A cottage in Spain’s Cantabrian mountains is the setting of a romantic country feast to celebrate the New Year
The historical region of Cantabria in the North of Spain boasts no less than seven natural areas including 300 square miles of the famous Picos de Europa National Park, many archaeological sites - such as the famous Cave of Altamira - and beautiful beaches. It is also known as ‘Green Spain’ because of its lush vegetation and, inland, there are many authentic villages and hamlets with their well preserved medieval houses and cobbled streets. But it’s the abundant traditional rural stone houses that have made this area such a destination for city dwellers looking to convert ‘old ruins’. These range from isolated cabins to village houses, cottages and farms. Once restored, they make perfect weekend or holiday retreats because they can be enjoyed all year round.
The owner of this house runs a well known furnishings company in Madrid and she too has succumbed to the charm of one of these rural gems. Away from all the stresses of city life, she has turned the house into a romantic haven restoring it in a charming style. The atmosphere is traditional and reminiscent of the so called ‘granny chic deco style’ with a cosy mixture of family antiques, floral fabrics and vintage accessories. But other elements such as kilim rugs and rustic wood temper the feminine style.
The owner’s favourite colours, she tells us, are pink and green and we can see that quite clearly from the decor, especially with the many pink roses she loves that are scattered all through the house, pink candles and even from the dining room’s chandelier with its green and pink crystals. Pink, in combination with grey, is also the colour of choice for fabrics. Some of the antique French furniture is painted in elegant grey and the woodwork such as the beams and shutters are painted in a shade of greyish green.
In the double reception room, there are two distinct areas both of which offer comfortable chairs and sofas, layered with cushions and throws. The rustic coffee tables offer a contrast to the traditional style seating. For example, the two bergères have been placed
in front of a table made of reclaimed wood. Adjoining the main living room, there is a country style dining room which is perfect for family meals and celebrations. Here the style is shabby chic, with white painted furniture which includes a large farmhouse table, antique dresser, a plate rack, a side table, and simple wicker chairs upholstered in a combination of delicate floral and striped fabrics.
The table has been beautifully set to celebrate a very special occasion. Not just New Year’s Day but also an intimate post-wedding celebration!
The white tablecloth is from a fifty year old Spanish linen company, Las Hilanderas, that works only with 100% natural fabrics. The tableware is from La Cartuja de Sevilla, also a Spanish company, which was founded by the Pickman family from England in 1822 and has long been a supplier to the royal houses and aristocratic families of Spain. Throughout the house, the decorations have been gathered from the garden, the owner’s major source of inspiration. She has dressed the front door with a wreath made with pine, roses and wild flowers. Other floral arrangements include eucalyptus, hydrangea and pines. Candles are lit everywhere, and at night lanterns will be placed in the garden.
‘Candles and flowers are essential to create a romantic atmosphere’ the owner says and she means it! She has placed them everywhere even in the pretty bathroom which she has transformed into her boudoir.
In the main bedroom, the decor continues the romantic mood. There is a marble fireplace, antiques and flea market finds including old prints, as well as an antique chaise longue. The bedroom is the owner’s favourite room and where she will wrap presents just before the party begins. The house is now ready for the guests to arrive and a New Year to begin.