19th March 2014

It requires a confident eye to take a period house and carefully peel back the layers to reveal its age and inherent character. Often – typically – when we talk about refurbishments, it’s about taking an old house and sharpening it up, making the interior fresh and crisp and new again, and that’s an approach I’ve written about at length here. Indeed some of my favourite posts on The Property Files so far have embraced this old-new contrast – Kirk House in Ross-shire springs to mind as a prime example.

But there is another way, as Mark and Sally Bailey have demonstrated in their beautifully atmospheric Grade II* listed house located in the heart of the village of Clyro, near Hay-on-Wye and close to the English/Welsh border.


The couple are the owners of the influential interiors company Baileys, and if you know the shop or the online store, it’s clear how much their aesthetic at home reflects that of their business and vice versa.


The online shop is an interiors treasure trove, from kitchen accessories to lighting to rustic-styled storage and Belfast sinks, and the couple have a passion for recycling objects and giving them new life. You know all those wonderfully quirky pieces you see in shoots, pieces that just have that patina of age and a story to tell, and you wonder, where do people find such amazing things? Well, they find them here, either in the Herefordshire shop or the online store – Baileys picked up the ‘Best Homewares Retailer’ Award from the Telegraph Magazine in 2012.


The couple have also written three books: Recycled Home, Hand Made Home, and Simple Home. No wonder then that their own home is so unique and gorgeously styled, where every room and each object is infused with that same patina and character. The Baileys pared back the interior of this six bedroom house – which has over 3,300 sq/ft of internal space – to maximize the sense of space and light.


The walls have been stripped back to the raw plaster and the flooring incorporates oak boards and large flagstones. As selling agent The Modern House observes: ‘This simple, utilitarian approach creates the beautiful, elegant effect for which the Baileys are best known.’


The house dates from the 1800s and incorporates features from a nearby church that was being refurbished at the time – including a 100-paned Gothic arched window. During the 20th century the property was home to the artists Eugene Fisk and Elizabeth Organ, who also used the space as a gallery. These days, the house is available as a location for photo shoots. For all that I love minimal and polished interiors, show me a home with this kind of lived-in and mellow aesthetic and I know where my heart lies.


The house was marketed by The Modern House.

See the Steller story on the Baileys’ home.