Time­worn charm


Country Homes & Interiors - - DERBYSHIRE COTTAGE -

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.

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