na­ture’s bounty

Sim­ple tones and rus­tic touches re­flect the idyl­lic ru­ral set­ting of this Lin­colnshire farmer’s cot­tage

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture Max­ine Brady | Pho­tog­ra­phy Rachel SMITH

When Clara Trus­sler spot­ted this Lin­colnshire farmer’s cot­tage for sale, her heart skipped a beat. ‘I hadn’t even been in­side be­fore I told my hus­band Mark that this was where I wanted us to live,’ she says. ‘It was my dream cot­tage with lots of char­ac­ter – a place to start a fam­ily.’

In July 2007, the couple had been look­ing to sell their new-build and move closer to Lin­coln and the cot­tage fit­ted the bill. ‘The place had been owned by an el­derly couple and had es­caped mod­ern up­dates,’ says Clara. The com­pact lay­out fea­tured a tiny sit­ting room and a kitchen with a few ba­sic units. Along the back was a lean-to 1970s sun room. There was a shower room in the hall, and the din­ing room was bright pink with match­ing car­pets and an an­cient gas fire­place. Up­stairs, the

bed­rooms were fit­ted with dated wardrobes, and the bath­room had an av­o­cado-coloured suite. ‘The house was so damp that wall­pa­per was hang­ing off,’ adds Clara.

With no ren­o­va­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, the couple got stuck in. ‘ We wanted to cre­ate a larger kitchen, an ex­tra bed­room and a gen­er­ous liv­ing space. We came up with the lay­out our­selves, and had plans drawn up.’ On a tight bud­get, the pair took on most of the work them­selves. They stripped away out­dated fix­tures and fit­tings, and knocked plas­ter off the walls to get at the source of the damp. In the front bed­room, they dis­cov­ered the re­mains of a fire­place that had been hid­den for years be­hind the ugly fit­ted wardrobes.

Once the walls were hacked back, they were in­jected with damp­proof­ing so­lu­tion, then plas­tered. ‘Our friends helped us out which kept us on bud­get,’ says Clara. ‘One friend did some plas­ter­ing while an­other fit­ted the bath­room tiles in re­turn for home cooked meals.’

As Clara and Mark worked through the house, they dis­cov­ered more pe­riod fea­tures hid­den away. ‘ We found a fire­place arch­way in the din­ing room which we left ex­posed,’ says Clara. ‘Mark hired a dig­ger and started on the foun­da­tions for the kitchen and side ex­ten­sion – he even built and tiled the roof him­self with the help of our neigh­bours.’ The kitchen it­self was built by a lo­cal joiner. ‘ We couldn’t af­ford the whole kitchen at once so we got items made as and when we could af­ford them,’ adds Clara. ‘ We’ve all be­come close over the years, and our chil­dren, El­iza and Isaac, are now friends with his chil­dren.’

When it came to the fin­ish­ing touches, Clara turned to na­ture for in­spi­ra­tion, fur­nish­ing her home with an­tique finds, wooden pieces and rus­tic shapes, with walls painted in soft, neu­tral tones. ‘Liv­ing in the coun­try­side, I take in­spi­ra­tion from na­ture,’ she says. ‘We picked ob­jects made from nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als like wood, clay and wool that add depth, tex­ture and warmth. I love our home and how it evolves as our tastes and style de­velop. One thing we’ll never tire of is look­ing out of the win­dow, tak­ing in the views over the fields.’

SIT­TING room The foot­stool was an an­tiques fair find. ‘I love hunt­ing down old pieces,’ says Clara. ‘I sell bro­cante home ac­ces­sories at my Etsy store, Hygge and Home.’ Rab­bit cush­ions, £12 each, both habi­tat. deer head, £60; wool blan­ket, £80, both hygge and home

KITCHEN ‘A U-shaped lay­out keeps the work area en­closed and ev­ery­thing close to hand,’ says Clara. Units painted in Pavil­ion Gray es­tate eggshell, £60 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball. Tap, £ 422, Per­rin & Rowe. Try the Villeroy & Boch Farm­house 60 sink, £227, Way­fair

Din­ing ROOM The beau­ti­ful par­quet floor­ing orig­i­nally came from a school in Don­caster and Clara had it fit­ted by a lo­cal joiner. walls painted in Lamp Room gray es­tate emul­sion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball. Din­ing chairs painted in An­tique white, £10 per 750ml, Rust-oleum. For a sim­i­lar ta­ble, try Loaf, £695

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