good to be back
When Natasha Amos returned to her rural roots, it didn’t take long for her and husband David to find a quaint family hideaway with lots of space
A farm building in the Scottish countryside proved the ideal place for this couple to bring up their children
Natasha and David Amos met while they were living in London, but Natasha always knew she would go back to her roots. ‘Having been brought up in the East Lothian countryside, I warned David long before we married that, one day, I wanted to return to Scotland,’ she says. ‘Our first home together was a flat in Edinburgh city centre. But when our sons, Fred, now 6, and Felix, 5, were born, I realised I wanted a similar country childhood for them.’
The couple tentatively started looking for a family home and soon came across the renovated farm cottage where they now live. ‘It was only the second property we saw and we instantly knew it was the one,’ recalls Natasha. Originally a row of tumbledown farm buildings, they had been transformed into three cottages in the late 1970s. Then, 15 years ago, a developer acquired all three, adding an upper level to one for himself, before knocking the other two together.
‘We’d never expected to buy a family home on one level,’ says Natasha, ‘ but it works and flows beautifully.’ The sleeping zone is at one end, with the living area at the other, and as they were originally two properties,
the garden is twice the size you would expect. The kitchen and conservatory are at the back, so Natasha can keep an eye on her sons in the garden, while cooking or relaxing.
‘The house was in good condition when we bought it, I just wanted to put my own stamp on the decor,’ says Natasha. ‘I chose a muted palette of blues and greys with a few pink and purple splashes. These hues work well in the countryside because it reflects the gentle scenery we are surrounded by.’
Natasha updated the kitchen, adding a built-in American-style fridge and larder. Loathe to replace the perfectly serviceable existing units, she painted them. ‘I couldn’t decide on one colour and wanted the room to be a little more modern, so I chose two – a deep blue and pale grey,’ she says. ‘My friend Susanne, who works for design studio Ampersand Interiors, told me about the two-colour rule – tall and top should be a lighter shade, and wide and low darker.’
‘I also get a lot of satisfaction from being inventive,’ she continues. ‘I often come across something in a designer shop or a magazine and I set about creating it by an alternative route for a fraction of the price.’
The family have slotted into country living easily and enjoy being part of the local community. ‘I’m always out walking our dog, Tula, plus we keep our pony, Merlin, in the adjoining field,’ says Natasha. ‘The boys love the space and freedom. Everything has fallen into place perfectly, and it has been a great move for the whole family – we love our outdoor, muddy boots lifestyle.’
DECORATING TIP ‘Mix calm, muted colours with bolder moments – this has surprisingly dramatic results’
Sitting room A bold-coloured chimney breast wall is a brilliant way to separate the seating area and the dining room. Chimney breast painted in Pelt estate emulsion; opening painted in Mole’s Breath estate emulsion, both £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Farrow...
BATHROOM Pale greys create a calm ambience. walls painted in Ammonite estate emulsion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Farrow & ball. white metro wall tiles, £19.50sq m, topps tiles
MASTER BEDROOM Cushions and a throw introduce tactile texture. Ladderstitch double duvet set, £95, Laura thomas Linens. bed, £517, Maisons du Monde
GUEST BEDROOM Metallic finishes add glamour. Metal bed frame, £800, Feather & black. Padded blanket box, £200, Made.com
FRED’S BEDROOM This scheme is fun and lively to reflect his personality. bed, £300, Noa & Nani. blue star rug, £60; storage baskets, from £30, both the great Little trading Company