Bringing this shingled cottage up to date was a labour of love for designer Hannah Childs.
This was a particularly worthy project for interior decorator Hannah Childs, who describes her work on the house as a ‘labour of love’. The owners wanted the refurbished house to feel lived in, with a relaxed mix of old and new. In the bright and airy cottage kitchen, Hannah repurposed some of the original chestnut floorboards as kitchen shelves. Upstairs, the pine floors were sanded down and covered in a clear finish to bring out the warm tones of the wood.
When it came to the decorative scheme, the owner was insistent that she wanted little or no colour. The downstairs rooms flow into one another and it was easy to agree on softly shaded White Dove by Benjamin Moore for the walls and ceilings. The kitchen stairs are a quirky
feature, with a painted blue stripe reminiscent of vintage French linen running down the centre and a copper-pipe handrail. The furniture is understated. Wooden pieces add warmth, while white metal Tolix chairs are paired with a battered old farm table in the kitchen.
The interior lighting is a mix of wooden lamps and modern fittings with reclaimed green factory pendants over the island unit in the kitchen.
Exterior walls were covered in white cedar shingles typical of New England coastal architecture, which, as they weather, will turn an attractive silvery grey shade.
The success of the redesign lies in the bright, light and airy feeling that suffuses the interior. There’s no clutter and fuss, nothing is over-thought or over-styled and the atmosphere is one of simple comfort. Hannah readily admits that the project was particularly meaningful to her. ‘I remember the evening I left the house ready for [the owners’] arrival from California – I felt as if I was leaving a part of me. It was such a reward to see them the following day, after their first night in this house they had looked forward to for so long.’
(left) The kitchen is a mix of handmade cabinets and open shelving crafted from the original floorboards of the house. The central island provides additional storage and work space, and the enamel shades and bold striped rug add interest to the scheme. (opposite) The boxed-in main staircase utilizes a sturdy old mooring rope in place of a handrail.
(below) It was the hallway that inspired the purchase of the cottage. The owner loved the exposed wooden framing and used it as the basis for the renovation.
(right) A traditional-style basin and tub work perfectly alongside the industrial aesthetic of the Back Bay wall lights that came from Urban Archaeology.