Waterlily Cottage

Their English Country Cottages

I’m a big believer of a certain feeling you get when viewing houses, this one immediately felt like home, I could see through the work that needed to be done and the prospect of having something to call my own was incredibly exciting.

Fiona

Fiona and her partner Roger live in this beautiful tucked away cottage. Fiona has worked across business development, luxury events and creative design industries, which led to working freelance designing and project managing high end property marketing, films, brochures, photography and websites. Prior to the first wave of lockdown, Fiona and Roger took on “this little cottage in need of modernisation” and set up their Instagram page @fionaandroger and what started as a place to share their home renovation journey rapidly led to an exciting career change. Fiona’s eye for beautiful objets, her stunning renovation and her curation and design skills has evolved into designing tablescapes and floristry for brands with a hint of antique sourcing for clients buying and selling upcycled, vintage and antique secondhand homewares.

Fiona and Roger moved into the cottage almost two years ago. Having grown up in the countryside and old houses, Fiona was keen to replicate this happy childhood and was fortunate enough to come across this beautiful cottage in need of modernisation which was wonderfully not too far from her parents. Apart from the perfect the village location, the immediate charm of old wonky beams, an inglenook fireplace and a small garden with potential had Fiona “enchanted from the first viewing”.

The couple have renovated the entire cottage themselves; thankfully it was mainly in need of cosmetic painting and decorating. With sustainability in mind, Fiona was keen to upcycle and work with what was already in the cottage as much as possible. Dark wood floors and red tiled floors have been transformed using eggshell paint, cleverly allowing light to bounce around the old walls. Lightening the fireplace bricks in the snug using watered down emulsion paint created a softer more sympathetic design to the brick tone and increased a feeling of flow and calm to the old cottage.

Fiona is most proud of their kitchen as a testament to how one can transform the look of a space upcycling what is already there. The couple changed the handles, painted the units, spray painted the Range oven, lightened the oak beams and altered the worktops to allow a light, bright and cheerful room to metamorphose from a small dark unfriendly space.

Initially Fiona planned to create a modern rustic cottage look, incorporating crittal windows and neutral colours but she discovered that over the last year her tastes have organically moved towards antiques, colour, pattern and warmer tones. “I have always been surrounded by old things and so it was only natural they began to weave their way into my own home. I enjoy buying second hand and I think the mix of new and old creates a look that feels homely and collected over time”.

Fiona’s original pallette of neutrals and rustic textures is still spotted in the beautifully calm main bedroom whist it is downstairs that her growing love for a more English country house style has become apparent. She enjoys mixing pretty patterns, colours, antiques and a little rustic earthiness into her interiors. Nature has also been a huge source of inspiration for the cottage. Fiona cites designers like Molly Mahon’s home as a joy to follow on Instagram, “bursting with colour and pattern”, she adores Alexandra Tolstoy’s taste in antiques and folk art and loves watching Bunny Guinness youtube channel for gardening tips as well as finding Rita Konig’s interior design videos for House & Garden very insightful. Her current go to Interiors book is the fabulous “British Designers at Home” by Jenny Rose-Innes which she says is just filled with interior inspiration.

Outside, Fiona and Roger painted all the exterior doors and windows, built new fencing and re-landscaped the garden. The garden was a blank canvas with a plain grass lawn and one straight border along the fence line. Fiona wanted to create a magical cottage garden, with various seating areas taking visitors on a journey through the garden so the couple created a winding footpath nestled between two beds filled with planting.

Fiona and Roger would love in time to be more rural, their dream house would have a larger garden with ample room for planting and growing their own produce as well as larger rooms to house some of the beautiful pieces of furniture that Fiona finds on her travels. It would also have character features, a view and lots of natural light. This seems simply to be a larger, more rural version of what this talented couple have managed to achieve in a gorgeous old cottage crying out for a couple with beautiful taste and a willingness to adapt their style to the home that they fell in love with as soon as they walked through the door.

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