In my post on Accessories, I came across this adorably charming English country stone cottage on Country Living’s website. To die for. It also reminded me of Kate Winslet’s country cottage in The Holiday – almost as if one were the inspiration for the other. The house is owned by interior designer Julie Oswald and her husband Colin Caygill, who renovated the building and then scavenged for the right furnishings and finishes to make it feel as if everything had always been there, but still have all the amenities of modern living, such as heated floors and a great shower. As Julie says – “It’s not the dark ages!”
The Bastle Stone Cottage
This house, located in Northumberland is what’s known as a bastle. These were fortified farm houses and other structures along border towns during the 16th and 17th centuries which were built to protect their inhabitants from, in this case, Scottish marauders. Thick stone walls abound, which the couple learned to do lime plaster in order to smooth out and warm them up a bit.
I love the juxtaposition of the stone floors and walls. They look cold (and I believe it IS cold in the north of England), but they are heated which is nice in winter and must be pleasantly cool in the summer. The photo above gives a better idea of the layout of the main room – which includes the living and dining areas.
And in these photos above and below we get to see more of the detail of both spaces. Collections of pewter ware and interesting casegoods abound. I love the painted clock below. The delicate fret work on the bonnet is highlighted so well with the soft paint color.
One thing I’d like to point out is that the dining chair slipcovers above are slightly short. I think this is actually kind of smart. I have very similar chairs and slips in my house which are too the ground, but the front of the chairs inevitably is longer than the back due to pulling (these are if you notice) and then they get very dirty because feet rest on them, they pick up dog hairs and other detritus of living. Whenever I get around to have a new set made for my chairs, I will be having them hemmed a tiny bit off the floor.
It’s difficult to carve out a modern kitchen in an antique home. The electrical and plumbing have to be carefully integrated and sometimes drilling just isn’t possible. BTW – the little stone dog pitcher is making the rounds I notice in these photos. Not a dis – just nice to know other people re-use items on photo shoots. I have a stoneware pitcher that is in three of my photoshoots – shhh…!
But if you want to peruse my portfolio and figure out what I’m talking about, I’ll send a prize to the first one who does so!
And a final little peak into The Bastle.
The Joiners Shop Stone Cottage
So, the surprise is that after they completed The Bastle stone cottage, they then tackled the detached Joiners shop. And, both properties are available to rent either together or separately!
The buildings are next to each other, but have separate outdoor spaces.
They are designed using the same finishes and style so they feel all of a piece. Each building sleeps 4.
I think the Joiners Shop seems to be a little bit more “humble” than The Bastle stone cottage, but still charming.
- Embrace Cozy Decor:
- Choose warm, earthy tones for your interior, such as rich browns, deep greens, and warm creams. Consider incorporating traditional English patterns like florals or checks for curtains, upholstery, and cushions.
- Invest in cozy, comfortable furniture. Think about adding a plush sofa, a couple of armchairs, and perhaps a rustic wooden coffee table to create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.
- Utilize Natural Materials:
- Emphasize the cottage’s natural charm by using materials like exposed stone, wood, and wrought iron. These elements contribute to a rustic, authentic feel.
- Consider wooden beams on the ceilings or exposed stone walls to highlight the cottage’s architectural features.
- Create a Cottage Garden:
- Take advantage of the outdoor space around your stone cottage by cultivating a cottage garden. Plant flowers like roses, lavender, and hollyhocks to add color and fragrance.
- Include a mix of herbs and perhaps a small vegetable patch for a functional and picturesque garden.
- Use Soft Lighting:
- Enhance the cozy ambiance with soft, warm lighting. Opt for table lamps, floor lamps, and wall sconces with shades that emit a gentle glow.
- Consider using candles or a fireplace for additional warmth and a touch of romance during the evenings.
- Blend Modern Comfort with Vintage Charm:
- While maintaining the cottage’s historic charm, don’t be afraid to incorporate modern comforts. Invest in quality appliances and fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Integrate smart home technology discreetly, so it doesn’t compromise the cottage’s aesthetic but enhances its functionality.
I’ve put together a boutique of charming cottage items to get this look! (Please note that this boutique includes affiliate links. A small commission is paid on purchases, at no extra cost to the buyer. This goes to help support this blog. Thank you!).