Having downsized from a large Georgian property where they ran an award-winning bed and breakfast, Pippa and Mike Carter decided to move to a small cottage just down the road in order to buy a place in France. Having devoted their attention to transforming the house and garden over the last year, they now have plans to expand their modestly sized abode to create a home to fit around their creative lifestyle.

The feeling of space is enhanced by the enormous mirror in the sitting room, that despite its size – “People said we’d never get it in,” Pippa laughs – works really well

The feeling of space is enhanced by the enormous mirror in the sitting room, that despite its size – “People said we’d never get it in,” Pippa laughs – works really well

Having moved from a significantly larger property, every inch of space has been put to good use as a convenient way for Pippa to display and store neatly arranged clusters of trinkets and finds from her travels in France

Having moved from a significantly larger property, every inch of space has been put to good use as a convenient way for Pippa to display and store neatly arranged clusters of trinkets and finds from her travels in France

generously stocked shelves ensure that ingredients and cookbooks are always conveniently to hand

Generously stocked shelves ensure that ingredients and cookbooks are always conveniently to hand

Whilst they wait to start work on their new extension, Pippa and Mike have settled into the existing kitchen, where generously stocked shelves ensure that ingredients and cookbooks are always conveniently to hand

Whilst they wait to start work on their new extension, Pippa and Mike have settled into the existing kitchen

“We only sell things that we like and that we’d use ourselves,” says Pippa

“We only sell things that we like and that we’d use ourselves,” says Pippa

As the cottage is all on one level, the rooms are clustered closely together with the sitting room at the cente.

As the cottage is all on one level, the rooms are clustered closely together with the sitting room at the centre

Shelves in the guest bedroom are home to stacks of crisp French linens and a brightly coloured vintage yoyo quilt dresses the painted metal bed

Shelves in the guest bedroom are home to stacks of crisp French linens and a brightly coloured vintage yoyo quilt dresses the painted metal bed

A door from the sitting room leads into the master bedroom. The couple have plans to extend the cottage outwards and upwards, adding on more living space and a further bedroom upstairs

A door from the sitting room leads into the master bedroom. The couple have plans to extend the cottage outwards and upwards, adding on more living space and a further bedroom upstairs

Three French Hens, which specialises in French brocante pieces

Three French Hens specialises in French brocante pieces

The garden is a carnival of colour

The garden is a carnival of colour

Pippa’s eye-catching displays extend into the garden which was once a huge tangle of ivy and foliage. It’s now home to vibrant flower beds and swathes of bunting

Pippa’s eye-catching displays extend into the garden which was once a huge tangle of ivy and foliage

The cottage is concealed from the track that leads down to it by a stylishly ‘wild’ front garden dotted with vintage finds.

The cottage is concealed from the track that leads down to it by a stylishly ‘wild’ front garden dotted with vintage finds

The garden now home to vibrant flower beds and swathes of bunting

The garden is now home to vibrant flower beds and swathes of bunting

Having lived in the house for a year, Pippa’s ideas have changed a fair amount. “I originally wanted this to be a contemporary house, with big bi-fold doors, but now I want it to look like an old cricket pavilion.” At present it’s just single storey with two bedrooms and an ‘extension’ of sorts, where the garage was joined on to the house

Having lived in the house for a year, Pippa’s ideas have changed a fair amount. “I originally wanted this to be a contemporary house, with big bi-fold doors, but now I want it to look like an old cricket pavilion.” At present it’s just single storey with two bedrooms and an ‘extension’ of sorts, where the garage was joined on to the house

As we sit in the peace of the sun-filled garden, it seems to me that Mike and Pippa have found a good balance

As we sit in the peace of the sun-filled garden, it seems to me that Mike and Pippa have found a good balance

Plants already seem well established

Sweet Williams look ready for delivery

They have the best of both worlds here; town and country life

They have the best of both worlds here; town and country life

The cottage is concealed from the track that leads down to it by a stylishly ‘wild’ front garden dotted with vintage finds. Underneath the sitting room window, Pippa has repurposed an old blue bike as a raised planter

Underneath the sitting room window, Pippa has repurposed an old blue bike as a raised planter

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

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