From spring to late summer the thatched cottage Ruth Taylor shares with her husband James is covered with creamy white and yellow scented roses which clamber around the porch and tiny windows.
This quintessentially English dream country cottage looks good in any season and is truly one of the worlds best homes. The three-bedroom house in Wiltshire, UK, had humble beginnings, however, and was built in the 18th-century as a farmworker's cottage, with a kitchen extension added in the 1990s.
Under the custodianship of Ruth and her husband James, the grade-II listed cottage has come back to life again. As a director of Peagreen Locations (opens in new tab), a boutique photography locations agency, Ruth has a trained eye for spotting and creating a beautiful property, and the interiors here are welcoming and comfortable, with a relaxed country look befitting this perfect thatched cottage.
‘Our colour palette is white, pink and lilac, with a lot of green,’ explains Ruth, of both the garden and cottage interior. When you step inside, many of the same floral shades are in evidence. Dusky pastel pinks, duck egg blues and soft sage greens in luxurious velvets and linens add warmth and sophistication. They are the perfect complement to the pared-down simplicity of the lightly painted lime-rendered walls and exposed beams, aided by plenty of cottage garden floral references.
Hallway ideas here include painting the walls in a warm neutral shade to further emphasise the beauty of the original beams and timbers. In this transitional space between the garden and home, Ruth displays branches of delicate spring blossom in vases – an inspiring way to mark the shift from outside to inside this special home.
The gilt framed oil painting was inherited from James’ parents. Walls painted in Rolling Fog by Little Greene. Console, Oka. Baskets, Neptune. Lampshades, Phillips & Cheers.
At the other side of the hall is an old cupboard that came from a London vintage seller. Ruth decided to repaint it in a moody black shade and it's a near-perfect fit for the space next to the inglenook fireplace.
Cozy living room
Anyone looking for country living room ideas will find plenty of inspiration in this relaxed space where classic Chesterfield sofas invite guests to relax by the fire. Ruth has added cushions in different fabrics for visual and textural interest. The glass table is a vintage Heal’s design. Ruth’s choice of a cabbage rose print for curtains softens the look and is a firm favourite throughout the house.
The couple put in the new kitchen and also added doors that open to the garden, among just a handful of changes they were able to make to the historic cottage.
Kitchen ideas here, that would translate well to any style of home, include the monochromatic colour palette of pure white punctuated with dark woody tones, black painted cast iron and ceramics and moody grey artwork to create a striking but calming aesthetic. The couple paneled the walls and created shelving and a dining table all with reclaimed scaffolding boards, painted white for a vintage rustic feel.
Ruth sourced the kitchen chairs from vintage shops and antiques fairs, and made cushions for them from several of her favourite prints from Cabbages & Roses, as well as from Hungarian grain sacks too with their pretty blue stripe detail.
The assorted rustic chopping boards and kitchen accessories came from high street, independents, and vintage stores.
Bedrooms under the eaves
If you're looking for cottage bedroom ideas, this pretty room will get you thinking. The bed is butted right up to the triangular back wall under the eaves in the tiny attic bedroom. Rose-printed bed linen and a vintage floral print cushion add a cheery note. The knitted patchwork quilt was made by Ruth’s granny. This colorful scene is surely proof that, with the right accessories, small spaces can still make a big impression.
In the main bedroom, whitewashed walls and timbers provide the backdrop for bedlinen in the cottage's signature pastel shades. Textural interest is added with velvet cushions and damasked quilts.
The classic country cottage garden looks good all year round, and the couple like to entertain out there whenever they can. Anyone looking cottage garden ideas will find plenty to inspire them in Ruth and James's country garden.
A string of garden lights and vintage metal lanterns by the shed are ready for lighting up alfresco evening parties. The couple also developed the courtyard outside the kitchen into an entertaining space and place for planters full of spring bulbs. Ruth loves to source vintage enamelled pots for plants and zinc watering cans to inject rustic appeal into the outdoor space.
Original feature Sara Emslie
Photographs Rachel Whiting
Karen is the houses editor for homesandgardens.com and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.
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