Welcome to my home
As soon as Kerry and James Cowan bought their Victorian cottage in the Scottish borders, they knew that lightening up the house’s dark spaces was a top priority, as well as installing heating, replacing the wiring and fixing the wet and dry rot. ‘Initially I considered a modern look, but I felt this yearning to do what was right for the style of the house,’ says Kerry. ‘It was built in 1896 and lots of original features were intact, including the panelled doors and timber floors. But at the same time, I didn’t want to live in a time warp.’ She decided on a palette of soft greys, which looks modern and makes the most of the natural light, then she added a combination of old and new furniture to put a twist on traditional style.
The open-plan kitchen, dining area and snug were key to defining the décor for the entire house. Kerry began with vintage-look pieces, such as the Belfast sink, Shaker-style units and range cooker, but took care to add new elements, including oversized factory-style lights and on-trend metro tiles. ‘I found our huge Victorian dresser on ebay and painted it white – now it’s fresh, not fusty,’ says Kerry. She took a similar approach to the woodwork in the other rooms. Previously, all the timber detailing was bare, so Kerry painted the panelling around the windows white and used simple blinds, so as not to steal focus from the original beaded woodwork.
Kerry has kept decoration to a minimum, using subtle colour and accessories to add character, while preserving many of the house’s original features and fireplaces.
‘On a winter’s day, there’s nothing better than coming home to a warm fire crackling in the hearth,’ she says.
Kerry Cowan lives here with her husband, James and their daughters, Charlotte, four, and Florence, two. Kerry is a full-time mum and James works in the whisky industry. THE PROPERTY A three-bedroom Victorian cottage in Peebles, Scotland. VALUE Bought for £175,000 in 2013; now worth £310,000.
There’s nothing better than coming home to a warm fire crackling in the hearth