Tucked away on a little lane between hedgerows and fields lies the home of Nigel and Sarah - a Grade II listed cottage boasting a recently renovated country kitchen. Their early-18th century cottage fronts onto a peaceful stream leading to a nearby brook, with idyllic character and beautiful surroundings.
Nigel and Sarah are fortunate to live on a lane leading to meadows and woods in the surrounding area, all within walking distance. For them, living in a location with nearby local shops and pubs was important for family village life; “we are blessed with four local pubs that cater for everyone, whether its a stroll with your dog across the fields and fancying a swift drink, or a beautiful meal out with friends - our village has it all!”
The kitchen extension was their first renovation project to this scale and was 20 months in the making, Sarah explains, “despite nearly always living in a listed building I was naïve in respect of planning, we knew a fair amount from work experience about general planning, but we sadly chose an architect who lacked heritage experience. We had to scale down our renovation ideas, but as the rest of the house has quite low ceilings, we still needed to create a bit of grandeur and space in the kitchen that reflected our style.”
The most difficult part of the renovation was “living upside down with a small child” Sarah laughs, “there were romantic notions of BBQ’s and meals out, but by the time the kitchen gets ripped out, the garden is a mess anyway from the building works and wherever you look there is dust! The physical element of the project was timing - getting things done in the right order was tricky. Because everyone was so busy with other projects, we sometimes had to do things in an incorrect order which then impacted other trades.”
Now a finished space, the kitchen extension encaptures a quintessentially classic-country style; “we love traditional French and English styles and wanted the feel of a full entertaining space.” A bespoke kitchen island crafted by Mark Edward Interiors and painted in Farrow & Ball Dead Salmon adds a decadent feel and statement they needed, with its intricate detailing and rich, dusty pink shade. Alongside this, vintage and antique pieces collected through the years embellish the kitchen, providing a country charm and character.
Sarah describes that choosing the floor was “the hardest decision, it was also towards the end of the project, so we had gone over budget. We originally looked at sandstone but after much deliberation we knew that a Spaniel and small child would work so much better with this porcelain - as well as our budget.” They chose the Hambleton Ivory stone effect porcelain in a 900x600 tile format; “the edging of the tile gives a rustic feel, almost like a French Chateau. The colour is lovely and light, it just looks like a timeless stone floor!”
Her favourite thing to do in their newly renovated cottage kitchen is to cook wonderful food, listen to music and drink wine! For them as a family, the cottage offers tranquillity and feels a little like a holiday cottage – Sarah tells us it is “really lovely to have a home you feel proud of.”
Q&A with Sarah & Nigel
What is your must have gadget in the kitchen area?
Not exactly a gadget but our Everhot range cooker heats the room beautifully. The food tastes wonderful and keeps with the timeless look.
What is your favourite interior piece and why?
The island was an absolute find! We stumbled across a guy @mark_edward_interiors at an antiques fair. He made this impressive island for us, and it just gave the dramatic statement we needed.
What was the best bargain find during your project?
We bought 9 bar stools from a grotty pub near Birmingham for £99.00 for all 9, we had them recovered with Thornback & Peels Rabbit/Cabbage design. Although the final amount was £120 per stool, we would have never had got such an individual look by buying something online.
Where is your kitchen from?
The kitchen island was from Mark Edward Interiors & our back units were from JW Bespoke.
Are you planning any future projects?
Whilst we are traditional people in our design loves we hope to infill a courtyard area with a glass cube, we have no rush so can work with the right architect who can get the design right. For now, we can take stock and live without it all being upside down!