Captivated by the Hampshire countryside, Lisa Barber created a family space that fuses the past and future.
Stumbling across the details of an idyllic rural cottage in a picturesque Hampshire village was one of the most surreal experiences of Lisa Barber’s life. ‘With a newborn and a one-year-old, I was shattered and had gone to bed early,’ she recalls. ‘Our house-hunting was on hold temporarily, but that particular night, while drifting off, I felt an overwhelming urge to check my mobile. Seconds later, I had goosebumps as I realised that right before my eyes, was our dream home.’
At the time, Lisa and husband Jules were living in a three-bedroom terraced house in Winchester that they had outgrown. ‘When Emily came along, just 13 months after Sam, our previously spacious, centrally located home suddenly felt cramped,’ she says. However, city girl Lisa was apprehensive about moving to the countryside: ‘I loved the fact that I could stroll into Winchester with the buggy and was worried about potentially feeling isolated. But it was obvious that we’d be able to afford more for our money if we looked a little further afield.’
Enthused up by her surprise online discovery, Lisa immediately set up a viewing of the four-bedroom farmworker’s cottage in Hursley. ‘The moment we arrived, I fell head-over-heels in love with the quintessentially English location,’ she says. ‘The views across the rooftops to the pretty church are absolutely stunning and, at the rear, the outlook over the rolling fields is incredible. The look of astonishment on Jules’ face when the estate agent revealed that a beautiful orchard in front of the cottage came with the property was priceless. And Sam relished the opportunity to tear around the garden. When we stepped inside and walked from room to room, we knew this was the house for us.’
After checking whether there would be places at the village school for the children, by the summer the Barbers were on the move. Recognising that the cottage’s decor wasn’t entirely to their taste, Lisa had sought an interior designer to help her bring a fresh, individual look to the property. ‘Although I knew what appealed to me, I wasn’t too sure how to bring this to fruition,’ she explains. Having admired the work of Country & Coastal Interiors Ltd designer Josephine Burlingham, Lisa felt she would be the ideal person to create the tranquil, welcoming and unpretentious family home she yearned for.
Lisa and Josephine worked together closely to produce stylish, carefully considered moodboards for every room. The thoughtful designer came up with innovative ideas of how to breathe new life into vintage pieces, such as an old rocking chair inherited from Lisa’s father, who had recently passed away. ‘It was a remarkable journey,’ she says. ‘Working with Josephine has had a profound effect on my life. Hours spent deciding just how to create a wonderful home, incorporating Jules’ and my favourite pieces of furniture and belongings, as well as dad’s, meant that we became close friends.’
The cottage’s transformation has also been the springboard behind the launch of Lisa’s new business venture: Roots and Wings. ‘I wanted to take advantage of my marketing experience to run kitchen-table workshops from the comfort of my home,’ she explains. ‘I now mentor small business owners on how to promote themselves. I love our cottage and my clients pick up on the calm-yetstimulating vibe from the moment they walk in.
‘It’s hard to put my nger on it, but it is as though all the love that Josephine and I poured into the project radiates back from every quirky nook and well-considered cranny in our house. As well as establishing new roots and creating a safe family haven, our new home has given me the chance to fly – and I’m loving every moment.’
Photography: Andreas Von Einsiedel