It’s hard to believe that Claire Potter’s grade II listed cottage in Portslade, on the outskirts of Brighton, is just a slice off the house next door “We think it must have been the kitchen,” she explains, “as there’s a bread oven near what is now the front door.”

Claire has maximised the available space in the kitchen

Claire has maximised the available space in the kitchen

What is now the pantry was once the outside lavatory

What is now the pantry was once the outside lavatory

The first thing that Claire and Mark did when they moved in was to rip up the bright purple carpet that was in the front room and all the way up the stairs

The first thing that Claire and Mark did when they moved in was to rip up the bright purple carpet that was in the front room and all the way up the stairs

Every nook and cranny is filled with vintage finds and curios. The ‘Snatie’ snakes that are wound around the beams in the former bread oven are made from reclaimed ties, and are available to buy from Claire’s website

Every nook and cranny is filled with vintage finds and curios. The ‘Snatie’ snakes that are wound around the beams in the former bread oven are made from reclaimed ties, and are available to buy from Claire’s website

The layout downstairs is conventional enough, but upstairs something unexpected happens. The bathroom is on the landing. No, wait a minute, the bathroom is the landing!

The layout downstairs is conventional enough, but upstairs something unexpected happens. The bathroom is on the landing. No, wait a minute, the bathroom is the landing!

Through the bathroom, you reach the cosy bedroom

Through the bathroom, you reach the cosy bedroom

Fortunately the couple were able to peel off the smothering layers of ‘improvements’ made by the previous occupants, to restore the integrity of the original building

Fortunately the couple were able to peel off the smothering layers of ‘improvements’ made by the previous occupants, to restore the integrity of the original building

The garden may be modest in size, but Claire has managed to pack a lot in, including some bantam hens and a wormery

The garden may be modest in size, but Claire has managed to pack a lot in, including some bantam hens and a wormery

The studio will soon be based in an outbuilding in the garden

The studio will soon be based in an outbuilding in the garden

Although she trained as an interior architect, around 60% of the projects Claire works on are outside

Although she trained as an interior architect, around 60% of the projects Claire works on are outside

Claire’s own garden is an eclectic mix of interesting plants and ornaments made from recycled materials

Claire’s own garden is an eclectic mix of interesting plants and ornaments made from recycled materials

Although she trained as an interior architect, around 60% of the projects Claire works on are outside. “I’ve always gardened,” she says, “and it’s great to be able to design outdoor spaces.”

Although she trained as an interior architect, around 60% of the projects Claire works on are outside. “I’ve always gardened,” she says, “and it’s great to be able to design outdoor spaces.”

In the front garden, and in perfect scale to the cottage, is a micro-caravan, or eco tear-drop trailer, based on a design from the 1920s

In the front garden, and in perfect scale to the cottage, is a micro-caravan, or eco tear-drop trailer, based on a design from the 1920s

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

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