crystal chandelier on the private side.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

But not to worry. It, too, is filled with everything signature Emma: lots of comfy furniture, books, games, and other entertainment, as well as more mirrors and crystal.


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Sawday's

From the guest’s sitting room you get a peek into the kitchen.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

Then it’s onto the dining room where Emma serves up her legendary breakfasts, often made with ingredients from her extensive garden and served with a side of (what else?) mirrors and crystal.


From breakfast to the bed part of this B&B


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

Clarke’s eclectic art collection continues up the stairs to the two guest bedrooms. (Don't miss the large, gold-framed mirror at the foot of the stairs!)


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

Clarke calls this guest room the flower room, and it is decidedly the more feminine of the two.


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Sawday's

There are TWO mirrors in this photo…


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

…and a THIRD mirror on the other side of the bed, behind the flowers.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

Notice the tin garden table repurposed as a nightstand.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

Clarke calls the second bedroom, outfitted in red, her nod to Jane Eyre.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

“The first thing I did was to paint the floor red," Clarke says. “My friends thought I'd finally lost it, but once it was done I could stand back and see what we needed and how it was going to work.” 


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Sawday's

And work it does, I think you’ll agree.


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Sawday's

Ah, to sit back and enjoy some tea in that wing chair, kept company by yet another mirror, this time tableside.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

The shared guest bath continues the red theme in the previous bedroom, as well as the mirror theme in the entire house.


Clarke’s sleeping ‘loft’


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David Merewether photos / Wealden Times

These stairs at the far end of the upstairs hallway lead to Clarke’s private sleeping quarters in what was once the lodge's hayloft.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

But apart from the now whitewashed oak beams and the ceiling clips, it’s anything but rustic looking now. A bath was built into the room and enclosed by glass panels.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

Clarke brought the bed all the way from the United States.


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David Merewether photo / Wealden Times

The mirrors in this room reflect jewelry, hats, flowers and so many more of the owner’s keepsakes.


A breath of fresh air and more 


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Sawday's

I had to look beyond my source story to find views of the lodge's exterior, and still, those of the building itself were scant.


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Sawday's

But there were many photos of Clarke’s English flower gardens with their curving borders..


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Sawday's

…as well as her potager and herb garden. There are even several places for outside dining…


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Sawday's

...or, in the absence of a mirror, places to engage in reflection of another kind.


If you want more…

  • Read “Stealing the Show” by John Graham-Hart at the Wealden Times
  • Continue your tour of the lodge and the surrounding area at Sawday’s
  • Read reviews and book a stay on Airbnb
  • Schedule a consultation, rent the entire property, or simply shop a few of owner Emma Clarke’s vintage finds at Emma Clarke Interior Design.
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