Explore this characterful home that was just built for Christmas

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  • Christmas is a special time for the owners of this beautiful property, which really comes alive during the festive season. After living in France for a number of years, the couple stumbled upon this picturesque cottage while searching for a new home in Sussex. ‘As soon as we set eyes on this one, we were smitten,’ they say. ‘In some ways it had a French feel,’ they add, pointing out the round tower. ‘We also liked the Tudor-style features – the arched windows with leaded lights, the big fireplaces and the characterful nooks.’

    Undaunted by the discovery of asbestos ceilings, plus plumbing and wiring in need of a major overhaul, the couple worked out a plan to brighten the dark interior and increase the size of the kitchen and dining room. ‘We extended backwards and swapped the position of these rooms, creating a view of the terrace from the kitchen,’ they explain.

    The couple were keen to modernise without compromising the character of the house. ‘We wanted to respect the ideas of the original architect, who built around 70 cottages in the area during the 1920s, mainly for his Bohemian friends,’ they say. ‘The wooden beams in the drawing room were beautiful but dark. We kept them, and decided to lighten the grain by having them sandblasted. Upstairs we painted the beams instead, for a softer effect.’

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