FES­TIVE FAIRY­TALE

With its thatched roof and farm­house in­te­rior, this Cor­nish for­mer dairy is a be­witch­ing re­treat

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - FEA­TURE VIVI­ENNE AYERS | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY POLLY ELTES

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

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