Blushes hair salon co-owner Mark Blake opens the door to his Cotswolds home
Running one of the country's top hair salons is hard work and Blushes co-owner Mark Blake puts in long days by anyone's standards.
He is dealing with clients and business associates continually and is part of the busy social hub that is one of the reasons why his salons in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Cirencester are so popular.
And as well as all that, Mark is also training to be a trichologist.
So when he clocks off for the evening he likes to switch off completely and has chosen a home that is about as away from it all as you can get in Gloucestershire.
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It is possible Mark has also bagged one of the most beautiful spots in the Cotswolds for his house, plumb in the middle of a gorgeous valley that wouldn't look out of place in Tuscany.
"My wife says I become very anti-social when I get home, but because I spend so much time working, I like to get completely away from it all at home," said Mark, who shares the beautifully restored 18th century barn and cowshed with wife, Tina, and daughter Harriette.
There is also a veritable menagerie, including three dogs, four cats and several chickens, as Mark is a real animal-lover.
Indeed there's nothing he enjoys more than sitting in the orangery with a book and Hector, his massive Scottish deerhound, at his feet. The house is tucked away down country lanes just outside Painswick, and as soon as Mark and Tina laid eyes on it, they fell in love.
"We did hesitate a bit, though," he said, "as there was an awful lot of work to be done to it and we had only just finished converting our previous home."
It took the couple six years and countless challenges to complete the house – with much of the work done by themselves.
At one point mid-renovation, the couple were asleep in their bedroom when the back of the house collapsed after torrential rain.
But it has been worth every moment when you see for yourself what a stunning home Mark and Tina have created.
With three floors connected by an imposing oak staircase and glass windows reaching all the way to the roof, every aspect of the house has been beautifully-restored and improved upon.
The orangery is the perfect spot to sit and admire the views over the valley and Mark admits they spend most of their time in that room.
It overlooks and opens on to the gardens with a swimming pool, vegetable and rose gardens, as well as a covered area called a tractor shelter, where the Blakes entertain during fine weather.
Their master bedroom runs the entire length of the top floor, with a dressing room at one end and their en suite bathroom at the other.
There are beams everywhere and fabulous finishing touches like the grand piano in the stairwell atrium and the iron spiral staircase that leads from the kitchen to Mark's study in the eaves.
Inside the house is immaculate – all down to Tina, admits Mark, who obviously has a real flair for interior design.
As well as the eclectic mix of mementoes, photograph frames (David Beckham meeting Apache helicopter pilot son Scott stands out) and vintage touches, the house smells divine, thanks to Tina's love of Jo Malone scented candles.
There are also vases of fresh roses dotted everywhere, cut from the two rose gardens which have a plethora of coloured blooms from which to pick.
It has been a labour of love but the result is a stunningly designed house that, at the same time, is also a family home.