Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the traditional whitewashed exterior of this shepherd’s cottage gives way to an inspirational modern country interior with vintage touches
The owner of this four-bedroom 17th century cottage shares her home with her husband, three daughters, two border collies, five cats and three ponies. Being the founder of a luxury holiday lettings company, this property too was bought as as a holiday home and they never imagined that they would ever live there permanently. ‘When we first bought it, we weren’t ready for such a rural setting,’ says the owner. ‘Then, after we had children, we decided on a complete lifestyle change.’ The cottage needed a lot of work, and the family wanted to modernise it whilst evoking its history too.
The property is a 17th century shepherd’s cottage situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It actually straddles two counties – the cottage itself is in Monmouthshire while the land is in Powys. ‘We love the connectivity that we have found with nature, the mountains and the constantly changing seasons.’ But the building itself seemed to have lost touch with its roots. ‘Nothing original was left so our plan was to bring authenticity back by buying as much as we could from reclamation yards.’
Original flagstones are a wonderful period feature in the country hallway while the mirror enhances the light. Large lettering in a bold colour adds character and personality to the otherwise neutral space.
The owners have set the tone with a traditional Shaker-style kitchen in a soothing neutral colour, which they’ve teamed with retro furniture and antique-style lighting to create an on-trend look. ‘I choose vintage and retro items because I love old things that have a story behind them or are upcycled.’
Galvanised metal chairs make for relaxed seating while giving a nod to retro style. Pretty striped cloth over the table and teamed with grain sack cushions creates a a chic yet rustic French café look. The owner has chosen a trio of iconic prints to add interest to the walls.
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The eye-catching geometric rug has visual impact that lifts the scheme, then leads the eye to the rustic texture of the exposed stone walls and inglenook. The owner has followed through with fabrics in harmonising knocked-back stripes for a classic, understated feel.
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In the dining room vintage chairs have been mixed and matched with a time-worn feel. Wooden chapel chairs sourced from reclamation yards and antiques fairs introduce mellow tones while distressed wooden chairs creates a relaxed rustic ambience. The owner has also sourced decorative cast iron radiators to add character.
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Tuck a desk under the stairs for an instant home office that doesn’t intrude on the rest of the room. For period elegance, choose a classic distressed design, but be sure this is not just a decorative item – try to find a desk with a worksurface large enough for an unobtrusive laptop, lots of drawers for handy storage, plus enough legroom for comfort. Warm up your ‘office’ with a collection of framed prints on the wall beyond.
The master bedroom is calming Nordic space using neutral shades as a backdrop with pops of bold colour that sing out. ‘I painted almost everything white before adding colour,’ says the owner. ‘My palette is white, grey and red.’ Accent colour is used here sparingly for maximum effect. The owner has injected a few well-chosen red accessories such as a desk lamp, a clock, a striped cushion, and even a collection of colour-coordinated books in the bedside storage area which makes goo use of awkward areas when space is at a premium.
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Buy now: Anglepoise Type 75 mini desk lamp £105, The Conran Shop
As with the master bedroom white walls and flooring creates a fresh backdrop in the children’s bedroom which is anchored with matching timeless iron beds. Jolly bedlinen and a playful rug adds a sense of fun. Stringing up pretty bunting – a key country-style ingredient – makes for a pretty decorative touch.
An elegant roll-top bath stands out against the tongue and groove backdrop in the country bathroom, while a specially-built vanity unit with capacious storage is crowned with a rustic reclaimed counter-top basin. ‘This is a small house and bespoke furniture really helps keep it as clutter-free as possible.’