Valley Cottage

Their English Country Cottages

We got married in the Hambleden Valley and whenever we used to drive by the farm my husband used to say he would love to live there one day, so when the cottage came onto the market we had to give it chance.

Jenna Killington

Jenna and her husband and 4 children, two Labradors Mika and Saffron, one cheeky pony, 6 hens and a cockerel called Nando all live in this magnificent conversion of a tiny Victorian Gardener’s cottage.

They had lived in central Marlow for 15 years, but as Jenna’s husband approached 50 they realised that they had one more house move left in them and Jenna’s husband wanted to live more remotely. Jenna is a confessed townie and wasn’t sure that she could cope with life in the country. Fate took control and the pretty thatch cottage that Jenna kept saying she would buy if they didn’t have 4 children came onto the market. The housing market around Marlow is “always madness and moving a large family is challenging”, the location was perfect – just 3 miles from central Marlow, but there were still neighbours as it is a large farm that was split into 5 individual homes.

The couple were married in the Hambleden Valley and whenever they would drive past the farm, Jenna’s husband used to say that he would love to live there one day, so when the cottage came onto the market they knew that they had to give it chance. Jenna fell instantly in love with the location and the charm but it was tiny compared to their previous home. The family decided it was worth taking a risk and trying to extend the property knowing that it is a conservation area and that the farm is listed so it was a huge risk that thankfully paid off.

The main farm was built in 17th Century with the gardeners cottage as a later addition in the Victorian era. The owner at the time loved thatched rooves so added a pub, stables and the gardeners cottage as thatch, they are all now residential and Jenna is very grateful for lovely neighbours so that there is no sense of isolation.

When planning the extension of the original cottage, Jenna says that: “Our aim was to create 5 bedrooms including a master suite and a large kitchen and living room. We were very fortunate with our Architects – Heighway Associates – Jono planned a sympathetic modern extension whilst continuing the thatch so that we were able to add 65% to the house making it much more workable for our family.  We were also able to add a triple garage with a 2 bed annex which is great for family and friends to come and stay.. “

The work was so intense that Jenna had to be well organised as it was such a huge project that affected every room in the house. She cleverly took an Interior design course and found that the mood boards that she created were incredibly helpful when making the important decisions; “It can be very overwhelming with such a huge project to stay focused on what you are trying to achieve. I found the book “Mad about the House” really helpful too it was great for helping me stay practical and keep in mind how we use our home as a family.”

Jenna’s favourite part of the house is their wine room furniture: it was built around an 1890’s Milners double safe that her husband found and refurbished and has a beautiful piece of antique glass from champagne set into it. Her carpenter was wonderful at understanding the couple’s vision and creating such a spectacular addition to the house. It really is a showstopper.

Jenna has a gorgeous modern country style that is timeless and works well in both modern country homes and old country cottages. She loves local interior Designers “Ham interiors” and took a lot of inspiration from them. She also admires Sims Hilditch classic style and employed their pared back, calming interiors to inform her own rooms. “There is still so much I want to do to finish the house adding more character, I love antiques markets and salvage fairs.”

Jenna cites her favourite book “Eat, Drink, Nap” from Soho House. The cottage is about an hour from Soho Farmhouse and she and her husband love spending time there. The book is filled with interiors inspiration and is her go to for cocktail recipes and an amazing sour dough recipe!

The couple have achieved a truly stunning home so they have no intentions of moving but Jenna would adore a house in the South of France, where they spend a lot of time with family so would love to have a base there. Her dream home would be an old French farmhouse surrounded by vineyards with a beautiful courtyard area. Jenna says that she has been collecting furniture “for my French house” so just needs to find the time to get out there and find something. For now this is their dream home filled with soothing colours and incredibly glamorous interior style.

For more stunning interiors, head to Jenna’s instagram account

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