Beautifying, restoring, then inviting the world to share it is a splendid way to save and celebrate an old family house. John’s ancestors built this elegantly generous mansion 200 years ago. After two years of deep and respectful restoration, he and Lou hung up their tools, opened the door and put their creative talents at the service of independent travellers wanting gentle young style, warm and lovely rooms and good fresh home-cooked food. The Mathers love this house and its history, at every turn there’s an old family photograph (don’t miss the downstairs loo), a linen history memento, an original wall hanging. The blend of antique and modern gives the house easy charm, soft colours are mixed for serenity – peach, green, all the beiges – perfect foils for the lustrous furniture. Superb modern bathrooms and IT connections are unobtrusive extras. On leaving uni, John trained as a chef so come prepared to indulge in fine wines and food (much comes from their own veg patch). The estate is a labour of love, and a family affair – you can buy the watercolours by Lou’s father and admire the formal garden, deservedly listed, looked after by John’s.