Artwork completes forever home

A contemporary villa in Louth is the home of uniquely created artworks thanks to the creative skills of a local interior designer and blacksmith, and the owners’ inspiring ideas.

Making an offer on a property that you have only seen online is a brave move but one which was forced on Aletia and Nick Bourne during lockdown.

“We were living in Scotland and wanted to move further south for family reasons,” explained Aletia.

“We had seen the house up for sale a year previously and couldn’t believe our luck that it had come back on the market. You could only cross the border if you had proof of memorandum of sale so we took the leap and put in our offer unseen.”

The property on Horncastle Road is six years old and was built to a very high specification by a local businessman. Its eco-friendly design includes a double helix shaped roof which reflects and blends into the surrounding Lincolnshire Wolds landscape. There is underfloor heating throughout powered by ground source heat pumps. Integral electric blinds and curtains are fitted to the large floor-to-ceiling, south facing windows which give panoramic views across stunning landscapes from the interior and terrace.

The house, which is predominantly open plan, is entered via a large entrance hall, leading to the kitchen dining area, with central, open staircase, marking the start of a 75ft long ground floor lounge.

The double helix design of the roof had given Aletia inspiration for a new name for the house. Its likeness to two entwined snakes led her to research the mythical significance in Egyptology of ouroboros; the circular symbol of a snake swallowing its tail as a sign of wholeness or infinity.

couple had moved seven times in seven years prior to moving to Louth so the name was perfect for how Aletia and Nick felt about the house as their forever home – so Ouroboros it became.

“Other than the integral fittings, not much had been done internally so I wanted to add our own decoration and influences while still keeping the impact of the contemporary architecture.

“Through a mutual friend I met Market Rasen based interior designer Tracy Hogge. We hit it off immediately and Tracy offers the one-to-one service we were looking for.”

Tracy, director of Tracy Jane Interiors, is originally from Cleethorpes, trained in soft furnishings but has worked in London and Australia for large hotel groups. Latterly, Tracy worked for a well-known interior design firm in Kent until lockdown brought her back to Lincolnshire.

The fireplace and the dining area next to the open plan kitchen both have large recessed areas for flat screen TVs.

Aletia explained: “I am not a fan of the ‘one-eyed god’ in every room, so I wanted something out of the ordinary, design wise, to fill these spaces.

I found a pendant which depicted ouroboros so after conversations over lots of cups of coffee with Tracy, we decided to commission an artwork which depicted two entwined snakes.”
Tracy’s scheme for the house décor featured metallics with rich textures and natural references of colour.

Their first approach was made to an artist who paints in acrylics on canvas. Despite several designs, it became apparent that the effect they wanted could not be achieved in this medium.

Talking to another artist about her dilemma led Tracy to Lincoln based blacksmith Ryan Atkin who produced designs for two circular entwined snakes eating each other’s tails, fabricated in mild steel. Ryan works from his home but trained with Welton Forge, worked at Chainbridge Forge in Spalding and has taught his skills at Lincoln Castle. His work varies from domestic ironwork to sculptures.

“Ryan captured the brief perfectly, especially once he had worked out a technique for recreating the scaled skin texture close to the heads. The 3D effect of this hung sculpture, especially when lit from above, promised to be outstanding.”

The manufacturing process was not without its challenges. The sprung nature of the curved metal snakes made it difficult to fix them in their central figure of eight position. A slip to the forge floor actually secured the fit of tails to mouths.

The snake skin effect was achieved with a tool made with part of a blacksmith’s rasp. The sculpture is mounted on a metallic bronze solid back within a solid steel frame. The weight is approximately 150kg so there are three very large brackets to secure the piece into the recess. It has become not only the symbol of the house but also the focal point of the lounge.

“Once Ryan produced his designs, both Tracy and I knew we had found the person we could trust to deliver our vision. It has been wonderful to work with Ryan and he is also producing new gates and a railing panel for the top of the walls which surround the house.”

Tracy’s next project for Aletia and Nick is creating decorative panels to tie the corridor of the guest wing with the rest of the house when viewed from the terrace or lounge.

There is also a design underway for a floor-to-ceiling water wall in the entrance hall. Its polished bronze background and metallic chains will offer continuity with the natural slate feature walls in the lounge.

Meanwhile, Ouroboros has been greatly admired by guests and confirms the Bournes’ wholeness with their Lincolnshire home.

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