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This is such a beautiful place,’ says artist and owner of this three-bed cottage. ‘I was brought up here in Suffolk and I love the nature and wonderful skies. I went to university and then off travelling, but I came back to Suffolk and appreciated living here even more. It provides a lot of inspiration for my country-themed artwork.’
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The owner lives in the quaint 16th-century cottage on an idyllic village high street with her partner. They have his parents to thank for introducing him to the village. Ten years ago, they bought a house here and he liked visiting the area so much, he snapped up the cottage next door when it came up for sale four years ago. ‘He loved the people, the village and the atmosphere. It’s such a nice community here,’ says the owner.
She was living nearby and knew the village well when she moved in with her partner two years ago. ‘I loved the cottage,’ she says. ‘It’s cosy and full of character.’
Her partner had already done a lot of work on the building before he met her, gradually renovating the cottage over a three-year period. It needed a new roof and heating, and he was keen to re-introduce period character as the previous owners had boxed over many of the old features, including the beams.
This Grade II-listed, 16th-century cottage with three bedrooms is on the high street of a pretty village in Suffolk. It needed extensive changes, including reworking the layout to open up its interior and create a light and spacious home.
It might seem there was little more for the owner to contribute, but she helped add the finishing touches to the cottage when she moved in. ‘It was a little sparse at first,’ she laughs. ‘There weren’t any doors!’
Her artist’s eye can be seen in the combination of simple decor and creative design ideas that give the cottage its unique character. She used a white and off-white backdrop to show off the beams and exposed brickwork. ‘I tried to keep the interior light throughout as it works with the accessories. We wanted the cottage to have a fresh and airy feel and the neutral colours are in keeping with the country look.’
The owner’s partner brought more light into the front of the house by knocking through part of the wall between the living room and hallway and replacing it with new vertical oak beams that are now a stunning architectural feature.
Many of the fabrics, accessories and soft furnishings in the cottage come from the owner’s own country-themed range. ‘They’re inspired by the wildlife we see around us. I’ve painted animals and wildlife for the last eight years then moved more into interiors two years ago, creating fabrics based on my watercolour designs,’ she says. ‘They’re in neutral tones and are great for adding subtle colour and pattern to a room.’
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The kitchen, with its soft blue/grey cabinets, reclaimed Suffolk floor bricks, exposed brickwork and bold blue Aga built into the fireplace is the owner’s favourite room. ‘We both enjoy cooking and socialising. Everyone gravitates towards the Aga,’ she says.
‘One of my partner’s uncles is a talented architect who helped him come up with a plan for adjusting the layout,’ explains the owner. He designed an open-plan kitchen-diner, removing the ceiling in the dining area to open the space up to the beams for added wow factor.
A light and bright area has been created by opening the ceiling up to the beams and adding a skylight. Classic farmhouse furniture blends in with the beams and reclaimed Suffolk floor bricks.
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Painted and wooden furniture teamed with mix-and-match fabrics creates a classic country feel upstairs in the master bedroom.
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Upstairs, the beams were exposed and new bathrooms installed, with the owner’s partner adding an en-suite shower to the main bedroom. A tongue and groove bath panel injects a country feel to the bathroom’s monochrome scheme.
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The owner has also converted one of the bedrooms into a workroom she can use when she’s not at her studio. ‘It’s lovely to be able to work from home in idyllic surroundings,’ she says. ‘We love the sense of community here, as well as having amenities on our doorstep like the butcher and baker.’