Renovating a period cottage is always a challenge. The lives we lead are very different both from those of the 17th century villagers and farm workers for whom these homes were originally built and from the families who have updated them over the years. Somehow we have gently to separate the wheat from the chaff and from somewhere find the wisdom to know the difference.

Holly and Chris kept the fireplace wall as bare brickwork and exposed the original beams

Holly and Chris kept the fireplace wall as bare brickwork and exposed the original beams

Light pours into the spacious kitchen/conservatory but it was not always so. “When we first saw it, the dining room had a small entrance into the conservatory,” says Holly

Light pours into the spacious kitchen/conservatory but it was not always so. “When we first saw it, the dining room had a small entrance into the conservatory,” says Holly

“The kitchen was next door in what is now a utility room. We moved it in here and took down the wall into the conservatory.”

“The kitchen was next door in what is now a utility room. We moved it in here and took down the wall into the conservatory.”

Centrepiece of the kitchen is a contemporary butcher’s block – a birthday present to Chris who is the family chef

Centrepiece of the kitchen is a contemporary butcher’s block – a birthday present to Chris who is the family chef

Holly and Chris sourced their kitchen from Howdens in Hawkhurst

Holly and Chris sourced their kitchen from Howdens in Hawkhurst

The couple’s dogs, Murphy and Tinkerbell, snuggle up in the utility room

The couple’s dogs, Murphy and Tinkerbell, snuggle up in the utility room

The master bedroom furniture is all from OKA including the lovely white rattan headed and footed bed and rattan and bamboo wardrobe and chest of drawers

The master bedroom furniture is all from OKA including the lovely white rattan headed and footed bed and rattan and bamboo wardrobe and chest of drawers

The window shutters were made by Shutter Frontier in Flimwell

The window shutters were made by Shutter Frontier in Flimwell

The en suite shower room could not be cooler – a lovely stone basin supported by a block of Chris’s oak, a marvellous mirror from Woodcocks, tiny mother of pearl mosaic tiles from Fired Earth and travertine flooring

The en suite shower room could not be cooler – a lovely stone basin supported by a block of Chris’s oak, a marvellous mirror from Woodcocks, tiny mother of pearl mosaic tiles from Fired Earth and travertine flooring

For the family bathroom, Holly and Chris opted for a contemporary roll top bath supported on a couple of unpolished oak plinths

For the family bathroom, Holly and Chris opted for a contemporary roll top bath supported on a couple of unpolished oak plinths

A stone bowl basin is supported by a polished oak table with chrome legs, made by Chris

A stone bowl basin is supported by a polished oak table with chrome legs, made by Chris

The guest bedroom is nestled up on the top floor. The exposed timber of the barrelled ceiling and curved beams may well have come from a ship

The guest bedroom is nestled up on the top floor. The exposed timber of the barrelled ceiling and curved beams may well have come from a ship

In the window is a Moses basket from Mamas and Papas

In the window is a Moses basket from Mamas and Papas

Baby Henry has his own Stevenson Brothers zebra rocking horse. Its soft black tail is made from that of one of Holly’s much loved horses that sadly passed away recently

Baby Henry has his own Stevenson Brothers zebra rocking horse. Its soft black tail is made from that of one of Holly’s much loved horses that sadly passed away recently

Also, like his brother, Henry has his Bunting Bee bunting beneath which stands a giraffe skin trunk from the Fine English Company

Also, like his brother, Henry has his Bunting Bee bunting beneath which stands a giraffe skin trunk from the Fine English Company

The blinds in George’s room are made from Designers Guild fabric sourced from Bell House Fabrics in Cranbrook

The blinds in George’s room are made from Designers Guild fabric sourced from Bell House Fabrics in Cranbrook

The blinds in George’s room are made from Designers Guild fabric sourced from Bell House Fabrics in Cranbrook. His elegant dapple grey Stevenson Brothers rocking horse features little hounds running beneath it

George's elegant dapple grey Stevenson Brothers rocking horse features little hounds running beneath it

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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