The Owners

Joan and John Raffin decided to leave the cosmopolitan rush of London and search for a project. It didn’t take very long to find the ideal subject, a large and rambling collection of rural buildings with a Manor House incorporated and just crying out to be opened up to the world again.  Loving the space, the ambiance and the friendly local residents, we bought La Baïlesse in 2001.

John is a Chartered Surveyor with an expertise in development projects, perhaps inspired by his grandfather who was responsible for designing Edinburgh New Town back in the 19th century.  John has created projects around London and in Australia where he lived for several years.

Joan [Clifton] is a Garden Designer and writer of many garden design books. Joan spent her formative horticultural years part running Clifton Nurseries amongst the canals of London’s Little Venice, then created Avant Garden in Notting Hill where her customer base incorporated Europe, the USA and Japan.  Joan exhibited regularly at Chelsea Flower Show.

‘La Baïlesse presents us with the perfect opportunity to express both our chosen disciplines and we happily have quite enough to occupy ourselves for the foreseeable future’.