The owners of this home, who work in interior design and IT, bought this three-bedroom 17th century thatched cottage in Hampshire in 2004. It had been a weekend bolthole for the previous owners and had suffered a series of botched repair jobs over the years.
The couple began the restoration process by employing a specialist builder to render the property inside and out with horsehair and lime. New hand-blown single-glazing was made to comply with the cottages Grade-II listed status, while other major work included laying oak flooring throughout the ground floor and installing a new bathroom. The couple also replaced the dated kitchen.
Putting right the old decorating mistakes ate into the couples budget but it enabled them to use their interior design skills to the full. By decorating rooms in soft neutral shades and layering texture to add warmth, they have given the home a comfortable, contemporary look, while never straying too far away from its period roots.
The advantage of the cottages relaxed colour palette and simple style means it can be easily transformed to celebrate the festive season. A Christmassy mood is set using wreaths, garlands and baubles in every room of the cottage, with a seasonal display in the dining room window that is much-loved by local villagers and has now become something of a village institution.
The kitchen cabinets had to be made by hand because the walls of the cottage were uneven and also to accomodate the original wooden beams. Oak flooring gives the space a warm and cosy feel, while the cream-painted cabinets and pale blue accent colours around the rom keep the look fresh and bright.
The owners had hoped that the window area in the living room could be re-made entirely from glass, but this wasn't allowed by the planners. However, it is still a lovely place to sit and read and watch the birds in the garden outside.
Every year the owners put a Christmas display in the window that overlooks the village green. A collection of glass domes and cloches filled with mini houses and woodland animals adds a festive 'winter wonderland' theme.
Knocking out the old tiled fireplace and restoring the inglenook has given the living room added warmth and character. Unable to save the old brickwork, the inglenook was plastered and painted in Farrow & Ball's Cooking Apple Green paint. To add a festive flourish, a garland of greenery and red roses lit with LED lights decorates the wooden beam.
In the bedroom, the chandelier is positioned at the end of the bed because the ceilings of the cottage are so low. To bring a touch of Christmas to every room, the owners decorate the French-style bed with a large season garland bursting with berries, cones and baubles and swap the regular pillows for cheery festive cushions.
Soft blue walls create a tranquil mood that is perfect for a bedroom. The extra-wide French-style dressing table gives more space to display pretty ornaments, picture frames and bud vases.
Walls painted in Powder Estate emusion
Farrow & Ball
Decorating in the child's bedroom follows the same French-country theme in soft blue, grey and cream. The odd shape of the room meant that freestanding furniture was the only thing that fitted. The bed and cupboard were finds from a company that specialises in antique French furniture.
The utility room has been given the decorative treatment with a country-style storage bench and overhead coat rack that takes care of any of the family clutter. Festive greenery and a rustic heart-shaped wreath with twinkling fairly lights bring a Christmassy finishing touch.