Seb Coe home

Protected: At Home With… Seb Coe and Carole Annett

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Protected: At Home With… Seb Coe and Carole Annett

Carole Annett, Country & Town House's Interiors Editor, on remodelling their Victorian country house, working from home and nights by the fire

© Marcus Dawes

The images in this article are of various homes created by studio Sims Hilditch

What’s the story behind your home?

We bought our house in the country in 2009 using a property finder, Jonathan Harrington. Guided by him, we have ended up in a shared property, something we would never have considered without his input. It’s a Victorian mansion that was built in 1869, and the main house is divided into four apartments. We have our own piece of private garden and the rest is communal. It works well; it’s big enough for a blended family that includes six young adults (as and when they appear) and we don’t rattle around when it’s just us two.

© Marcus Dawes

Did you use an interior designer?

We enlisted the help of Emma Sims Hilditch, although I initially only asked her for advice on hallways. Our section of the house includes the main front door (the other apartments have access from a side door) so we have a small inner hallway which leads to a bigger one with a staircase. I just couldn’t decide on the function of each, the right paint colours, or the general style. Emma was brimming with advice. She edited our random ideas, finding the right visual narrative for us and the house. We moved out for four months, stripping the place back to basics including sanding floors and re-wiring the electrics. It was much needed. The archaic wiring system alone was like untangling a bird’s nest.

Do you have any brands that you always go back to?

Our style is English country house and I can recommend: Simon Horn beds; Vispring mattresses; Draper London bedlinen and towels; Colefax & Fowler and GP & J Baker fabrics; CP Hart bathrooms; Neptune for kitchens, furniture and paint; Porta Romana mirrors and lights; Vaughan and Charles Edwards lighting; Lewis & Wood and Zoffany wallpaper; Mandarin Stone floors.

Favourite room?

The bedroom. It’s the perfect sanctuary, with Lewis & Wood wallpaper, Chelsea Textiles side tables and William Yeoward lamps. The ensuite bathroom is tiny, so it’s just a shower room and there’s a roll-top bath in an alcove in the bedroom.

Seb Coe home

Favourite view?

The one from my kitchen – there’s nothing but garden and tree tops for miles and miles.

Signature dish?

Braised shoulder of lamb. I have an Aga so I make the most of cooking it long and slow. I put organic lamb shoulder on a baking tray with a gloop of balsamic vinegar, a few onions and carrots and loads of rosemary from the garden. I put it in at 7am and take it out at 7pm, serving with all its mushy juices, a pile of buttery mash and steamed spinach.

Key ingredients to make a party go with a swing?

Good friends, good champagne, good, simple food, good weather..

Have you created a working-from-home space?

I’ve turned my dressing table in the bedroom into a desk. It looks out to the garden and going upstairs to work means I segment the day. When my computer was downstairs in the kitchen I kept dipping in and out, getting distracted by family and drinking too much tea.

Top five reads that’d be great for a book club?

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Sheer joy, and an uplifting tale for our times. Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Wives. A host of flamboyant characters who only care about themselves and their place in the Hollywood pecking order. Sound familiar? It reminds me of Made in Chelsea, Real Housewives, The Only Way is Essex. Anything by Robert Crais – Elvis Cole, what a cool detective. Transcription by Kate Atkinson (in my head, I was Juliet Armstrong). Finally, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It took me back to my O-Level history days.

How do you keep fit at home?

We have a gym in a shed in the garden with a running machine (my husband would be intolerable without it), weights and a stationary bike. I have some workout bands, which I have never used before but I am now using them to simulate a Pilates Reformer session.

Seb Coe home

What are you doing in your garden?

We just planted sweet peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach and radish. And we’re making compost for first time ever.

How do you spend your evenings?

There are six of us in the house, so we cook supper and eat together. Then we make a fire and put something jazzy on the record player (proper vinyls), with a glass of wine and a book. I’ve currently also got three games of Scrabble going with extended family via an app.

Whose home would you like to be a fly on the wall in?

It’d have to be Number 10 – Boris and Carrie’s.


Seb Coe and Carole Annett were shot at the Great British Brand’s party at Annabel’s by Marcus Dawes