I think we probably all have general ideas of what the interior of any dwelling will look like based on the exterior. We imagine inside a chateau to be one thing and inside a country cottage to be another. But things aren’t always quite so black and white and a few surprises are a treat. Today I want to take you inside what would appear to be a classic low slung French cottage. I can imagine you’re already thinking, greys and neutrals and very little colour, right? Well come and have a look around with me, you might be in for a bit of a surprise!
The front door gives little clue as to what lies beyond, it’s a classic, painted in the most luxurious dark blue. But step over the threshold into the entrance hall and already there’s a hint of something a little out of the ordinary. This is the house of a French family who have always lived in the Charente Maritime, they have not travelled to far flung corners of the world, they’re as French as French can be, but they do have a love of colour and I think you will agree a sense of fun.
They’ve carefully kept the original features, the old stone walls have been left exposed along with the beams. This cottage dates from the early 1800’s. Rather than living with a maze of small poky rooms they have opened things up to make the downstairs almost open plan which gives an overall feeling of space. The salon, or sitting room, effortlessly combines antique furniture with modern accents. Vintage chairs and a chaise long happily coexist alongside a modern sofa for comfort whilst lounging watching the television or reading a book. The chairs may look fabulous but they are certainly meant for sitting up straight and being slightly formal, rather than snuggling down and being cosy!
There is an enormous central woodburning stove which heats the entire house. The grey slate surround acts as a giant oversized radiator to maximise the output. The radiators are merely a back up and never used.
The archway divides the salon and the dining room where once again vibrant colours, and contemporary touches mix with inherited pieces.
Everywhere there are accents of wallpaper, in the salon on one wall, in the dining room in the window recesses.
The kitchen is traditionally French
and I love the wall of portraits from a bygone era. It’s as if they are keeping an eye on things!
There’s a pretty little breakfast nook with an elegant chandelier and upstairs there are four bedrooms and a bathroom.
In the warmer months however, you’d be tempted to spend as much time as possible in the garden. It’s not huge but it has plenty of spaces to wander, or to sit and relax.
Old stone has been used to make sturdy outdoor coffee tables and there’s an elegant outdoor dining area where I can imagine enjoying the very freshest of produce.
Because of course there is a potager and in here there are a dozen or more chickens who cheerfully free range. In typical cottage style, there are flowers mixed in with the vegetables, the natural way of controlling pests and bugs.
This is a cottage and garden of enormous charm, it’s not what you would expect, but then as is so often the case, the unexpected is quite the best.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking around with me. And one last surprise, because there is nothing ordinary about this home at all, this entire house has been designed by the owner’s son and he’s just 15! An interior designer in the making for sure. A little escapism from everything going on in the world. Stay safe and have a lovely end to the weekend x