(Joyce) #1
W

hen Tom Cox first saw
his home, situated in
the Chiltern Hills with
picturesque views over
Maidensgrove Common, this panorama over an area
of outstanding natural beauty was entirely hidden.
Now overgrown leylandii have been replaced with
elegant beech hedging, transforming this former blot
on the landscape into a much-admired vista. ‘The
plot was ripe for change,’ says Tom. ‘I kept the core
of the former cottage and worked with my architect
to design an extended home that would include a
spacious central kitchen and vaulted barn extension.’
Visually inspired by property design in The
Hamptons and Belgium, Tom wanted to create a
sophisticated home with an eclectic ridge line and
compelling flow, that would feel original and quirky,
rather than boxy and new build. ‘Keeping part of the
original structure means you have to be more creative
in detailing the design,’ says Tom. Upstairs the
layout was driven by a desire to include five en-suite
bedrooms; while downstairs the flow is much more
open plan: spaces separated by carefully positioned
glass partitions and windows, creating sightlines to
optimise views both internally and externally. ‘The
connections between spaces were important to me
and, throughout the build, plans were amended to
accommodate unexpected visual triggers,’ says Tom.
The kitchen, situated within the new extension, is
accessed by a linking boot room and pantry. ‘Boot
rooms are practical necessities, but my aim is always
to elevate them with bespoke and unusual finds,’
explains Tom. The sinks were salvaged from a
former florist’s shop and, in the adjacent pantry,
the imposing reclaimed butcher’s block formed the
basis of the design. The bespoke kitchen is by Hám
Interiors, with Carrara marble worktops and a
custom-built island, made in sycamore, marble and

copper. ‘I don’t design kitchens as purely functional
spaces – they also need to include elegant pieces of
furniture and art to add depth and interest,’ says Tom.
‘Walking into the new vaulted area, there is an
immediate feeling of impact. It was great to design
the main sitting room with no overhead restrictions
and to have the space to source oversized furniture,
statement antiques and large-scale artwork.’
With such a keen eye for detail, it is no surprise to
learn that design is in Tom’s DNA. Havinggrown up
with parents who have built up a reputation as interior
designers and antiques dealers, Tom decided in 2008
to leave a City career and partner with them to found
Hám Interiors. ‘We sawan opportunity to harness our
skills – the focus is oninterior design, management
and build. We also design and manufacture kitchens
and source furniture, lighting and decorative
accessories for clients and to sell in our online store.
‘I am obsessed with natural finishes: the backdrop
is a mix of natural stone, marble, reclaimed wooden
boards and sisal, set against a muted, traditional
palette,’ says Tom. Antique oil paintings are mixed
with contemporary abstract art; and bolder splashes
of colour added with patterned textiles. Throughout,
the elegant country space is layered with patina-rich
accents: think carefully curated antiques, one-off
Ikat weaves and vintage kilim rugs.
‘At the start of the project, the site was a muddy, tough
place to be, but with each evolution, I experienced
reinvigorated bursts of inspiration,’ says Tom. ‘The best
houses are created from input at each stage. It’s like
directing a film and ultimately it is down to you to
manage the details to secure an outstanding outcome.
It has been great to enjoy this transformation, but now
I am ready to move on. Projects are infectious – I find
it hard to resist doing it all again, somewhere new.’

Q Hám Interiors, haminteriors.com

&

INSPIRATION