This country estate turned hotel finds beauty in imperfection
Cracked plaster and weathered floorboards tell the story of this 257-year-old mansion, which is set to reopen as digital detox hotel Birch.
Red Deer worked closely with Birch founders Chris King and Chris Penn to design the interiors for the ‘destination’ country hotel, which is located thirty minutes north of London at the former De Vere Theobalds Estate. The practice retained the air of the grand country manor, repairing the historic red brick building and retaining as many of its original features as possible.
Says the practice: ‘We set out to reuse and repair the existing site’s materials, stripping back clutter and unnecessary furniture to create more thoughtful spaces.’
Rooms have been given a fresh coat of paint, but some of the building’s quirks have been left exposed – including floorboards that had been daubed in white numbers, as part of a previous renovation.
Red Deer commissioned bespoke pieces of furniture and artwork for Birch and also sourced vintage pieces that chime with its lived-in philosophy. Communal spaces are warmed by open fires, with sofas placed so guests can soak up the views across the grass. Meanwhile, the hotel’s 144 bedrooms are purposefully clutter-free – meaning no desks or TVs – to encourage guests to relax, switch off and enjoy a taste of slow-living.
Visitors can also enjoy a taste of country living by popping down to the on-site bakery for a class in bread making or learning about beekeeping in the hotel’s 55 acres of grounds.
From: The Spaces. Photos: Adam Firman