Patsy and Denis create an artistic haven away from a busy business life.
Husband and wife team, Patsy and Denis, have been private clients of Thomas Carroll for 25 years. They began as commercial clients through their business interests, but as often happens with the Thomas Carroll Group Approach, they transitioned to become personal insurance clients.
Their impressive Victorian manor house home, nestling deep in rural Wales, is a 17-acre oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of business life.
Widely travelled, Patsy and Denis use their love of art, design and nature as their inspiration, not least the work of artist Claude Monet, whose impressionist influence can be seen in their house and gardens.
Verdant Valley Views
Starting with a largely featureless landscape just over 20 years ago, together they have created a myriad of themed gardens, lakes, idyllic retreats, woodland escapes, as well as spectacular viewing areas taking in dramatic vistas of the verdant valley below.
“When we bought the house in 1997 there were no gardens here as such,” says Patsy. “Rough fields lined either side of the drive and a large lawn lay in front of the house. The garden that you see here has been created with a passion for gardening, a keen interest in design and a whole lot of whimsy. To misquote, we came, we saw, we planted!”
A chartered surveyor by profession, Denis started his business life in the 1970s, but a clear head for entrepreneurism soon took over.
“It came to the point where I wanted to move away from client work and undertake my own development projects,” says Denis.
He began in the residential property sector, building private housing developments in South Wales, before moving into the commercial world.
“When the big housebuilders started moving in, I knew it was time to change direction and the commercial property world was a logical move for me,” he says.
This side-step into the commercial world has since led to a stellar career, developing both office building projects and business parks across South Wales, the South West and the North of England.
When it comes to developments closer to home, the vision imbued in Denis’s business life is perfectly complemented by Patsy’s design flair.
Their home, originally built in 1840, stands sentinel at the end of a long and winding drive. It is teeming with character, both in the interior design and the artefacts the couple have collected over the years.
Two key areas of their estate took their inspiration from artist Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, Normandy, where he lived from 1883 until his death in 1926, and which is preserved to this day.
Like the pioneering master of impressionism, Patsy and Denis gain inspiration from the colours and emotional connection with their garden and the features they too have masterminded.
“After visiting Monet’s home in Giverny, we purchased a children’s pop-up book of his gardens,” says Patsy. “That was the inspiration for the lakes. It was enormous fun digging the huge holes, lining them and sinking a borehole to fill them. Denis directed his band of men on diggers as to where to place each stone. All very satisfying. My job was to plan and direct the planting, which was also a huge task but very fulfilling. We work well together.”
Moving into the house, we enter a bright yellow, almost rustic room, located behind the homely handcrafted main kitchen. This ante room is so dazzling that it feels as if you are looking at it through yellow tinted glasses.
“This is Monet’s breakfast room, we modelled it on the room at Giverny,” Patsy tells us, as the couple pose patiently for our pictures.
As advocated by Monet himself, the room combines the vibrant colours taken directly from the artist’s palate, with rich blue porcelain in the display cabinets. At Giverny this is the most dramatic room of the house, and it translates well to its rural Wales setting.
Like Monet, Patsy and Denis have a love of Japanese art and design, and it was a trip to that country which inspired them to create another remarkable feature of their estate, a Japanese tea garden overlooking its own serene landscaped lake.
“From inside, looking out through the large picture window, it’s like looking at a painting that changes with the seasons,” says Patsy.
“I love it in the rain best of all. The beach came from an idea in the Empress Dowager’s garden. She had a pebble beach with cherry trees planted in it, quite spectacular when the trees were in bloom.”
The waterfall behind the teahouse was orchestrated more recently by Denis and his digger men. The water cascades down, then flows along the serpent channel before entering the lake.
“The cranes are antique, and we had them shipped from Japan,” says Patsy. “Behind the fence you can see a mini-replica of Mount Fuji taking shape.”
We ask Patsy, whose design flair also extends to the business premises developed by the family company, what she is most proud of.
Patsy says: “I suppose the harmony in which we have worked. We complement each other. He has a great vision with the hard landscape and I soften it all with planting. The thing I am most proud of is the happy life we have had together. It may sound trite, but we do, we enjoy every moment. The family, our children and grandchildren have all played a part in its inspiration; it is definitely not a show house.”
Private Client Insurance Services
As highly valued, long-term clients of Thomas Carroll, Patsy and Denis enjoy a very special relationship with us which goes far beyond professional insurance broking.
It is a relationship that sees all their insurances looked after personally by Alison Davies, Managing Director of Thomas Carroll Private Clients, and her colleague Annette Clifford.
As with all private clients, this service is as far removed from a call centre or internet chat as can be imagined. It provides clients with an insurance concierge service, which includes personal visits to discuss changing insurance requirements.
“We love our work,” says Alison Davies. “There really is nothing better than experiencing the beautiful properties and lifestyles which clients like Patsy and Denis have worked so hard to build, and to play our part in protecting their assets at all times. Forming a trusting and discreet relationship is at the heart of what we do.”
Appropriately for a service that’s as individual as your own signature, Thomas Carroll’s private clients are automatically invited to take advantage of our exclusive lifestyle benefits package, Club Signature.
If you need any questions about your personal insurances, contact us today on 02920 853788 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help protect your home, belongings and travelling adventures.