Their English Country Cottages
It was love at first sight! We could see a lot of the original character had been stripped out or covered up, but the very bones of her were beautiful.Catherine Cleaver
Peartree Cottage was bought by Catherine and her family three years ago, they had been living in a new build townhouse & wanted to move into an older property with a bigger garden and the possibility to extend in the future. The family viewed lots of properties, but when they stepped into Pear Tree cottage, they knew it was the one!
Catherine and William could see that a lot of the original character had been stripped out or covered up in the cottage but they knew that the surviving remains were beautiful. Their hearts were decided when they walked into the newer kitchen extension at the back of the house, filled with so much natural light it was the deal clincher! The garden had been entirely stripped out except for a plum tree, crab apple tree and some shrubby bushes, but this was a plus for the family as both Catherine and William love gardening and viewed it as a blank canvas with the potential to turn it into a cottage style garden. The cottage also had the benefit of being closer to the farm where they keep their horses.
Catherine and William their 4 children, George (17), Poppy (15), Anna (12) & Rosie (8), 2 dogs Lottie the Labrador & Rufus and 2 cats, Parsnip & Pippin all moved into this ‘tardis like’ 1800s cottage ready to tackle some serious projects. Two extensions had been added on over the past century, and the cottage needed updating and harmonising throughout. Thankfully Catherine runs Catkin and Olive – a Collection of Country-inspired Interiors, Bespoke Soft Furnishings and unique Accessories so she was able to draw upon her business experience to decorate their cottage.
The entire cottage was painted magnolia with biscuit coloured carpets a plenty. The first room to enjoy Catherine’s magic touch was the snug, a solid cottage oak floor was laid, along with an oak beam added above the log burner & painted in a soft grey. The room “instantly felt more characterful by making these changes”. The next project was to transform George’s room: “I think this room makeover was where I got the DIY bug! It’s still my favourite room in the cottage”. Underneath the biscuit carpet lurked the original floorboards which were gratefully in good condition. They were given the Catherine treatment – stripping and sanding them back to bare wood before painting them in a very pale grey.
The fireplace makeover was probably the most satisfying and exciting aspect of this room! It was bright orange pine and black/silver and not very characterful at all. By painting it all white, it suddenly looked stunning! The rest of the walls were painted to coordinate & for the very first time, I added a dark feature wall. This gave the room a lovely feel and was perfect for a teenage boy, whilst letting the floorboards and fireplace shine.Catherine Cleaver
Blind ~ Navy Grainsack by Peony & Sage
Most of the rooms have now been “tackled” except the main family bathroom, hall stairs, landing and kitchen. The family would like to extend again, adding an extra bedroom upstairs and add a timber framed garage/workroom, plus an extra room/boot room extension to the side. Catherine would also love to change the kitchen units to a shaker style, add a limestone floor & new worktops st some point.
The pantry unit in the kitchen is one of Catherine’s favourite creations. “We had an old low level tv unit & decided to use this as the base for our pantry seating unit. We then panelling above it, added peg shelves & up cycled an old pine wardrobe to sit next to it, to form one bespoke pantry unit. It cost less than £200 to do & yet looks completely bespoke!”
Catherine says that she loves light interiors, lots of natural wood & panelling. The couple have added plenty of beautiful features to the cottage which has achieved Catherine’s desire for a happy mix of modern rustic country style with a Scandinavian influence. A lot of Catherine’s inspiration is drawn from Instagram home accounts & Pinterest. Her favourite interiors book is The White Company interiors book for inspiration and she enjoys reading magazines like “Homelife” by The Cotswold Company, House Beautiful & Country Living.
Interestingly like Appletree Cottage last week, Catherine’s dream home would also be a barn although she would love to build an oak framed barn with “lots of glass, light, bright, open plan, tumbled limestone floor, shaker style kitchen, white quartz worktops and a huge Aga! Oh and if it was possible, a swimming pool!” This absolutely sounds like a dream home although judging by these images, Catherine has already created a truly stunning dream home with her clever use of restricted colour palette, inclusion of a darker colour in every room – be it a cushion, an iron bed or a huge pantry unit- to ground the light pastel hues and brilliant use of natural light in an old cottage.
For more beautiful inspiration head to Catherine’s Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/peartreecottagelife/
and to browse her beautiful homewares company head over to https://www.catkinandolive.co.uk/