Explore this enchanting timber-framed new build in a Surrey conservation area

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  • Unable to find their forever home, this couple built their own oak-framed cottage, complete with an eclectic interior

    This couple had lived in the same pretty Surrey village for most of their married lives, having originally moved there so their children could have a countryside upbringing. Once their kids had grown up and left, the couple decided it was time to move from their family home, but were keen to stay in 
the same village.

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    They had bought a nearby cottage to renovate, originally thinking that they would rent it out, but they ended up selling their house and moving there instead. ‘It overlooked fields and, as it was smaller than the house we were living in, we thought we’d try downsizing,’ says the owner.

    Although living in a smaller property felt right, the cottage didn’t feel like their forever home. But then a neighbour mentioned that they were looking to sell some of their land. ‘We have always liked a project, so decided 
to buy the land and build our own house. We were thrilled at the prospect of being able to design it ourselves,’ says the owner.

    Exterior

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    The couple applied to build a two-storey barn-style property. However, the plans were rejected for being out of character 
with the conservation area that they lived in. They were only 
given permission to build a single-storey house.

    Undeterred, they visited a homebuilding fair for inspiration and came across green-oak-framing company, Border Oak. ‘We loved their designs,’ they recall. ‘We travelled to their Herefordshire base and show home, visiting several times to discuss what we could build.

    ‘We wanted something not entirely untraditional, but with 
a slight contemporary edge. Together we came up with the finished design – something between a low Californian-style house and 
an English country cottage. They’re a wonderful company.’

    Open-plan living room

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Once completed, the owner went to town on the interior. ‘We bought some new furniture as we wanted to start afresh,’ she says.

    ‘I found lots of pieces at One World Trading and Neptune. I like scouting things out – I’m a good shopper! The interior is a modern but eclectic mix of things, with lots of items we bought on our travels over the years, too.’

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Pops of rich colour combined with ethnic touches create an eclectic feel.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Frederick sofas, £POA, Voyage Maison
    Buy now: St James Upholstered Grey occasional chair, £495, One World Trading
    Buy now: Monticello Metal & Glass Coffee Table, £795, Oka

    Kitchen

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Oak beams bring a sense of history to the new build, while the vaulted ceiling makes a statement and creates a stunning backdrop. The bespoke cabinetry was made by Richard Ward Joinery.

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Large windows offer views out to the garden.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Butler & Rose Ceramic Fireclay Double Belfast Kitchen Sink, £189.99, Tap Warehouse
    Buy now: Running Hare Grey Pattern Tea Towel, £9.95, Sam Wilson

    Dining room

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Soft pinks and warm woods create a mellow 
look that’s perfect for entertaining.

    Buy now: Harrogate 6 seater dining table, £1,000, Neptune
    Buy now: Walls painted in Farrow & Ball Strong White Estate emulsion, £46.50 for 2.5 ptrs, B&Q

    Master bedroom

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    A soft grey backdrop throughout the house provides continuity and a sense of calm to the interior. ‘We painted the walls in Cornforth White and Strong White by Farrow & Ball to make the house look big and light,’ says Sheila. ‘We then introduced pops of jolly colour with the textiles and accessories.’

    Here, sumptuous colours and fabrics create a luxe feel.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Elsie chair, £POA, Voyage Maison
    Buy now: Similar Malmo bedside tables, £295, Oka

    Guest bedroom

    A palette of zingy citrus and soothing blues creates a cheery look in the guest bedroom.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Blenheim 3 Drawer Bedside chest, £650, Ideal Home
    Buy now: Similar Avoca Heavy Herringbone Throw, Turquoise Fleck, £165, John Lewis

    En suite

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    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Ready for another? Step inside a Somerset farmhouse full of characterful homemade touches

    The couple are now confident that they have found their forever home. ‘We love living here,’ says the owner. ‘We thought it would be too small for us but it’s perfect. It’s like a holiday home 
as we’re in and out all the time. It’s the best thing we ever did!’

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