Their English Country Cottages
“The house chose me”
Hurrah! Come in! Erm…actually this isn’t my house so that’s probably a bit rude. This beautiful cottage belongs to Jane Compton-Leese who lives in Suffolk in a very similar cottage to ours (sometimes I have to look twice at her kitchen before I realise that it’s not one of my photos!!!). It makes sense to kick off my new blog series featuring a myriad of English Country Cottages with Jane’s gorgeous cottage, I hope that you love it as much as I do (but don’t even think about stealing her rocking horse – I have first dibs on that!).
Emily Bond’s gorgeous Duck fabric on the kitchen blind adds a sense of joy and country fun. The Rocking Horse was made by a craftsman based in Hereford called Roqers, commissioned by Jane for her sons 1st Birthday “I always wanted one when i was a child , and intend for it to be passed on down through future generations”.
Jane, her son and their “crazy Parson Russell Terrier Basil” moved here 5 years ago having fallen under Suffolk’s spell whilst on holiday. Jane fell head over heels in love with the house the moment she saw it online but it sold before she could arrange a viewing. Thankfully as is always the case in these serendipitous situations, just as Jane’s house sold, this cottage came back on the market so Jane hotfooted it across to Suffolk, fell instantly in love and her offer was immediately accepted ” It felt like it was meant to be and that the house had picked me not the other way round”.
Having never owned an Aga before, I now know what I would miss . The constant warmth it gives you through the winter months , is so comforting, cooking food on it is a real pleasure and the taste is incomparable to a regular oven , it can warm and dry your clothes and guests gravitate towards it when visiting and really makes the kitchen the heart of the home.
The house was two cottages at one time, they date to around mid 1500-early 1600s but previous owners have some evidence to suggest that it may be even earlier to late 1400 s in places . There are carpenter marks on beams and witch marks over doorways and fireplaces are which add so much interest and intrigue to the house .
Jane moots English and French country styles as her interior influences, using washed soft linens , squashy sofas , leather armchairs pictures and paintings as well as the ubiquitous kitchen dresser to pull together all the elements that she has always loved and make up her country cottage essentials .
Some of Jane’s favourite designers include Emily Bond “her fabrics are just lovely especially the daschund design” , Peony and Sage for their beautiful french inspired designs and Vanessa Arbuthnot for an array of interesting fabrics. She is also a passionate admirer of Christina Strutt from Cabbages and Roses which is “the quintessential English country look with a little French Influence too”.
The house has been completely redecorated throughout, new plumbing and traditional radiators have been installed as well as a new bathroom upstairs including a dreamy roll top bath and gorgeous country style panelling painted in Farrow and Ball’s Mizzle.
Jane spent a long time planning the interior decoration, she wanted to create a “relaxed country look” so planned the decor to incorporate as many natural materials as possible including sisal flooring , chalky paint finishes and linen furnishings. She used muted and soft colours to reflect the colours that she loves: “off whites ,sage greens and soft greys are my favourite colours” . This serene pallette creates a harmonious and relaxing feel that flows from room to room and extends into her beautiful garden.
Country Cottage essentials for Jane are without doubt “A range oven in the kitchen with a scrubbed pine or painted kitchen table with a pot of tea at the ready , a kitchen dresser overflowing with crockery and little collections and favourite things , a squashy sofa full of cushions to sink into , an iron bedstead or french style bed covered in crisp white bed linen and pillows, lamps literally everywhere , a log burner and basket full of logs at the ready, bookshelves heavy with books and pictures and paintings and covering the walls , and last but definitely not least a faithful dog snoozing in his bed. These all create a warm , homely cottage look that should welcome you home like a big hug at the end of a long day”.
The sense of calm and serenity continues into Jane’s garden, even Basil seems relaxed for once!
This is my dream house I have always wanted to live in a thatched cottage so it really is a dream come true . If I had to pick anything else it would be a french chateau, something like the one Dick and Angel Strawbridge live in it’s just breathtaking!!!!
White Horse Farm obviously picked the right new owner, Jane has honoured the history of the house but breathed life and love and unbelievably glorious taste into this beautiful English Country Cottage.