When a former estate gardener’s cottage on the edge of Ashdown Forest became too small and impractical for a growing family, the owners decided to knock it down and rebuild a larger home that would pay homage to the original. The result is a four-bedroom house that, although built in the same footprint as the original cottage, is twice the size due to careful spatial planning, and which embodies the warmth and spirit of Arts & Crafts style. A Lutyens-inspired double-height oak and leaded window gives the house a statement feature as well as channelling plenty of natural light into the heart of the home, while antique furniture such as the vast apothecary chest seen here adds to the period feel.
Antique apothecary chest
The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea
Kingswood Christmas Trees
The house remains true to the original building’s Arts & Crafts pedigree with simple flagstone flooring, while the doors are fine examples of the traditional latch style. The owners use a natural theme to decorate their home for Christmas, and the scene is set at the front door, with fresh foliage artfully woven into a faux wreath.
Similar wreath and lace gift wrap
The White Company
By extending upwards, the owners were able to create the light-filled, open-plan internal spaces that they craved for their new home. Unusual antique finds appear throughout, mixed and matched with contemporary and reproduction pieces such as these simple white-painted kitchen stools from Ikea, and industrial-style lights made by a local craftsman.
The Christmas lunch table enjoys the owner’s careful attention; personalised place settings with elegant little name holders and a scattering of fresh ivy and plump white roses create her favourite festive look. Greens and whites echo the pared-back style of the house and create a fresh, relaxed feel.
Similar silver name holders
Form and function marry well in this small utility room adjoining the kitchen. The unique roman blind was made using a vintage French flour sack, and a traditional hanging clothes dryer makes efficient use of the space, while wicker baskets of varying sizes make for practical yet elegant storage.
With the ground floor comprising an open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen, as well as a separate study and conservatory, the young couple and their child have plenty of space in which to entertain family and friends at Christmas time. Built-in bookcases around the double doorway in the study helps them to keep their library of books and magazines tidy yet accessible, and an original 1940s campaign chair, a treasured family heirloom, adds to the classic feel.
Original 1950s chrome lamp
An antique mahogany side table and wall-mounted cabinet create a traditional feel in this study corner, while pale paint keeps the look light and fresh. Store stationary, papers and letters in a unique and practical metal set of drawers and add a lamp for a cosy reading space.
In winter, a wood-burning stove helps to heat this large space, which spans the sitting and dining areas, with the kitchen beyond. Where possible, the owners retained architectural elements of the original cottage, to give the new house a sense of heritage and continuity; here, a beam from the original property has been used to create a simple mantelpiece. The owners also reused clay roof tiles from the original cottage and integrated solar panels into the roof in order to be able to heat water naturally; “It means that we have the convenience of a new build home with the charm of a period property”.
Unique touches are used to create interest throughout the house and in the living room, the owners have used a pair of French windows (one is seen here, in the background), which were salvaged from a château and backed with mirror glass, to make the room feel wider than it is. A stone lamp base and elegant candle holders add to the antique French style, while fresh green and white flowers complement the soft grey of the walls.
Similar stone lamp base
Old pharmacy jars add a vintage touch to the white bathroom, while leaded windows throughout the house maintain the traditional Arts & Crafts style.
Similar pharmacy jars
By paying close attention to detail, the owners have managed to honour the Arts & Crafts nature of the original cottage. The oak ceiling beams, here as elsewhere, are a key element of this, while oak banisters and doors also serve to echo the features of the original property.
Farrow & Ball
Traditional toys and a confident mix of antique with new give this child’s bedroom a simple but elegant air. Large gold wooden letters add a fun and personal touch to plain walls, and a wicker basket provides practical and accessible storage for toys, clothes and books.
Greys and pale blues with white are used throughout the house and in the main bedroom, where the windows are fairly small, this combination creates an invaluable sense of light and airiness. “I like pared-back schemes and am inspired by French and Gustavian furniture,” says the owner. A built-in wardrobe makes efficient use of space, while a wooden chest of drawers adds warmth to a cool scheme.
A double wash stand with built-in storage maximises space in the small adjoining bathroom, while white paint and a large mirror enhance natural light.
Similar wash stand
The London Bath Co.
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