Their English Country Cottages
The minute I walked through the door I knew it was the one. Despite knowing that I shouldn’t show my hand to the estate agent I don’t think I kept a very good poker face
Louisa and her husband Mark searched the length and breadth of the country to find the perfect renovation project “I had a list of requirements which felt totally unachievable on our tight budget but deep down I knew if I kept looking, I would find my dream forever home. I was so tired of house hunting and had cancelled the house viewing three times already.” Something about this Norfolkian 300 year old cottage kept pulling Louisa back so she finally kept a viewing appointment and fell hook line and sinker for this dilapidated, non-box ticking cottage!
Starre Corner is one of the oldest cottages in the village. The end brick and flint gable is dated 1701 but there is evidence within the house that it probably existed in some form before that date. The front of the house with it’s red brick suggests a Victorian cottage rather than the traditional Norfolk flint as it underwent a Victorian facelift as was popular at the time but the original Georgian door remains.
The lure of this characterful cottage and the Norfolk coast and countryside was too much to resist but the family have had to work incredibly hard to turn this treasure into a habitable home.
It’s a big, long DIY project. We’ve stripped the cottage back to bare brick and now it’s time to put it back together again. One of the few jobs that we didn’t do ourselves was replacing the roof joists. That was a job which was tackled as soon as we moved in as well as having the chimneys rebuilt. I would lie in bed worrying that the chimney was going to come crashing down through the ceiling. Last year we opened up a massive inglenook fireplace. It took three whole days to barrow out the debris which has been piled up in it. There are too many jobs to list but as you can imagine living in an old house, every time we uncover something, we find another problem to resolve.
Although having renovated several previous properties, Louisa has never previously planned out the decoration of a house but this time is different, “Mark and I have differing tastes so to achieve what we both want I have started creating mood boards and room layouts. This seems to be going well as it keeps us both on plan”.
It probably helps that the family run ‘Sugden and Daughters’ specialising in the most beautiful antique and vintage gardenalia https://www.sugdenanddaughters.co.uk/ and more recently Louisa started “dabbling” with social media and occasionally undertakes Instagram influencing work. Louisa also styles and photographs holiday cottages in and around Norfolk and this year will be focusing her time more on her interiors styling career.
Louisa describes her incredible style as “elegantly knackered”. her rustic brickwork, dark cossetting colours and old master florals give great credence to her dislike of “shiny and new” , the heart of the cottage beats with her love and preference for “old, worn and sometimes tatty”.
Louisa’s Country Cottage Necessities include Log burners, comfy chairs and lots of blankets; all testament to true country cottage living! This is what is so apparent in this gorgeous home, one can sense the history even in just looking at the images yet it has been filled with modern life lived pared back and true to the heritage of the house.
Louisa takes much inspiration from interiors books, her current favourite is the very popular “British Designers at Home” by Jenny Rose-Innes which “is a recent addition to my book collection and I think that’s gone into pole position”. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1784883468/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_api_fabc_PBQ63E02JKP5HER59P1D
When asked to describe her dream home, Louisa replies “The only thing that would make my current house more perfect is a sea view and maybe a walled garden”. This cottage originally owned a lot of land and outbuildings, over time it was all sold off to be developed but what this cottage lacks in land, Louisa and her family have replaced with authentic, time worn and much loved treasures. They have restored a neglected beauty and brought her back to life with bravery and unbelievably beautiful style and grace.
For more stunning images by Louisa head to her instagram account https://www.instagram.com/elegantlyknackeredstyle/
Alternatively have a look at her beautiful blog Http://www.elegantlyknackeredstyle.co.uk
To source similar pieces for your home click here https://www.sugdenanddaughters.co.uk/