WEATH­ERED BEAUTY

Nat­u­ral tex­tures, time-worn an­tiques and sim­ple rus­tic trea­sures are off­set by a pared-back look in­side a sen­si­tively ren­o­vated Cotswold cot­tage

Country Living (UK) - - Contents - words and styling by ali heath pho­to­graphs by brent darby

Nat­u­ral tex­tures and rus­tic trea­sures are off­set by a pared-back look in a sen­si­tively ren­o­vated Cotswold cot­tage

At the cen­tre of a pretty Cotswold vil­lage, edged by sweep­ing open coun­try­side, this 17th-cen­tury thatched house ap­pears to be a quintessen­tially English cot­tage from the out­side. Walk round to the back of the tim­ber-framed struc­ture, how­ever, and quaint is clev­erly jux­ta­posed with a con­tem­po­rary glass and stone ex­ten­sion that has given the in­te­rior a new vi­tal­ity. “The cot­tage was run down and hadn’t been touched for years when we bought it, but we knew it had po­ten­tial to be brought back to life,” owner Karen Cull re­calls. “We were in­stantly drawn to the beauty of its thick stone walls, ir­reg­u­lar tex­tured sur­faces and quirky el­e­ments. We wanted to pre­serve these marks of time by us­ing au­then­tic ma­te­ri­als and re­spect­ing the orig­i­nal struc­ture.”

At the time, Karen and hus­band An­thony had just found a buyer for their Mal­lor­can home. “Hav­ing sold our UK restau­rant busi­ness, we moved to the is­land in 2002 in search of a more re­laxed ex­is­tence, in a warmer cli­mate and with the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore new skills and a dif­fer­ent life­style. We re­stored an an­cient Balearic mill­house to live in, worked on a few other

THIS PAGE In the kitchen, 18th-cen­tury stone floor­ing mixes well with the rus­tic fur­ni­ture, in­dus­trial lights and aged dec­o­ra­tive pieces such as un­usual chemist jars and wooden bowls; the stair­well

links the old and new struc­tures via a con­tem­po­rary glass walk­way; the liv­ing room is dec­o­rated in an ar­ray of nat­u­ral tones OP­PO­SITE An an­tique chan­de­lier stands out against the pale in­te­rior ren­o­va­tion and styling projects and quickly re­alised that we both loved sourc­ing dec­o­ra­tive an­tiques,” Karen says. “Af­ter eight years, we were ready for a change again and be­gan to look at Bri­tish prop­er­ties on­line. This Cotswold cot­tage on the out­skirts of Winch­combe, in Glouces­ter­shire, ap­pealed im­me­di­ately and was lo­cated very near to where we had both grown up.”

Sell­ing their ren­o­vated is­land home com­plete with con­tents proved cathartic, giv­ing them the free­dom to buy the prop­erty, start afresh and turn their mu­tual pas­sion for an­tiques into a busi­ness. In 2009, Karen and An­thony moved into the cot­tage and, at the same time, launched An­ton & K Dec­o­ra­tive An­tiques and In­te­ri­ors. They traded for six years from a shop in the vil­lage, then re­lo­cated 18 months ago to a lo­cal ware­house, where items are now sold by ap­point­ment and on­line. Not sur­pris­ingly, plans to ren­o­vate

the cot­tage have been worked on grad­u­ally. “We wanted to get to know the space be­fore mak­ing any struc­tural changes,” Karen ex­plains. “The orig­i­nal prop­erty was lit­er­ally a two-up, two-down build­ing, with a large down­stairs bath­room and one lit­tle basin in a bed­room. When we moved in, we added a small kitchen in the ex­ist­ing gal­ley, up­dated the bath­rooms and re­freshed the dec­o­ra­tion.”

Five years on and the cou­ple were able to turn their at­ten­tion fully to the house. In 2015 the gar­den was ex­ca­vated to cre­ate space for a new open-plan kitchen and hall­way that links back to the orig­i­nal struc­ture via a light-filled vaulted glass stair­case and up to a pri­vate and lofty bed­room suite. In turn, the stair­well leads into the orig­i­nal cot­tage and con­nects the two spa­ces as one. “The ex­ten­sion has trans­formed how we live and brought so much light into the house,” Karen says.

Through­out, the sim­ple pared-back look cel­e­brates weath­ered and worn im­per­fec­tions. Rough tex­tured walls, in soft chalky tones of white and grey, blend with re­claimed old stone floor­ing. Foxed mir­rors, nat­u­ral vin­tage linens, dis­tressed wood, flak­ing ceram­ics and en­crusted stoneware are used to great ef­fect. An­tique French and Swedish fur­ni­ture has been care­fully sourced and in­cludes sec­re­taires and consoles, arm­chairs and foot­stools re-up­hol­stered in vin­tage linen and hemp, and char­ac­ter­ful rus­tic ta­bles and chairs with orig­i­nal dry-scraped paint. In the kitchen, hand­made units are mixed with large-scale dressers, rus­tic benches and a mar­ble-topped patis­serie counter.

Chic yet wel­com­ing, with an un­der­stated el­e­gance, the cou­ple’s sig­na­ture style has earned their busi­ness a fol­low­ing among cus­tomers who ap­pre­ci­ate the value of au­then­tic an­tiques and aged paint ve­neers. “The faded patina that comes with time is im­por­tant to us – it has a depth and raw­ness that is re­lax­ing to live with and car­ries a sense of prove­nance and his­tory,” Karen ex­plains.

From the kitchen, fold­ing doors open onto a sim­i­lar, care­fully cu­rated gar­den in a lim­ited pal­ette. In the sum­mer, laven­ders, white hy­drangeas and ram­bling roses with box hedg­ing, topi­ary, pleached pears and sea­son­ally planted con­tain­ers add struc­ture and in­ter­est. “The gar­den is full of old dec­o­ra­tive pieces – we see it as an ex­ten­sion of our liv­ing space, and have cre­ated out­door ar­eas that feel like rooms,” Karen says. “Our love of an­tiques in­flu­ences ev­ery­thing we do.”

THIS PAGE, FROM ABOVE

LEFT Up­stairs, the whitepainted walls and floor­boards add to the light ef­fect in the vaulted space; the 18th-cen­tury Ro­coco Swedish sec­re­taire is one of the cou­ple’s most trea­sured pieces OP­PO­SITE The white mas­ter bed­room has a fresh New Eng­land feel. A col­lec­tion of seed heads found on lo­cal walks makes a strik­ing dis­play in a wooden pot

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