Stylist Marianne Cotterill designed a home full of soul that packs a sensational seasonal punch
This is a family home that’s also loved by film and TV location scouts thanks to stylist Marianne Cotterill’s flamboyant approach and magpie-like collector’s eye
‘I brought tons and tons of wedding decorations back from India,’ says Marianne. ‘They’re joyous and colourful and make me want to party.’ The landing (left) has room for a sofa.
Similar decorations; foil Polish nativity churches, all Raj Tent Club. Portrait, Portobello Market. Animal paintings, Earl Swanigan. Walls in Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball. Wallpaper panel
(left), Florence Broadhurst
‘I like to do something different for the tree,’ says Marianne. ‘These are twigs I painted with a lametta curtain draped over them.’
Chair, Sonia Rykiel at Roche Bobois. Rug, Deirdre Dyson. For a lametta curtain, try Party Pieces
marianne Cotterill certainly doesn’t do things by halves. The renowned creative director and Livingetc favourite has been responsible for some of the most memorable shoots you’ll have spotted in these pages over the years and her flamboyant approach naturally spills over into her own home. The spectacular double-fronted pile is a showcase of Marianne’s magpie collector’s eye. Her stylist’s touch is evident throughout – and has resulted in an impactful mix of vintage and modern, f lea-market finds and designer items that all hang together and, thanks to its very eclecticism, has stood the test of time. ‘I like beautiful things and they can be 5p or £500,’ she says. ‘I don’t care if something is new or old, chipped or perfect, as long as I like it and it all works together.’
We featured her home in 2008 and it has evolved somewhat since then. Not least in part because her children have now flown the nest. However, Christmas is coming and with it her three sons and two daughters will all happily congregate back home for a big celebration. ‘The last few years, we get together on Christmas Eve and my husband does a baked ham and homemade chips, but because I don’t eat meat I have egg and chips!’ says Marianne. ‘Everybody stays over and we have our pressies in the morning before lunch.’
This wasn’t always the case – when the children were at school and had a couple of weeks off over Christmas, the family would often decamp overseas for a house-swap holiday. ‘We ended up doing some really cool home exchanges to places like New York, South Africa and Reunion Island,’ says Marianne. Still, it’s no surprise everyone now heads home for the holidays – after all, a regular gathering for
Sunday lunch is an important feature of family life. And, given how warm and welcoming Marianne has made her home, it’s meant that in the nearly 20 years she has lived here, it has always been a place that people gravitate towards. ‘It’s a real family home,’ she says. ‘The lovely thing about it is all my kids’ friends say it’s their favourite house. They always want to hang out here. We have some quite nice parties.’
Every time someone visits, they no doubt spot a few changes – whether it’s the addition of some props that Marianne has picked up while conjuring up her magic for clients such as Selfridges and Farrow & Ball, or because she also has a fruitful sideline in renting out the house as a location.
This came about almost the minute they moved in: ‘We had a note through the door from a location scout and when they saw the house, they said, “Please, please can we just use it as it is?” We’d only been in a couple of weeks and there was lots of original wallpaper and heavy dark curtains, so it was used for slightly creepy TV programmes like Jonathan Creek and Silent Witness.’
It’s now more likely to feature in a fashion shoot than a Gothic drama, as those high-victorian papers and curtains inherited from the house’s only previous owner have been slowly subsumed to Marianne’s creative tweaks. ‘Because of my job I know instinctively if something is going to work,’ she says. However, the real secret to this house’s appeal for family, friends and location managers alike is down to it being such a personal expression of Marianne’s style. ‘A house has got to have a bit of soul,’ she says simply.
Patterned wall and floor tiles and displays of greenery enliven the simple white cabinets.
Try Ikea for similar units. Wall tiles, Via Arkadia. The Vintage Floor Tile Company sells reclaimed floor tiles. Find a butcher’s block at Vinterior
‘I use decorative lights for other celebrations – a star is a star, not just for Christmas,’ says Marianne.
Star lights, Lights4fun. Wall in
Emerald paint, Designers Guild. Tulip table and chairs, Eero Saarinen for Knoll. The bonbon
jar by LSA International is similar
MUST-DO CHRISTMAS TRADITION?
Set fire to the pudding in the dark and we all start singing.
THE BEST PRESENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
A trip to New York and a visit to my fave shop where I could have anything I liked.
THE ITEM YOU CAN’T STOP BUYING FOR YOUR HOUSE?
I am addicted to paintings and lighting.
FESTIVE TUNE OF CHOICE?
Any Motown cover of a Christmas song.
WHERE DO YOU HEAD FOR A MINI BREAK?
Paris or Brussels – I like travelling by train.
IF REINCARNATED, YOU’D COME BACK AS...?
Marianne made the red wreath by spray-painting some moss.
Wallpaper, Osborne & Little. Concrete table, Abigail Ahern. Hand candleholder, Jonathan Adler. Try Vinterior for a vintage Perspex chair like this one
‘When it’s sunny, you get a bolt of fiery pink from the curtains and it’s amazing,’ says Marianne.
Curtains in satin by Designers Guild. Bedcover, Preen. Raffia pendants, Honoré Décoration
‘If a room is empty and a bit shabby, then I’ll find things to lighten it up,’ says Marianne.
Gold wall light, Rose Bowl Flea Market. Vintage chair in velvet by Designers Guild. Oversized
bauble, Raj Tent Club
A playful artwork adds vibrant colour to the white scheme.
Artwork, Marc Quinn. Bath,
C.P. Hart. Perspex table, Aram. Glass jar, Habitat. Gold Muse candle, Jonathan Adler