English cottages

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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A quintessentially English cottage in the country, untouched by time and surrounded by rolling hills, is a popular aspiration for many home owners. When we imagine a typical English cottage we think of cosy interiors, roaring fires, traditional features and exposed stone walls. Living in an English cottage is synonymous with a peaceful, outdoorsy lifestyle and an appreciation of the simple things, away from the rat-race that drives city life. The English cottage has become a symbol for a certain mentality and approach to life, which possibly explains its aspirational status. That said, the little old country cottage also has a lot going for it in the way of design, too. The interiors are mostly practical, comfortable and homely, and incorporate original features, vintage or antique furniture, and elements of shabby chic. 

Of course, you don't have to own a cottage in the country to recreate these styles in your own home. Today we're considering what constitutes country cottage style to give you some ideas on how to apply these interior trends, regardless of your location. The carefree, country life mentality is, however, all down to you!

Country style architecture

You may not have the rural setting and traditional architecture, but you can draw inspiration from the old-fashioned style of this property. When refurbishing or renovating a property that you plan to furnish in a country cottage style, think about the details that are a mark of authenticity in a real English cottage: windows and window frames, bay window seats, beams, open fireplaces… there are many ways to get that cosy, cottage feel if you pay attention to the details and take care when choosing which materials you're going to work with. 

Country living

Ansty Manor,  Garden Room: country Garden by BLA Architects
BLA Architects

Ansty Manor, Garden Room

BLA Architects

This extended living area embraces casual shabby chic with floral prints, neutral colours and mixed, vintage style furniture. The exposed stone wall and wooden beams, seemingly new rather than original, conform to the traditional cottage design. The light tone of both the beams and the walls prevent the room looking cramped and dark, which is a common issue with original wood ceiling beams. The skylight is a step away from what you would normally see in a typical English cottage, but modern elements like this are practical and can really open up smaller rooms, filling them with light. 

Traditional bathroom

If you want a classic, country style bathroom, you can't go wrong with neutral colours such as white or powder blue, but avoid overdoing pastel shades. Balance out any colours you use with fresh, white cabinets and silver fixtures to keep it looking fresh. If your bathroom is on the smaller side, as cottage bathrooms tend to be, it could be an idea to stick to furniture and decorative pieces with simple, clean lines. Fussy, swirly patterns or borders, around mirrors or picture frames for example, can make a small bathroom looked chaotic. 

If you're keen to implement rustic style interior trends, a free standing bath with silver or rose-gold fittings is also an option; it can look good with a stripped back wooden floor, or vintage-style mosaic tiles. However, if you introduce patterns with floor tiles, avoid anything too elaborate elsewhere.

Rustic style country kitchen

Castle kitchen and pantry: country Kitchen by Christopher Howard
Christopher Howard

Castle kitchen and pantry

Christopher Howard

First and foremost, a country kitchen should be welcoming and filled with the smells of baked goods and roast dinners. Secondly, it should have an element of 'thrown togetherness' that is actually carefully thought out, so not to look messy and disorganised. Furniture can be mismatched but should be compatible: think wooden vintage chairs with a selection of printed kitchen cushions with ties, and unique antique style crockery that has been individually selected but works well as a set. It takes a lot of time to collect special pieces that fit the brief, but it's so much more rewarding than buying mass-produced sets, and it contributes to a personalised space that you and your family will value for years to come. 

For more country kitchen ideas take a look at this ideabook

Vintage style bedroom

After a long day living the country life, going on long hikes and cooking up a storm in the kitchen, your bed will no doubt be calling. Country style bedrooms are elegant, often with bare white walls, furnished with only simple prints or a rustic looking mirror. Floral prints and soft lighting are popular choices for recreating a traditional vintage look. Comfort should come above all else, so take things back to basics and forget anything flashy.

An English country garden

An English garden is literally the stuff of poetry: from the beginnings of 16th Century pastoral literature, to Shakespeare's garden metaphors and, later, the musings of Blake and Keats, the English countryside has been glorified and idealised. For centuries people have dreamt of having their own piece of it, of cultivating native flowers such as roses and daffodils, and growing their own vegetables and herbs for a more independent and sustainable lifestyle. The garden is an important part of any self-respecting country cottage: to avoid the weeding and ignore the pests is sacrilege—show the garden some love, and when the sun is shining again you'll understand just what those poets were talking about. 

For more on gardens, check out this article.

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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