Their English Country Cottages
The sleepy village was full of rustic charm and we knew we’d found somewhere pretty special.
Clare and her husband live in this gorgeous cottage with their Dalmation Dexter who she calls the star of her account but as handsome as Dexter is, I suspect that it is this beautiful cottage overlooking the village church that has made her Instagram account so successful.
Having enjoyed the social aspects of living in Cheltenham town centre for many years, Clare and her husband longed to be out exploring the countryside, and felt the need for a bigger outdoor space and off-road parking (“you don’t know how important this is until you live on a one-way street with far too many cars for the limited amount of on pavement parking it offers!”).
When we first viewed the cottage it was far from love at first sight, it looked smaller than the estate agents photos and it was crammed with fixtures and fittings much more suited to a new-build. The walled garden was a completely different story, the sunset reflecting onto the church next-door was so enchanting and the pond covered in lily pads was the icing on the cake.
The location and garden called Clare and her husband back for a second viewing where they met the neighbours and took a longer look around the village. The sleepy village was full of rustic charm and the villagers were so kind and welcoming that they knew they had found somewhere special.
The cottage was originally three workers cottages that have been knocked together, sadly all the original features have been stripped out over the years but Clare and her husband intend to restore them bit by bit.
Clare has decorated with soft pinks, calming greys and off whites. She says that her style has evolved organically over time. “It’s going to be ongoing forever I suspect, and as with any older property, it’s a real labour of love. I like to take my time and work on one room at a time”. Her cottage necessities include a woodburner (their first job was to rip out an electric burner and replace with a proper woodburner) and an Aga which is for a later date!
Clare’s favourite item in her cottage is actually her pine farmhouse doors! “I just love old doors”! These work so beautifully with her quiet colour scheme, grounding the light, pretty scheme and adding warmth and texture as well as reminding us of the age and character that the couple are slowly and gently restoring to this cottage.
This gorgeous wallpaper brings every pop of colour and burst of pastel in the cottage together. Clare has kept the decor very simple and calming but this more dramatic feature brings all the bolder colour choices together and allows the decoration to flow through the property.
Clare says that their plan is to restore the cottage, injecting as much history back into it as possible whilst still maintaining a modern farmhouse feel: “I’m in absolute awe of people who turn this sort of thing around straight after moving in, I still feel like we’re right at the beginning”. This beautiful home certainly does not look like it is at the beginning! It has been filled with character and style, Clare and her husband have obviously worked very hard over the past three years, I think their slow and gentle approach sings through this cottage, allowing each room to flow into the next, maintaining a quietly uplifting sense of joy and good taste throughout.
Clare describes her dream home as something similar to the stone cottage where they stayed at in Le Thoronet, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France . “It was an absolute dream retreat in the middle of the French vineyards with no neighbours for miles!”. It is interesting that many who take the plunge to a more rural location often long for even more peace and isolation. This gorgeous Church Cottage seems to be perfectly situated with the rural dream of beautiful old church, village green and excellent local pub, I suspect this lovely couple are not quite ready for total seclusion – this is far too beautiful and perfectly located to leave just yet.
For more beautiful images of this gorgeous cottage do head over to Clare’s instagram page https://www.instagram.com/ourlittlechurchcottage/