The stunning renovation at the Cavendish Hotel on the Chatsworth Estate
PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 July 2018
An 18th century Coach House at the Cavendish Hotel on the Chatsworth Estate has been give new life with stylishly refurbished interiors.
Few hotels can boast surroundings more sumptuous than those of the elegantly-decorated Cavendish Hotel on the Chatsworth Estate. Nestled in idyllic Baslow, the historic building – formerly known as The Peacock – was transformed into a well-styled hotel in the 1970s, offering home-from-home comforts just a stone’s throw from Chatsworth House.
Fast-forward 40 years and the Cavendish now encompasses two fine restaurants and 28 luxuriously-appointed bedrooms, four of which were part of a recent renovation project that breathed new life into an adjacent former Coach House.
Recently unveiled, the newly-converted building offers the perfect balance of comfort and luxury with well-designed rooms and tasteful décor to match.
Like much of the hotel, the interiors been designed by the Duchess of Devonshire in conjunction with Yorkshire-based interior designer Rachel McLane.
Combining quintessentially English style with modern touches, the bedrooms offer an attractive blend of old and new. English-manufactured carpets woven with the Cavendish family serpent motif are complemented by textured fabrics in a variety of patterns, creating a classic yet contemporary look that brings the 18th century building firmly into the 21st century.
In recognition of the Coach House’s former life, the Duchess named the bedrooms after different styles of carriage – Brougham, Clarence, Landau and Phaeton – and although each has its own, carefully-considered theme, a natural colour scheme runs throughout to create a timeless look that is both stylish and practical.
Rachel says: ‘We worked with a soft calamine colour because it harmonises with many natural tones as well as with reds and pinks. Using a continuous colour palette throughout allowed us to bring the vibrancy out in the fabrics and soft furnishings.
‘From a practical point of view for a hotel, it means that all rooms can be maintained with the same paint. This methodology was also applied to the woodwork, where we used a soft latte shade which is warm, hard-wearing and doesn’t show up scuffs as easily as white paint.’
The softly-lit interiors are brought to life by a range of lighting styles – including lamps and moveable wall lights. A contrasting mix of striped and floral fabrics add an eclectic feel.
‘The prospect of combining stripes and florals can at first appear daunting,’ Rachel says. ‘However, when used sensitively, with a mix of carefully-selected, co-ordinating fabrics, stripes and florals have the effect of bringing the whole room together.’
The colour palette enhances eye-catching features such as exposed roof trusses to the first floor bedrooms, attractive recessed window seats and cosy fireplaces, whilst the south-facing windows frame far-reaching views across the Estate.
‘My favourite room is Landau,’ says the Duchess. ‘It has a beam across the centre of the room which we have upholstered in padded leather, with a sign on it saying ‘Duck or Grouse’. I thought this was the ideal way to prevent guests ending up with a sore head!’
To add interest, individual pieces of furniture were taken out of storage at Chatsworth and brought back to life to furnish the bedrooms.
The Duchess says: ‘I moved two drum tables from the attic stores at Chatsworth to anchor the Brougham and Clarence rooms. Not surprisingly, these tables needed some restoration but they were basically sound and I am so pleased to have rescued them and put them to the use for which they were originally intended in the early 19th century.
‘We also restored a four-poster bed which I bought at a small auction not long ago,’ the Duchess continues. ‘It was in poor condition and needed to be re-made so that it could be used with a king-sized mattress. It has now been re-painted and new drapes have been made for it. It’s my favourite piece because it is so pretty, particularly now it has been dressed.’
In keeping with the other bedrooms, the newly-refurbished bed is fitted with a bespoke Hypnos Landsdowne Cashmere luxury pocket-sprung mattress.
Two of the four new rooms in the Coach House are also suitable for wheelchair users with wider doorways, low-level handles and controls, and floor-level showers.
‘Making two accessible rooms with accessible bathrooms was a challenge,’ says Rachel. ‘But we wanted to make them look and feel like the other rooms and not compromise on style in the way some accessible rooms can do. In fact, I think they worked out even better; they are spacious, light and airy and we were able to use design in a really clever way to create accessible elements.’
Particular care was taken to ensure the character of the Coach House was retained. Chesterfield-based Haxton Koyander, specialists in listed building architecture and restoration, oversaw the conversion, which included the removal of an entire floor so it could be re-fitted with high-tech insulation. Two charging points for electric cars were also installed outside.
‘Working with the old structure threw up some challenges,’ says Rachel. ‘Nothing was straight – walls, doors, corners, floors and windows all had a definite period “slant” to them! However, the outcome was worth it.
‘The overall feel of the property has worked really well. Sometimes you never know if everything is going to come together. We have an idea of how it might look when designing it with the Duchess, however there is nothing better than seeing it all come together in reality.’