There aren’t many people who would agree to buy a house before stepping inside it. But Paolo Moschino (a cousin of the famous Italian fashion family) and his partner, Philip Vergeylen, had designed so many houses together that once they’d seen the gardens of their prospective home in Sussex, they didn’t need to see more. When the estate agent arrived, Vergeylen says, “We just told him: ‘This is our house. We don’t need to go in. We’ve seen the brochure, looked at the floor plans. It’s perfect.’ ”
What they meant by “perfect” was that it was in a perfect state for them to overhaul it. Since the duo bought Nicky Haslam’s interior design business in 1995, they have made their name by transforming houses for clients from rock stars to royalty. They’ve become masters at taking the skeleton of a building and creating a perfectly proportioned, timeless beauty that is somehow restrained yet grand.
The couple wanted somewhere they could “wander in the garden, tend to our plants in the greenhouse”
Unlike many of their clients’ homes, the country pad that the pair wanted to create for themselves would not be adorned with ornate gilt, hung with ancient tapestries or furnished with palatial pieces. “We wanted it to be a space to slow down, to relax,” Moschino says. “It had to be a country house where we could just be: where we could wander in the garden, tend to our plants in the greenhouse, lie by the pool in the sun.”
“We wanted it to be a space to slow down, to relax,” Moschino says
For the house to take on their sophisticated style it had to have what Moschino calls its “old lady” interiors removed (the family before them had lived there for more than