RO­MAN­TIC COUN­TRY

A cot­tage in Spain’s Cantabrian moun­tains is the set­ting of a ro­man­tic coun­try feast to cel­e­brate the New Year

Chic & Country - - Home Story - Pho­tos: S Moreno/RBA

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.

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