WITH A PASSION FOR ALL THINGS VINTAGE, SARAH COPLEY HAS ADDED A SHABBY CHIC TWIST TO HER PERIOD COTTAGE WITH BEAUTIFUL FADED FLORALS
Sometimes, it appears as though fate lends a hand, and that certainly seemed to be the case when Sarah Copley bought her idyllic cottage. She was already living in the picturesque Peak District and had always loved the pretty village nearby. ‘Very few houses come up for sale here,’ she says. ‘It’s near Bakewell, and has beautiful countryside nearby, such as Lathkill Dale and Bradford Dale. That’s why I wanted to live here.’
When an estate cottage was put up for sale by Middleton Hall, Sarah couldn’t believe her luck. ‘I thought the cottage was fantastic,’ she says. ‘It had been rented out and had barely been touched, so it still had the original features – a stone staircase, mullion windows, fireplaces and original flooring and beams.’
The cottage was put up for sale through auction and fortune was on Sarah’s side when it came to buying it. ‘I nearly missed the auction,’ she says. ‘I only got back from holiday in Portugal half an hour beforehand. There were four houses up for auction – the first one went very quickly, then the middle two had already been sold so were withdrawn. It meant that my lot came up quicker than expected, and several people turned up to bid after it had finished, so I got it for less than the guide price.
However, the downside to the cottage was that, because it hadn’t been altered much over the years, it needed
to have a lot of work done to it. So Sarah embarked on a renovation project that lasted for 18 months. ‘The house was gutted,’ she says. ‘Not only did it have to be rewired, replumbed and have electric central heating installed because the village doesn’t have gas, but the woodchip was taken off and the walls had to be replastered with lime plaster because the house is listed.
Its listed status also meant other conditions had to be adhered to – the original glazing bars in the windows had been removed so they needed to be put back in and, when part of the roof needed to be replaced, reclaimed stone slates had to be sourced. In addition, floor tiles had to be taken up and a membrane put in place before the tiles could be put down again. ‘The work seemed to take ages,’ says Sarah.
During the renovations, another fireplace was found hidden in a wall, much to Sarah’s delight. Although it was in pieces, she managed to get it put back together.
With a passion for shabby-chic style, Sarah was keen to deck out the house with a neutral backdrop. ‘I didn’t want to use any colour,’ she says. Vintage furniture and faded floral fabrics add timeworn interest and create a pretty cottage scheme. ‘I love the cottage and the way it looks now and I love the location,’ she says. ‘It’s very quiet here and it has an almost timeless feel.’
Kitchen A pale palette helps create a spacious feel. Walls, painted in Shaded White by Farrow & Ball.
Dining area An elegant white stove brings a cosy touch. Table, chairs, tablecloth, cabinet, Vintage Living. Electric stove, Dimplex.
Guest bedroom (Also below, far left) Pretty eiderdowns and cushions add subtle colour and pattern to the room. Throws, eiderdowns, cushions, Vintage Living. Walls, painted in Shaded White by Farrow & Ball.
House The Grade Ii-listed estate cottage dates from the 18th century and is situated in a pretty village. Windows, door, similar paint Parma Gray by Farrow & Ball.