Jackie and John Forsbrey have brought contemporary, Italian design to their traditional Cotswold cottage
A Georgian cottage in Gloucestershire gets a makeover, with the help of contemporary Italian pieces
A slower pace of life was a priority for Jackie and John Forsbrey when they decided to retire to the Cotswolds three years ago. ‘ We were living in Berkshire and our daily round commute to our jobs in London was four hours,’ says Jackie, ‘so we were ready for a change.’ It was during one of their frequent visits to the Cotswolds that they saw a Georgian cottage for sale.
‘Our plan was to downsize to a property we could comfortably fix up ourselves,’ explains Jackie. ‘Although this cottage was dark and dreary, we could see it had potential.’
Built in the mid-1800s, the stone building was part of a former Georgian rectory that had been renovated in 1990. The roof and walls were in excellent condition so, with no major structural work to do, the couple could focus on the interior. ‘We fitted a new kitchen and bathroom straight away,’ says Jackie, ‘and then we created a dining space. The kitchen is tiny and we couldn’t do much to change the layout, but replacing the dark-brown wooden cabinets with a modern design transformed it instantly.’ Dated floor tiles were swapped with Cotswold stone and shelving was added in the dining area.
The couple decided to replace an open fire in the sitting room with a woodburner and, while the builders were knocking out the fireplace, they discovered a huge inglenook. ‘It was so deep, we were worried we’d end up in our neighbour’s house,’ laughs Jackie, ‘ but it was the perfect size for us to design a grand mantelpiece made of Cotswold stone.’
The couple brought much of the furniture from their previous home and wanted to create a neutral backdrop for their beautifully curated collection of contemporary pieces. ‘ We chose a simple palette for a clean, fresh scheme and, once the paint was on the walls, it seemed like a different house,’ says Jackie. She and John share a love of Italian design, especially its modular, practical lines. ‘John will change things around every few months to create a new look. It keeps things interesting.’
Having worked their magic in every room, Jackie and John can now enjoy their new home. ‘It’s such a lovely, quiet location, and the cottage has totally lived up to our expectations,’ says Jackie. ‘It’s a calm and restful place to spend our retirement, and we are enjoying every moment.’
Sitting Room iconic pieces bring a timeless elegance to this space. solo ’14 armchair, £2,642; lithos occasional table, £1,442; frank round occasional table, £883; all B&B italia
Kitchen A Shaker-style kitchen suits this compact space. kitchen, from £ 400 for a base unit; glass splashback, £348; both cotteswood
master Bedroom ‘i want to feel spoiled when i spend time in here,’ says Jackie. try the emily bed frame, £350, john lewis. tris floor lamp, £89, Made.com, has a similar look
Dining AREA ‘Fitted shelves make great use of an alcove,’ says Jackie. try the Brompton rustic oak cross leg table, £399, oakworld. Hal tube chairs by Vitra, £162 each, john lewis, are similar