Houzz Tour: An Edwardian Cottage is Renovated to Retain its Charm
Creative design elements ensure a cottage keeps its traditional character following a major extension and renovation project
With the help of joiner Ben Heath and a team of landscape gardeners and interior designers, Cooper managed to transform the cottage without destroying its charm and character. The key elements of the project were the addition of a kitchen and bedroom extension, and the removal of the upstairs ceiling to expose the original vaulted roof.
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Who lives here A family with teenagers
Location Newbury, west Berkshire
Property A cottage built in 1910; it was originally the lodge house for the wood
Size 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Designer Kate Cooper of Absolute Architecture
Photography James Wilson of JAW Photography
Kate Cooper and her team enhanced the front of the property by adding boxed hedges and pretty cottage garden planting either side of the entrance path. The path is laid with traditional Victorian encaustic tiles, which continue inside along the hall and into the kitchen, helping to link the indoors and out. The tiles were coated with a specialist sealant to protect them.
Cooper also updated the exterior paint and chose an elegant lead grey for the woodwork instead of the bright blue that was there previously.
Woodwork painted in Down Pipe, Farrow & Ball.
It’s hard to distinguish the extension from the original property, which protrudes from the left of the building towards the meadow. “The owners wanted it to tie in perfectly with the character of the cottage,” explains Cooper.
There are plenty of outdoor seating areas, including a generous dining table surrounded by comfortable wicker chairs.
The owners were also keen to add an outside fireplace and barbecue area, which are to the left of the house. The wooden construction on the right is a sauna, where they can escape to if the weather turns chilly. Cooper stained the original orange wood of the sauna a dark brown to help it blend in with the rest of the building.
Table and chairs, Neptune.
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French windows lead onto the terrace for easy access to the outdoors, and the bay provides extra space for a comfy window seat.
“The colour scheme was kicked off with the bright fabric on the dining chairs,” says Cooper. “The owners fell in love with the design, so everything else fell into place around it.”
The black table was made specifically for the space and has a gold distressed detail along its edge.
Cooper fitted LED lights above and inside the cabinets. These complement the ceiling spotlights and provide ambient light in the evening.
The antique mirror splashback is a clever way to make the room appear larger; it also subtly contrasts with the matt walls and units.
Walls painted in Slipper Satin; ceiling painted in All White, both Farrow & Ball.
Every small detail has been attended to, with light switches made of traditional oak back plates and metal toggles to complement the doors.
The wooden herringbone parquet floor is softened with a sisal rug. “There was enough texture in the fabrics and curtains, so we kept the rug plain,” says Cooper.
The owners chose the distinctive hand-printed wallpaper and fabric, which give the room an opulent feel. Fresh white bed linen brightens the room, while a plain bouclé carpet and antique furniture finish the look.
Bed linen, The White Company.
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With a chimney breast on the right-hand side of the room and windows on the two remaining walls, the bed had to be positioned under one of the windows. “It’s unconventional,” says Cooper. “But it works.”
The two small double beds take up a lot of surface area, so Cooper incorporated a few space-saving tricks to gain some room. She removed a wall radiator and used underfloor heating instead, and put one table between the two beds instead of opting for separate bedside units.
Writing desk, LT Interiors.
The space is neutral, but the two tones of tiles add subtle interest to the room.
Valencia Moonstone and Valencia Opal wall tiles; Cathedral limestone floor tiles, all Fired Earth. Sanitaryware, Heritage.
Cooper also reconfigured the main bedroom to create space for an en suite bathroom, and removed the door in the third bedroom to add more wall space.
What do you think of this characterful cottage? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.