As the saying goes, looks can be deceiving – and Charlton Hall proves it. From the outside, it’s everything you imagine a listed, 18th-century building to look like: grand and stately, with unmistakable Georgian features. But venture inside and it’s a completely different story.
Open the doors of this funky Northumberland manor and you’re catapulted into a bold, off-the-wall world, brought to life with flamboyant decor and an abundance of luxurious interiors.
Banker-turned-investor, Richard Shell, the chap behind award-winning wedding venue, Doxford Barns, snapped the eight-bed stunner up last May and has spent the last year transforming it into the personality-packed pad it is today.
Thanks to his vision, what was once a traditional-but-tired family estate is now a hip, new playground for private parties, exclusive events and glamorous, modern-day weddings, set over three floors and nestled within 150 acres of private land.
The results of its makeover, spearheaded by Jo Aynsley, of award-winning Jeffries Interiors in Edinburgh, do nothing but pull you in and lift you up. Having expertly mixed tradition with statement-making colours and modern, daring design, Jo has created a vibrancy that can be felt in every room of this playful property – whether you’re laying your head in one of the eight, individually-designed suites, partying the night away in the underground bar, or saying “I do” in the warmth of thousands of twinkling fairy lights, while your guests watch on from their transparent, glass-like chairs.
Many of the building’s historic features and rustic antiques, such as the wooden floors, baroque fireplaces and Victorian sports trophies have been preserved, intertwined with heaps of contemporary, arty features. Things like gold graffiti, neon signage, giant silver bauble lights and leopard-print armchairs, plus signature pieces from big-name designers – everyone from Matthew Williamson, to Mulberry, Diane von Furstenberg and Kate Spade – to bespoke artwork from Newcastle-based artist, Vanessa Foley.
“Our vision is to give guests a fun and luxurious home-from-home experience. It was my aim to bring the hall back to life as an enchanting place for people to create lasting memories and entertain,” says owner, Richard Shell.
The Entrance Hall
Why we love it: The marriage of ivory-white with glittering gold and silver is a dreamy mix. The light installations, by Tom Dixon, together with the neon ‘Hell Yeah’ neon sign command attention, while the peony carpet, luring you up the sweeping staircase, and stuffed giraffe head add personality.
Why we love it: House of Hackney upholstery and bespoke velvet seating, hand-made leather chairs in vibrant yellow and cool bee cushions from emerging designer, Gung-Ho. A vibrant room with tongue-in-cheek artwork and a modern take on the classic chandelier.
Why we love them: All of the eight spacious suites are named after owner Richard’s nearest and dearest – and all have their own cheeky personality. Individually-designed and styled, they’re all unique, too. Here a few of our favourites…
Alfie – A masculine suite, bold and blue, with contrasting pops of orange, rainbow-coloured paisley wallpaper and industrial-style lamps.
Charlotte – The playful and seductive honeymoon suite, tucked away in the quieter part of the hall. Neon ‘kiss me’ signage, tassel wall lights, peacock side tables, with splashes of hot pink, a freestanding bath (big enough for two) and sparkling chandeliers.
Ella – A sunny space. We love the rose gold silk curtains, city-scape patterned walls, yellow Jim Thompson Bargello throws on the double twin beds and the statement wallpaper in the en-suite from Yellow House of Hackney Empire.
Lydia – A bold and daring boudoir, made striking with Manuel Canovas Dara wallpaper, fuchsia silk curtains and zebra-print chairs. One of the hall’s most eye-catching suites.
The Dining Room
Why we love it: The gold, geometric wallpaper, by Harlequin Sumi, on the ceiling, the original Grade II floorboards, the hand-painted graffiti that travels down the walls courtesy of renowned artist, Lynsey Jean Henderson, and the wall of dazzling, tiled mirrors. Pineapples and playful artwork add the fun-factor.
Why we love it: The lounge’s godly canopy – wallpaper from La Maison Pierre Frey, depicting scenes from the works of Francois Boucher and Giambattista Tiepolo – will have you constantly looking up. We love the original grand piano, baroque fireplace and marble flower table.
The Ceremony Hall
Why we love it: What was once an 18th-century stone barn is now an enchanting place to tie the knot. Striking, geometric floor patterns swoon you in, as do the walls, draped in fairy lights. Standout features are the cool, transparent chairs, which reflect and refract the surrounding light, and the blooming living wall.
Charlton Hall, Chathill, Northumberland, NE67 5DZ
01665 579173 | charltonhall.co.uk