Houzz Tour: A Country Cottage Merges Traditional and Contemporary Style
Slate flooring, traditional joinery and a thatched roof give this smart, surprisingly young house cosy, picturesque charm
Who lives here A couple and their three older children, who use it as their holiday home
Designer Stephanie Dunning of Stephanie Dunning Interior Design
Size 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
The cottage went through many incarnations before reaching this finished state. Two previous structures accidentally burned down, and an unloved and shoddily built structure was then raised in their place. ‘We completely gutted it, extended it and created the floor plan as it is now,’ Stephanie explains.
The thatched roof, an iconic feature of the English country cottage, is found in abundance among Dorset’s properties. However, most are thatched with long straw, while Stephanie used water reed. Every thatcher has their individual trademark so their handiwork can be recognised from afar. ‘When you look at the left-hand chimney, you’ll see the thatcher’s trademark,’ says Stephanie.
The island features a hob, a breakfast bar and electrical outlets. ‘Gone are the days of banishing someone to the kitchen,’ Stephanie says. Instead, an island allows the cook to interact with the entire room while prepping on the oak worktop. The power outlets further encourage an interactive use of the space, transforming the island into a workspace where family members can plug in their phones and laptops.
Stephanie also designated one wall of the kitchen as the official storage wall, with a large fridge, pantry and additional cabinets all housed together.
Cabinet painted in Shaded White, Farrow & Ball. Bar stools, John Lewis. Wall clock, Graham & Green. Splashback tiles, Fired Earth. Open shelving, The English Joinery Company.
Dining table and coffee table, The English Joinery Company. Dining chairs, Neptune. Sofa, George Smith. Leather armchair, Sofa.com. Lamps, Porta Romana.
Stephanie added a solid oak beam to both support the floor above and add an authentic aesthetic. She chose seagrass carpet instead of continuing the stone flooring in this room. ‘I always think that if you do stone all the way through, it can be a bit harsh and relentless. You can also then put a rug on top of the seagrass, which acts as a foil.’
Sofas, George Smith. Coffee table, The English Joinery Company. Curtains, Designers Guild. Roman blind, Kate Forman.
Stephanie also designed the bookcase next to the fireplace, and added grilles to the bottom cabinets, where the room’s sound system is housed. ‘The colour ties in with the slate flooring in the kitchen,’ she explains, thus creating a connection between the rooms. The door next to the bookcase leads to the study.
Armchairs, Andrew Martin. Wall sconces, Vaughan.
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The sweet vintage daybed was sourced by Stephanie at an antiques fair.
Cushion fabric, Zoffany.
Runner, Roger Oates.
Unit, The English Joinery Company. Lamps, Porta Romana.
Bedside lamps, Porta Romana. Reading lights, Mr Light. Curtains and blinds, Kate Forman.
Chest of drawers, Salisbury Antiques. Armchair fabric, Zoffany. Wall sconce, Vaughan.
Panelling painted in Light Blue, Farrow & Ball. Bathroom suite, No Code. Mirror, The English Joinery Company.
Curtains, Romo. Bed linen, Chelsea Textiles. Bedside tables and lamps, Oka. Walls painted in Light Blue, Farrow & Ball.
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‘We did a brick and flint extension to echo the evolution of the house,’ Stephanie explains, purposefully highlighting the differences in the exterior’s style and materials. ‘Because the house is in a conservation area, the brick and flint all had to be agreed upon beforehand,’ she adds.
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