Jeremy Langmead is a writer and brand consultant. He is the former editor of The Sunday Times Style, Wallpaper* and Esquire magazines, and was part of the founding team of mrporter.com. His book Vain Glorious: A Shameless Guide for Men Who Want to Look Their Best is published by Short Books. He moved from London to the Lake District in 2019.
Did you grow up in the country?
I was brought up all over the place – we moved house each time my mother remarried, which was frequently. But we spent many years living in small villages in Norfolk, Kent, Sussex and even Norway. I vowed never to return to the countryside to live, as I hated how it limited my social life. Predictably, as you get older and less sociable, the country starts to have a certain appeal.
Can you describe your home?
We live in a 17th-century farmhouse – all beams, wood-panelled walls and flagstone floors – set in the middle of 15 acres of landscaped gardens and fields. It has panoramic views of the south Lakes.
Why did you choose this particular house?
We must have looked at at least 30 houses before finding this one. My husband is originally from the Lake District, and is a bit blasé about the landscape, but I insisted that if we moved all the way from Suffolk to Cumbria, I wanted a house with expansive views. I also wanted our home to feel secluded and intimate. We needed room for friends who would come to stay, but I didn’t want a large house, as most of the time it would be just the two of us.
How would you describe the style of your home?
Because the place is so old, and was originally a modest farmhouse, the decoration and furniture have to reflect rather than fight that fact. We’ve used a simple palette on the walls, layers of rich colours, patterns and textures for the curtains and furnishing fabrics, and a mix of antique and contemporary pieces of furniture. We also have a number of decorative pieces made by Lakes craftsmen using locally sourced materials. I like to start again with each house, create a new narrative, rather than try to fit in everything we owned before.
How do your surroundings influence your work?
They tend to distract me rather than help me work. I can’t wait to leave my desk and potter around the grounds, marvelling at the surprises nature brings each day. It seems that any morning you can rise to warm sun, torrential rain or a soft fluttering of snow.
How is the social scene different in the country to the city?
There’s a strong pub culture up here, with an emphasis on good, hearty food. Although everyone works hard, there is somehow, at the same time, a slower pace of life. People enjoy each other’s company, taking time to meet for drinks or dinner, and to appreciate the surroundings they live in and the resources they provide.
Which are your favourite pubs, cafes and restaurants?
My favourite local pub, the Hare & Hounds Inn in Bowland Bridge, conveniently belongs to my husband and his business partner. It’s a 17th-century inn in a hamlet that overlooks fields, fells and streams, and the food is delicious. Nearby in Winster is another good pub, run by friends, called the Brown Horse; and further afield, in the dramatic scenery near Hawkshead, is the Drunken Duck Inn, which has very stylish rooms.
Your favourite spots to visit?
Blackwell is a beautifully preserved Arts and Crafts house, designed by Baillie Scott, that overlooks Lake Windermere. Then there’s Windermere Jetty Museum, an award-winning piece of contemporary architecture that houses an exquisite collection of vintage boats and a cafe with tables on the edge of the lake. And predictable, I know, but you can’t not visit Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter in Hawkshead. The small house and pretty gardens are just as you would imagine the home of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck to look.
And your favourite shops and markets?
Yew Tree Barn, near Cartmel, has a good selection of antiques and homewares, and a reclamation yard with a great cafe. Societique, in Morecambe, is a former Methodist church filled with antiques and objects – it’s a favourite place for London’s antiques dealers and decorators to rummage. And Bath House has a handful of beautiful stores selling natural fragrances and skincare.
What do you most miss about the country when you’re in town… and vice versa?
When I’m away I miss the beauty, the tranquillity and the way life feels lighter in the Lake District. I sometimes even miss the rain. When I’m there, what I miss about London is my friends, walking back to my flat after dinner, rather than driving, and the shops. Here your life is dictated by the landscape and nature, rather than deadlines and traffic lights.
Pictures from top: Jeremy Langmead in the Lakes; the sitting room of his home; an eclectic collection of favourite objects; views in the garden; and his husband’s pub, the Hare & Hounds Inn in Bowland Bridge (© Steven Barber)