This detached, extended charming Devon cottage is more than meets the eye.
Although parts of it date from the early 1700s, the clean decorating scheme takes the home into the - very stylish - present.
Six years after downsizing from their family home to a two-bedroom cottage in a small Devon town, the now-owners of this property realised that they were running short of space.
‘We had three beautiful grandchildren by then,’ they say. ‘Family is really important and we just didn’t have room inside or outside for them to visit and stay with us comfortably.’
The owners, who are seasoned renovators, began a search for a larger property, with charm and scope for improvement. Spotting a picturesque thatched three-bedroom home, they fell for the pretty cottage garden ideas and quiet location.
The original building had been extended about a hundred years ago to include a small kitchen, and again in the 1960s, adding a dining room and conservatory. The interior felt tired, dark and a little disjointed, with patterned wallpapers and fussy curtains.
‘I loved the idea of a thatched property, as we’d never owned one before,' say the owners. 'And although the decor was very busy and not to our taste, I knew we could change that. I felt sure we’d find some character and original features, too, once we started looking.'
The couple decided to take on the project, which entailed updating and redecorating every room.
The layout of the cottage has hardly been altered, but the owners were keen to improve on the cramped kitchen, sandwiched between the sitting and dining rooms. Their solution was to replace the old conservatory with an extension which now houses a bright, spacious kitchen-diner.
‘We wanted that large, sociable space with a simple, symmetrical design and lots of natural light, and we’re delighted with the finished room,’ say the owners. ‘It’s turned out better than we could have imagined.’
Roof lights let natural light into the heart of the rustic kitchen ideas, enhancing the sense of height and space. They avoided wall cabinets to capitalise on the bright, open feel.
The boot room
Meanwhile, the former kitchen has become a home for handy boot room ideas.
They added hooks to a weathered old oar, picked up at a local market, to make a stylish hanging rail. The bench, originally dark wood, has been painted for a lighter look.
The sitting room
In the sitting room, the owners unearthed a rustic brick fireplace, now beautifully restored.
Painting the low ceiling beams white has lightened the country living room ideas. Touches of grey, taupe and black throughout the house, along with antiques and heirlooms, infuse the brilliant white schemes with character.
The decorating details
Dated arches around the doorways have been squared-off for a cleaner, more modern look.
One of the biggest challenges of decorating was to bring a sense of flow to the house. ‘I like my home to feel light and calm, so the walls are white throughout, and there’s a narrow palette of greys and taupes, with touches of black,’ the owners say.
‘That’s helped draw the different parts of the house together, so modern furniture can sit comfortably next to older, or more “country cottage-style” things.’
The master bedroom
When the owners removed the dated built-in wardrobes in the main bedroom, they found another quaint little fireplace.
The master bedroom ideas have been softened with rugs. ‘The floorboards have a few scratches now, but I don’t really mind,’ says Annette. ‘It’s all part of the cottage character.’
Some black-painted panelling came away from the landing ceilings to reveal dramatic and well-preserved structural timbers.
‘They looked amazing, and finding them was such a lovely surprise,’ say the owners. ‘The landing area feels so much better, too, much lighter and more open.’
For the staircase ideas, the couple painted all the wooden spindles. They then took up old carpets and painted the floorboards white too for a fresher look.
The couple rearranged the layout to include a free-standing bath. The restored structural beam makes a striking rustic feature.
The couple now have five grandchildren and the move back to a bigger property has definitely proved to be the right one for them.
‘This is a homely, peaceful place to live,’ they say. ‘Having such a lovely space where our children and grandchildren can spend time with us is just what we wanted.’
Additional words: Annabelle Grundy
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