Rockbeare Manor, Exeter



I’m really pleased to be able to devote this particular blog post to Rockbeare Manor . Having finished the ground floor renovation of this Regency listed building last year, work immediately began on the first and second floors.

Rockbeare was a family residence until 2015,  in much need of some investment and plenty of updating, when PM Hospitality took on this project. The house has been transformed into an exclusive use wedding and events venue, a sister venue to Coombe Lodge, Blagdon and Priston Mill, near Bath, both of which I have worked with extensively.

The house had potential for 14 bedrooms and ensuites, and renovations were in great need in many parts of the building.

Before – Every room on the first and second floor required extension renovation and redecoration works. 

Over a year of hard work has been carried out by the building team, carrying out basic maintenance, installing bathrooms, rewiring, renovating windows, doors, redecorating, and fitting out. In the mean time, I designed and implemented an interiors scheme to befit this stunning venue.

The interior has been designed to be elegant and striking, while allowing the grade I listed features to breathe.

Each of the bedrooms has at least 2 or 3, large, sash cord windows and dressing them appropriately was a key feature, so deciding on which fabric range to use was a vital early decision. I worked with Heather Evans at The Curtain Company who also made the window dressings at Coombe Lodge, drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience. The windows were all dressed in Prestigious Textiles Grand Palais range, an eclectic collection of designs in jewel rich colours. The bedrooms used a stylised botanical design, with a simpler checked fabric for the en suites. Heather also supplied simple and elegant curtain poles, many of which had to be specially adapted for the curving walls of Rockbeare.

Regency homes were always decorated in striking colours, and it felt important to echo that. Having selected a suitable fabric range, I chose a palette of feature wall colours, which were used in various combinations, giving each room its own particular identity.

Furniture is key to setting the tone of any room and I selected a wide range of items that would sit comfortably within the period property. We were lucky enough to inherit some antique wardrobes with the house, and these have been key features in many of the rooms. A range of solid wood, painted, cane work and metal bedsteads, with accompanying side tables, and chest of drawers work to create this atmosphere. Justin at Gaff Interiors and Upholstery created a stunning buttoned headboard for the disabled access bedroom. Soft seating in neutral tones, classic shapes, and button detailing give residents a comfortable place to retire to.

Cushions, mirrors, accessories and lighting, from a wide range of suppliers, add the detail to each bedroom. Echoing the period features, key colours and botanical prints they add a flavour of luxury. I searched high and low for appropriate pieces, but particularly useful was a little treasure trove of a shop in Avonmouth, near Bristol called Nanny Freddies Attic ( find them on facebook, or best of all, visit!). The ladies who run it have a fantastic and ever changing range of antique, vintage and new furniture, mirrors, soft furnishings and accessories, and are super friendly and helpful.

The 14 en suites were designed in two styles. Listed building requirements meant that some bathrooms are in feature ‘pods’, and I chose marbled tiling, modern bathroom fittings, spot lighting and feature basins for these. Bathrooms in original rooms were decorated in a vintage style, with pedestal basins, and Georgian style fittings. Cast Iron baths are a decadent item in many bedrooms.

Each of the 14 bedrooms stands out. A disabled access bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor is housed in one of the pavillion buildings, with a huge window and incredible ceiling. There are two family suites, one in the amazing barrel vaulted bedroom on the second floor. Each room is spacious, light and benefits from amazing views across the Devon landscape.

Final thanks goes to Jess at Perspectives photography who took these absolutely beautiful shots of the finished interiors,  and to Andy & Aimee at Rockbeare Manor, who have worked incredibly hard to transform the building from scratch into a thriving exclusive use wedding and events venue. Working on this project from the beginning of its transformation has been a real treat!



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