an elegant Dorset country house proved the perfect rural escape

The elegant proportions of this Victorian-era Dorset country house, and the large sash windows that fill the rooms with natural light, were what first attracted the owners to the property. But it was the freedom to completely overhaul the house that clinched the deal.

a living room filled with furniture and a large window: House tour Ainsworth Dorset country house

© Provided by Homes & Gardens
House tour Ainsworth Dorset country house

The house is in the market town of Bridport, Dorset. Although it sits in a conservation area, the building itself is not listed – which meant the couple could replace the existing rear extension with a big open-plan kitchen, dining and sitting area.

They commissioned interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch to envision a new layout. ‘The answer was to preserve the original, grand parts of the house while opening up and rationalising the secondary spaces that had been added later on,’ explains owner Sarah Ainsworth.

The family made the move to the property after living in their former home in Oxford for 10 years. ‘We had been thinking a more relaxed pace of life would be good for us and our two daughters, but until we visited Bridport we couldn’t imagine making it a reality,’ says Sarah. ‘Then we came for a weekend to

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