Their English Country Cottages
After viewing 47 houses, The Maltings was the one and only house which we both left and said “this is the one!”.Benjamin Gibbons
Benjamin Gibbons, his fiance Luke and their two dogs Darwin & Atlas live in this incredible ‘cottage’ – ok I am stretching the term but it is thatched and it looks a bit cottagey? This incredible building is called The Maltings, and is one of the oldest buildings in the village, once a large farmhouse built around 1550, it supplied all the malt to the local area.
Benjamin worked in the entertainment industry for over 10 years, with the last 3 years focused on designing restaurant spaces, nightclubs, and members bars in London and New York. For the past 18 months, he has been working from home which has given him the time to work on this grade 2 listed home. Ben and Luke love living in South Cambridgeshire, enjoying the benefit of a quick commute into London for work and meeting up with friends, but also living the ideal countryside lifestyle with clean air and “space to think”, thus benefiting from the both of best worlds.
Ben and his fiancé Luke grew up in the countryside and after living in London for over 12 years, both with stressful jobs, they decided to sell their flat in Kennington to look further afield and become “commuters”!. The couple bought The Maltings almost 3 years ago and have “not regretted a single day since, or once missed the London streets”.
It took Ben and Luke 18 months of house hunting and 47 different house viewings to find this stunning property: “After so many houses it became all too easy for one of us to find fault somewhere, but The Maltings was the one and only house which we both left and said: “This is the one!”. The house had everything that they had been searching for as well as renovation potential and a “clear vision for creating our family home”.
Ben’s favourite item in the house is the stunning Welsh dresser: “it’s the pride and glory in our kitchen, and hosts our collections of F&M teas with our Rory Dobner tea sets”.
Dresser cut to fit the beams so kindly left by the previous owners.
The Maltings was built c. 1550 as a thatched 3 bay farmhouse, it was subsequently extended ‘up and out’ to accommodate more bedrooms in 1665. In the 19th century it was divided into 3 separate cottages, until it was purchased in 1991 after becoming derelict and was restored to its wonderful original whole structure.
Ben and Luke have worked non stop on the house since they moved in, they immediately decorated the living room and dining room as they had promised to host Christmas for the entire family a month later! Since then they have “tackled” all the guest rooms, then the guest bathroom and finally finished building a new kitchen last summer. Before the couple settle down and have children, they would like to create a home office and complete the master bedroom, en-suite and dressing room.
Ben’s Country Cottage necessities are “Firstly and without a doubt dogs, plural. They make the days at home feel whimsical and fun, I couldn’t live here without them!” He goes on to include space to host big family parties, open fires, a rose garden, hydrangeas, “as many bird feeders as you can bear and of course a Henry hoover for the renovation works!”
Inspiration has been taken from designers Chester Jones, Guy Goodfellow and Albert Hadley – most of the rooms were carefully planned with colour schemes, antique furniture and upholstery but as the couple have a lot of collectibles and art, each space became more organically created as the decoration continued. As can be seen from all the beautiful images, Ben likes to keep all the spaces calm and neutral, accentuating areas with art and antiques to ensure
their own “autonomy and not keep to the ordinary”. It is this aesthetic that shines through in this glorious home. Each room is pared back, stylish and calming yet for all the neutral colours and pale furnishings, every room feel cosy and welcoming. Carefully chosen layering allows all the rooms to feel like a home whilst looking utterly magazine ready.
The interiors to this home seem effortless, so relaxed and laid back yet if one looks closely, it is possible to see the sheer amount of hard work and absolute love that Ben and Luke have poured into this home. From sanding old beams to sewing thick linen curtains, every job has been painstakingly completed. The Maltings was very lucky to have attracted two people who fell in love and restored this home to its former glory.
When asked to describe his dream home, Ben says that he would never refer to The Maltings as their forever home “because who knows what the future brings! I dream of one day perhaps having a timber framed Tudor manor with tall ceilings and panelled walls. Or even once day a French Chateau to really sink my talons into!”. For many this incredible property would absolutely be their dream home but not everyone has the ability to see past the ravages of time and know that they can create something truly beautiful with a passion for the past but an eye to the future. There is no doubt that this couple could take on a French Chateau and create something utterly sublime.
For more beautiful images of this stunning home, please head to Ben’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/thehiveandgarden/