Note: I've redone this great tour from last year to put all the text into the slideshow so that you can cruise through it in one go. I've added pics too. Let me know what you think. :)
Name: Ali & William Hanham
Location: Deans Court, Dorset, England
Size: 18 acres & many, many rooms
Years lived in: 5 years recently and since 1548 before that
It is not an everyday occurrence that we get to tour someone's ancestral home, you know, the kind which has been "in the family" for over 450 years, the building of which is even older. This past week I spent part of an afternoon hearing this family's story, taking pictures and wishing I had all day to spend here. This is a refreshingly real home in an ongoing state of renovation. This is not really even a home that you "own", it's more of a home that is much older than anyone around and that you can only "take care of" before passing it on.
The short story is that William's family have lived in the house for many, many generations, but he and his wife, Ali, have just recently taken residence since his father passed away five years ago (his parents didn't move in until he was a teenager, so he didn't spend much time in it until recently).
Trading in a life and career in London, William now has taken over managing the family estate and works full time on the various rental and events businesses related to the house (you can get married in the gardens!), while continually fixing, upgrading and repairing the old thing. It's a stunning stately home that has been touched in various ways and in various styles over the hundreds of years, all of which are largely still visible as you walk around.
Thank you to William and Ali for so graciously hosting us twice during our visit. And thanks as well to Farrow & Ball for introducing us.
→ See William's other home tour here: William Hanham's Last Albany Apartment at Piccadilly, London
DeansCourt.org - which links to all of the home's businesses including the shops, garden shares, and cottages for rent
The Squash Court - The shops, one of which is at Deans Court, are Ali Hanham's business and sell new and vintage off and online. The shopkeeper at Deans Court is an Apartment Therapy reader, which I love. :)
Deans Court Weddings - a separate site with wonderful pics showing weddings on the property and with contact info for your own event.
Farrow & Ball - who introduced us to the Hanhams, and who are responsible for sourcing all the paints and colors for the home.
The Hanham Baronets - the family line as listed by Wikipedia