Like Walking Through a Sonnet: A Serene East Sussex Barn by Cassandra Ellis

Like Walking Through a Sonnet: A Serene East Sussex Barn by Cassandra Ellis

Information about Like Walking Through a Sonnet: A Serene East Sussex Barn by Cassandra Ellis

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I often return to the piece my colleague Alexa wrote on New Zealand-born, London-based designer Cassandra Ellis. In it, Cassandra offers a poetic approach to interiors and the spaces in which we live. Your place, she told Alexa at the time, is “a visual and very personal manifestation of who you are… Your home should be your story teller—the weaver of the red thread and a marker of you and yours.”

It’s a sentiment that’s all the more fitting now that so many of us find ourselves indoors, confined to spaces that have become vital havens (even more so than usual). Our own spaces are, mostly, what we’ll see for the next while. And so it’s all the more fitting, too, that this is the week we’d planned to cover Cassandra’s latest project, her own revitalized 17th-century flint barn in East Sussex Downs.

The interiors are soothing and quiet, still with moments of brightness and cheerfulness. When I emailed with Cassandra last week—she in the UK, me in New York City—she offered her characteristically thoughtful perspectives on the project, as well as how to make whatever space you may find yourself in a place of care and comfort.

“The East Sussex South Downs have always been our place of optimism,” Cassandra wrote to me. “The physical beauty is unlike any other landscape, and it moves you. The rolling hills are almost human in their falls and curves, and sometimes I feel like we are driving or walking through a sonnet. And it has the sea—which, as a Kiwi, I need. Creativity seeps into your way of living here… And so we love the place and the way of living. I guess we feel free.”

Here’s a look at the new project. May you find it—and Cassandra’s words—as calming as we do.

Photography via Light Locations, except where noted.

cassandra ellis east sussex barn dining light locations
Above: The bright entrance hall, with a long vintage vendange (wine-tasting) table. “It moves outside for sunny days and holds beautiful stones and objects from the nearby beach, or 20 happy eaters,” Cassandra says.

Cassandra and her husband, Ed, loved the area, then saw the property. “Houses come up rarely, and so we leapt,” she says. “For once we bought somewhere that wasn’t near derelict, full of dead animals, etc. It was ‘done-up,’ but the barn was very unhappy. Bad colors, silly bathrooms and kitchens—and wall-to-wall greige carpet. It felt like the ceilings were pressing down on you. Interestingly it felt more depressing than the aforementioned near-derelict properties that we have bought previously.

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