We take a look inside wildlife painter Catherine Ingleby's Shurlock Row home
PUBLISHED: 11:31 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:40 04 December 2018
© Maureen McLean. All Rights Reserved
We peek inside wildlife painter Catherine Ingleby's Shurlock Row home, which she has transformed from a dated 70s relic into a colourful hive of creativity
Art-lovers would be in heaven in Catherine Ingleby’s home, a beautiful red-brick Georgian building in the heart of the Berkshire countryside. “Every surface is covered with paintings,” Catherine admits, with pieces she has created herself, as well as work by other artists, on display throughout the house. Each room seems to serve as its own art gallery, the colour schemes and furniture taking their inspiration from whatever masterpiece hangs on the walls – it’s easy to tell that the house has been decorated by someone who is more than just a little creative.
Catherine, her husband, their two children, two dogs and cat have lived here since 2006, when they moved to the area after her husband got a job at a brewery in Chiswick; fittingly, the house was once the Master Brewers’ house, so history is living on. However, the house had been “very, very decorated” during the 1970s. “There was a lot of artex and a lot of green carpets when we first moved in,” Catherine laughs. Thankfully beneath the heavy decor the house had retained its original Georgian features, such as its fireplaces and wooden beams, which Catherine stripped back to restore them to their former glory.
There was a small, dated kitchen at the back of the house, with an annex that had been built in the 1960s. “Initially we ran our B&B from here, but then we decided to just knock it all through to make our main kitchen and family room,” Catherine says. They now have a spacious kitchen and dining area, with double doors and large sash windows that allow light to flood in. The kitchen is a “muted yellow” colour, which was chosen to complement the artwork that the room houses. “I do a lot of monochrome work, and this colour really sets them off,” Catherine explains. The kitchen was built by locally based firm Berkshire Kitchens and Bathrooms, featuring wooden worktops and a Rangemaster oven, set against Moroccan tiles. “We had quite a tight budget when we did it, so I painted the kitchen units myself,” she says, which are a neutral cream colour.
At the front of the house is a garden room, which was “all white and like a hospital waiting room,” Catherine reflects. “We made it into more of a family sitting room, so it’s got a log burner and wooden floors.” Although the furniture looks as if it could well be from a high-end interior designer, Catherine explains that it has been sourced from all over: “We’ve got rugs that we found in Morocco, and we inherited a lot of stuff from our families.” She is a regular visitor at local auctions, and she found her Titchmarsh and Goodwin coffee table at Wokingham Auction House. Cream sofas are paired with floral armchairs, and a dark wooden chest of drawers maintains the traditional feel of the room. “I like it to look planned but not too coordinated. I want it to look loved,” Catherine adds. There is also a snug downstairs, as well as Catherine’s study. Upstairs there are two double bedrooms, the children’s rooms and a family bathroom, which is painted in a beautiful blue. “It’s a colour I took from a big seascape that’s above the fireplace,” Catherine says, and she explains that the curtains were carefully chosen to feature marine wildlife in keeping with the calming sea-theme.
Catherine’s all-important studio sits at the foot of the garden. It was once the blacksmith’s forge where the dray horses were shod, but this summer it underwent a drastic transformation. “It used to be a glorified shed with a tin roof, and it was so cold in the winter,” Catherine says. “But now it’s got new doors and new windows, and it’s been completely insulated.” Unlike the rest of the house, the studio is plain and uncluttered, with crisp white walls and furniture. “It’s a double studio. One is for print and drawing, and then I have a double height studio for painting,” she says.
Although Catherine hasn’t always lived in Berkshire – she was born in Aberdeenshire and went to art school in Italy – the county has become the perfect base. Not only does she love the quaint village of Shurlock Row, where there is a “really lovely pub,” and little else, but the area’s rural pursuits supply her with inspiration for her art. “It’s the epicentre of polo and racing, so I visit the stables and do lots of commissions,” she explains.
Her house manages to be at once a work space and an art gallery but, perhaps most importantly, it is a much-loved family home.
• Siân Adkins on how she channelled grief into a new fashion career - Fashion entrepreneur Siân Adkins found a new direction in life when her parents died, helping both herself and other women to get through the darkest days