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

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture ALI­SON GIBB | Photography DOU­GLAS GIBB

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,

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

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