This North Yorkshire Manor in Eryholme, Darlington shows the English countryside at its most wonderful and idyllic. Neasham Hall was the childhood home of my mother in law, and is the favourite English countryside place of my husband Louis, who would travel there every summer, from France to experience England with his three cousins. He would spend the time mostly outdoors in a kind of Swallows and Amazon heaven, swinging from trees, diving into rivers, catching fish and generally being a nature boy.
Eryholme manor belongs to the Neasham estate, which sits by the banks of the river Tees, meaning that the families remain close, and that the generations remain connected. In the case of Barnaby and Claire (known to most as Clarey) it’s a wonderful example of an inter-generational life. Clarey and Barnaby moved into Eryholme Manor and set up their floral design company Manor garden Flowers that, as they said “started in the back garden” and has been expanding each year. What’s lovely is that both their kids, and their parents get involved picking, growing, sewing and enjoying the ‘good life’ in Yorkshire.
This impressive bridge was built by their grandfather. The back of the house looks onto a huge garden which became the first planting place for Manor Garden Flowers, before they created the impressive walled garden!
The walled garden (below) has taken the company onto another scale and was a family effort. Manor garden runs Pick Your Own in the summer months so you can roam around and choose your own beauties to take home.
There is an enormous outhouse, shed/barn/garden room/garage space in the courtyard at the back of the house that Clarey has adopted as her amazing workshop where she mixes her floral magic.
The raw bones of this amazing workshop have been left as they found it, which is unsurprising for people with such great taste. The walls are a scuffed cement texture with hints of sky blue, raw green, dusty pink and biscuit brown peeking through – they remind me of THAT room in THAT film The King’s Speech that brought the production designer Eve Stewart such fame. The walls are further enriched by a myriad of old English travel posters advertising destinations from Tangiers to Whitley Bay – many scuffed, some perfect.
This is where the floral decorations for weddings, parties, funerals and the like as well as many workshops, and also (lucky enough for us) some after-dinner drinks, often take place. I fell completely in love with the place, the minute I walked in. It’s not hard as there is so much detail to take in.
She has incredible flair.
The house itself is a warren of creativity, with rooms of all shapes and glorious sizes vying for your attention.
The couple have guarded the life of the past and all the raw elements remain, but as they are bold and youthful so is the Art of their interior life – from the objects they have chosen to display and the Art they own to how they present it! I love the pinks cords on these industrial lights that hang in the kitchen, which was painstakingly designed by them and is so easy and comforting to be in and such a pleasure to cook in!
I love how grand pieces of Art sit with a collection of favourite scuffed glass bottles or next to a hanging pine cone – nothing is too precious, everything works.
You can either enter via the cloakroom and kitchen or come through the front into the enormous entrance hall, which Clarey decorated with little glass jars of flowers and used as the room to host our dinner in when we were last there.
It’s amazing after such an epic walk and so much nature to come back and be feeling so rural but to be in such an artistic place.
The colours and combinations in their home is a mix of magic.
The stairs lead up to another of my favourite areas, the landing. This enormous landing with the almost-as-enormous seat festooned with drying Hydrangeas is so epic.
The bedrooms show an obvious love of fabric, costume, and interiors.
And the kids rooms have fun ideas everywhere. Powerful details to jazz up the white walls.
I have copied this framing device many times, using tape to hang around loved clothes or items on the wall – it’s genius. This particularly cute cashmere jumpsuit with pom poms is by Mini Magpie kids who used to live in Berlin and is now based in London.
It’s beautiful to see a house with such history become a home to a young happy family!