With its thatched roof and farmhouse interior, this Cornish former dairy is a bewitching retreat
Absolutely magical,’ says Sarah Stanley of the first time she saw her cottage with its thatched roof, near the north Cornish coast. Sarah and her husband, Andy, had been looking for a home in Cornwall when Sarah’s niece spotted this place online. ‘It was so pretty that I fell in love with it there and then.’
Sarah was equally enchanted when she explored the interior. ‘It had a charming farmhouse feel, with a large kitchen that was part of the original dairy,’ she says. ‘The cottage is set over four levels, so it felt spacious and it had a warmth that we loved. We knew it was the ideal retreat for us, and our children, Bryce, now 23, Josh, 22, and Morgan, 21.’
Although the house was in a good state structurally, it was dated. ‘It had purple carpets on the stairs and a light pink one in the sitting room,’ says Sarah. ‘The decor just didn’t suit the property. But I knew we could turn it into something special.’
Sarah wanted to create a warm, rustic, farmhouse look where the kitchen was the heart of the home, with a range cooker and chunky table. She was also keen to give the interior a Scandi feel while remaining sympathetic to the house’s agricultural roots. ‘I wanted as many pieces as possible to be recycled and hand-built,’ she says. ‘ We took out the standard radiators and replaced them with reclamation ones and, with a light sanding, they look amazing.’
Further salvaged pieces, including a beautiful freestanding roll-top bath, have found a new life in the bathroom. ‘The
original scheme was only two years old, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise that we decided to remove it, as there was a serious water leak that wasn’t visible,’ says Sarah.
It took around three months to complete the restoration, with the couple’s building team taking time to get every detail in the cottage just right. The exterior rubble and cob walls were painted a soft marshmallow pink, and the dusky pink windows and door finish off the look beautifully.
Keen to give the cottage a distinctly individual look, Sarah enlisted the help of interior designer Paul Hervey. They put together a mood board of the look Sarah wanted to achieve and sought out original pieces on ebay and in reclamation yards. ‘I didn’t want anything reproduction,’ says Sarah. The cabinet doors in the kitchen were replaced and the worktops were sanded back to give the room a rustic modern farmhouse look. ‘We upcycled an old wooden table that used to belong to my grandmother and put a zinc top on it.’ Throughout the property, the neutral palette of grey and white creates a calm, stylish feel and keeps the look light.
‘I love the tranquillity of this setting,’ says Sarah. ‘It really feels like you are so far removed from the everyday. In the winter, we enjoy heading off for windswept walks and then coming back to the cottage to hunker down by the fire.’
At this time of year, the cottage is particularly captivating. Garlands of greenery, and a Christmas tree are adorned with decorations taken from nature; frosted pine cones, fragrant dried apple and orange slices and swathes of silvery eucalyptus. ‘This is such a cosy home,’ says Sarah. ‘There couldn’t be a more welcoming place to spend the festive season.’
SITTING ROOM Sarah chose a neutral palette and casual linens for a relaxed, chic look. Blanket box, from a selection, louisa Grace interiors. Garden trading sells a large log basket, £120