Embrace the natural beauty of brick and stone by paring back your walls to reveal what's underneath. Feature walls, arches and fireplaces have all been given a new lease of life in these homes and the effect is simply stunning!
Make an entrance
Bricks are the building blocks of a dwelling and architectural points of interest are likely to appear around windows and above doorways where the bricks are laid vertically for structural reasons. If you have an interesting shaped window or arched doorway, investigate further and see if you can expose the brick around it to add a highly individual feature.
White-painted brickwork can also look stylish in white in a modern country home. It has practical benefits, too, as paint has an insulating effect so it's a great way of reducing heat loss while retaining the texture of the brick. If you're doing the painting yourself, Cathryn Helsby of Earthborn Paints suggests "cleaning the bricks thoroughly using soapy water and a stiff brush before applying a coat of eco friendly claypaint."
Hearth of the home
Practical and purposeful, a bare brick chimneybreast not only oozes country style but is also a great way of enhancing the heat effect of the fire. Exposed brick psychologically has a naturally warm feeling so complements the cosiness radiated from the fireplace it surrounds, making it the ideal spot to sit and curl up in front of during the winter months.
Carved in stone
Stone was a common building material for old country dwellings. Exposing it internally in its entirety will create a stunning heritage feel and provide an earthy and textural alternative to a wall covering. An open fire, exposed beams and fabrics and furniture in muted shades enhance the cosy rustic look in this living room.
Make a design feature of an exposed brick wall in a newly built kitchen extension by factoring a herringbone splash back into the wall itself. To add old-age charm Mark Hassall from Authentic Reclamation advises, "sourcing original handmade bricks as there is no modern equivalent of a brick that was made by hand over a hundred years ago."
Not just the reserve of living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, exposed brickwork can also make a strong design statement in the smallest of interior spaces. Add a rough luxe style to a cottage cloakroom with reclaimed wood units, white sanitaryware, decorative floor tiles and bathroom accessories in shiny metal against a fully exposed brick wall.
In a traditional cottage, exposing small amounts of stonework can create a visual ‘trim' to a light-enhancing painted plaster wall without being too overbearing, perfect if you don't want a whole wall of exposed stone. Charlotte Cosby, Head of Creative at Farrow and Ball advises, "red-based neutrals complement exposed stonework beautifully. Try Dimity, Joa's White and Oxford Stone for teaming with natural materials like leather and stone."
Like this? For more ideas and inspiration visit the Country Homes & Interiors homepage.
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years.
She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.
How to hang lights around windows - 5 easy ways to make your house look merry and bright this Christmas
No nails? No problem!
By Lauren Bradbury
The common Christmas tree decorating mistakes you should always avoid
Step away from the decs, do not touch the tinsel, at least until you’ve checked out our top Christmas tree clangers
By Linda Clayton
How to protect your garden hose this winter – experts say this is what you need to do to avoid serious damage
Can you leave your garden hose outside this winter? Experts say you really shouldn’t to keep it from freezing
By Sara Hesikova