The current trend for open plan living and clean lines has caused me immense frustration lately as I live in a country cottage which is not in the slightest bit contemporary!
It is however unique in character as it has been built from reclaimed materials and is located within the Green Belt.
I have lived here since 2005 and during that time have reinvented the interior look and feel several times over.
Its latest reinvention has been inspired by a company which, to all intents and purposes, has turned its back on high gloss furnishings and mid-century patterns, to provide a pallet of materials which aim to give a home soul; Neptune.
Rather than turn away from exposed beams and less than large windows, this company embraces these features by crafting kitchens, furniture, fabrics and accessories, which enhance a home’s quirkiness.
During the autumn months, as the days became shorter, I decided that my sitting room needed an urgent facelift to keep my spirits high during, the soon to arrive, wintertime.
During the course of the year I had considered replacing the Berber carpet with something a little more exciting, and have been angling for several years now, to replace my other-half’s squishy three-seater sofa with a more modern one.
For better or worse I decided that in the cold light of day there was nothing wrong with the carpet and the sofa is just so damn comfortable that any visitors always make a beeline for it!
I decided that perhaps the room just needed to have a more cohesive feel to satisfy my whim.
To get a feel for how the finished design would be acheived I am now going to admit that I did everything back to front.
My first purchases were this gorgeous circular mirror, table-top work lamp, and these Sage green candles.
I would like to think there was method in my madness as I wanted to experiment with lighting, colours, and mirror shapes and sizes, before spending time painting walls and sewing curtains.
A photograph in the, by now, well-thumbed Neptune Directory caught my attention as it had several mirrors grouped together above a console table. It occurred to me that a similar arrangement could work equally well above a mantlepiece. With a large roll of lining paper, a pair of scissors, and one mirror already “in stock”, I set about creating the mirror shapes and sizes so that I could gauge how they would work in the available space prior to making another purchase.
Next I turned my attention to the window dressing. The room is dual aspect with a pair of French doors opening on to the patio and two small westerly facing side windows. The previous owner had set a trend for very heavily embroidered Fired Earth curtains at all of the windows in the house. Over the years I have gradually replaced them with much lighter fabrics and colours that I have sewn myself, and generally speaking are an improvement.
Now though, I was tired of the tiny pairs of curtains that hung at the side windows as I didn’t think they did the windows justice and they were rarely drawn.
I particularly like the simplicity and practicality of rolled-up blinds so I embarked on making some along with a pair of pencil pleat curtains for the patio doors.
I chose Emma linen/viscose in Sage for the curtains, and a combination of this and Finian linen in Sage for the blinds. Both were featured in Neptune’s Spring/Summer 2017 “The Green House” collection.
I love to sew and was happy to make these soft furnishings for my home but must admit that I am not as keen to apply paint to the walls. Fortunately, I have a partner who is much better at decorating than I am and he happily painted one wall in Sage emulsion whilst leaving the others painted in White Mulberry.
Another aspect of the room that I considered long and hard was the oak tables. When we first moved to the cottage we were happy to invest in oak furniture as it suited the style of the house. Again, with the fashion for sleeker, more contemporary lines I questioned whether they should remain or not.
Fortunately, the new lighter, brighter scheme accommodated the existing furniture very successfully as it added warmth and texture to the room. I added some leafy green coasters and napkins to tie in with the overall picture.
Although I chose to keep the oak furniture I decided to replace a heavily patterned and dark upholstered chair and footstool with wicker ones which work much better.
One piece of furniture which was never in danger of being replaced was my lovely Sofa Workshop sofa which I had commissioned only a small number of years before. It is just becoming softer in look and feel, and I believe it has a lot more life in it yet. The colour provides a lovely contrast to the fresh greens applied to the wall, floor, and window dressings, and adds an element of warmth.
An unexpected addition to my scheme came in the form of these lovely Next cushions which my very talented daughter-in-law gave me as a Christmas present. In essence they tie the scheme together beautifully, not only with their combination of colours but also the “garden” theme to which there had been a nod in the Neptune storybook.
I am very pleased with the now completed scheme. It happily combines old with new and has an abundance of natural materials which, whilst updating the look and feel of the room, does not distract from the integrity of the building itself.
I think I can successfully say, whim satisfied!