A detached, two-bedroom cottage near Banbury in Oxfordshire, dating from 1860. The owners bought the house in 2003 and have gradually changed the layout and redecorated. This home is full of understated period elegance, with neutral heritage shades and bold feature walls. Despite the cottage’s rural location, the owner has avoided a typically country look, opting instead for a smart, sympathetic mix of old and new furniture and fabric, tied together with classic paint colours.
A hallway might be the least used room in the house, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a pleasant place to spend time. Here, the owners have created a place to stop and pause by placing a seat underneath a window. This floral upholstered bench doubles up as storage for books, magazines and toys.
The sink is under the window to make the most of the lovely view of the garden and surrounding countryside. Chalkboards, when smothered in everything from shopping lists to sketches, look great and allow us to scrawl straight on to a surface, making them perfect accessories for kitchens.
Not on the High Street
Full-height cupboards beside the fireplace keep clutter to a minimum. The owner has used an opulent plum and gold wallpaper to inject some drama into the otherwise neutral living room. Built-in storage is essential in small rooms as you can get so much in it. Find a local carpenter, then paint the cupboard or wardrobe doors the same colour as the walls for a seamless look that makes the space feel bigger.
Having small rooms doesn’t mean you can’t use deep and dramatic colours and patterns. The secret is to make a feature of just one or two elements in a room, such as a wall, painting or statement armchair, and keep everything else simple and understated.
Moving the white goods to the kitchen made room for a large family dining table. The soft green on the walls and ceiling creates a cosy feel. In a small space, a sizeable mirror will help to bounce light around the room.
The owners’ room is simple, with dark-wood furniture and classic white bed linen. They had a striking vertical radiator fitted in the alcove to the side of the chimney breast to free up wall space elsewhere. Vertical radiators make it easier to place furniture where you want without blocking the heat and are an excellent choice for otherwise wasted areas, such as alcoves.