A neutral colour palette and well-loved furniture gives this coastal cottage a relaxed holiday feel

This restful seaside retreat is a breath of fresh sea air - lovingly filled with character
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  • From the start, the homeowner had a picture in her mind. She wanted her seaside holiday cottage to feel like a relaxed extension of home, sourcing vintage furniture and finds to instantly cloak rooms in a loved and lived-in mood.

    The homeowner, an interior designer, and her husband, know the seaside town of Broadstairs well. They’ve visited friends on many occasions and returned for holidays with their two teenage children.

    ‘We were really keen to buy a fisherman’s cottage, but there aren’t many here compared to other seaside towns,’ she explains. ‘Ours is a captain’s cottage, typically Georgian with one room at the front and one room at the back on each of the four floors.’

    The family began the project by reconfiguring the layout of their coastal cottage home: they created two bathrooms using space from bedrooms; a large bathroom became a fourth bedroom; and opened the lower ground floor into a kitchen-dining-living room. After decorating in a restful grey-white, the homeowner layered fabrics, furniture and art in sage green, blue-greys and dusky pink.

    Dining area

    cottage style dining room with vintage furniture

    Image credit: Future/James French

    The lower ground floor is much brighter since the couple removed the wall that separated the kitchen and painted the walls and floor in a grey-white.

    The rustic French table with its flaking paint and battered surface is one of the key pieces that captures the homeowner’s concept for relaxed and lived-in decoration. Textured wood in varying tones contrast against the white walls with a touch of modern in the concrete pendants.

    Living room

    relaxed living room with floral upholstery

    Image credit: Future/James French

    ‘Key vintage furniture in each room is beautifully imperfect and set the rhythm for the laidback, homely style I wanted,’ says the homeowner. ‘I worked with the character of the cottage rather than imposing a specific style,’ she says.

    Upholstery in florals is a thread that runs through the coastal cottage, particularly in the white living living room idea. Imaginative vintage pieces, like the wicker elephant table, were chance finds on eBay. Brilliantly paired with a high street jute rug that has a vintage look.

    Kitchen

    cottage style kitchen with upcycled cabinetry

    Image credit: Future/James French

    ‘I recreated the look of a cottage kitchen with doors made from pine floorboards painted grey,’ says the homeowner of her country kitchen idea. ‘I asked my joiner to make the worktop from old scaffolding boards,’ she continues.

    Kitchen detail

    art vignette in kitchen

    Image credit: Future/James French

    The 1907 floral oil painting caught the homeowner’s eye and has a touch of pink that echoes the detailing in the rest of the cottage. ‘What’s important is the art is authentic as that adds to making the cottage feel like a home rather than a generic holiday house,’ notes the homeowner.

    Sitting room

    modern sofa mixed with vintage finds

    Image credit: Future/James French

    New and old rub along together where the modern sofa was chosen for comfort and the pale pink, muted greens and gentle blues reference a traditional Georgian colour palette.

    As an avid Instagram user, the homeowner took inspiration from favourite designers, Ben Pentreath, Daniel Slowik and Jasper Conran – liking their flair for styling rooms by layering books and art, textures and textiles.

    ‘I love how they bring out stories with carefully chosen antiques,’ she says. ‘I took note of that, hunting out lamps, rugs, throws and original paintings to decorate our cottage.’

    Master bedroom

    main bedroom with French vintage shutters as headboard

    Image credit: Future/James French

    A pair of weathered French antique shutters make an eye-catching DIY headboard idea in the master bedroom. A dressing table built from reclaimed floorboards on iron supports makes the best use of space.

    ‘The colours reflect traditional Georgian decoration and worked with my need to create a sense of history and calmness throughout,’ says the homeowner. ‘Textures are important too. I love rustic, chipped and scuffed furniture that would have been loved once upon a time, pieces with soul, which have lived their own history.’

    Daughter’s bedroom

    twin bedroom with wall panelling and natural ceiling pendant

    Image credit: Future/James French

    A simple yet effective wall panelling idea gives the room character and a place to display art.

    vintage desk detail with stacked frames

    Image credit: Future/James French

    ‘I had an image in my mind of the desk, mirror and lamp before we’d even started,’ says the homeowner. ‘This is my favourite room.’

    Bathroom

    bathroom with vintage pink sink

    Image credit: Future/James French

    ‘I wanted a hint of colour and a pink vintage basin had been on my mind,’ says the homeowner. ‘I sourced this on eBay,’ she says.

    Stairwell

    rope handrail in stairwell

    Image credit: Future/James French

    A rope handrail is a nod to the seaside location. ‘The bendy staircase is delightful and the heart and soul of the property,’ says the homeowner.

    Although decorated and fully furnished, the cottage continues to evolve. ‘I love that the cottage has been created by us, for us,’ she says. ‘Everything I’ve bought, I’ve chosen with care, and that’s what makes being here feel so special. Every time we arrive here and walk inside, we relax and switch straight into holiday mode.’

    Feature by Jane Crittenden.

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