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Living history

PUBLISHED: 11:24 03 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 November 2015

Cotton Tree featured home

Cotton Tree featured home


Designer Charlotte Thurkettle, of Cotton Tree Design Studio, took on the challenge of creating a homely retreat amid a heritage rural industry setting at Snape. Photographs by Neil Davies

Cotton Tree featured homeCotton Tree featured home

How did it all start?

A Cotton Tree client, who we have worked with before, called and asked us to help her personalise a newly renovated empty space in Snape. Having worked closely with this client before, we knew her taste, and also knew the lovely pieces she wanted to bring along, which were a great starting point.

The property was painted off-white throughout with a cream kitchen and oak flooring – and that was it!

Cotton Tree featured homeCotton Tree featured home

What was the brief?

Our client wanted us to make the space more homely, but retain the ‘wow’ of the character of the property. She also wanted to be able to use her existing corner sofa, which we had made as a bespoke piece for her previous house, and to incorporate her precious antique desk.

How did you tackle the project?

Cotton Tree featured homeCotton Tree featured home

Cotton Tree were involved in the entire project, from decoration, soft furnishings, furniture and accessories. The lead designer was Charlotte Thurkettle, aided by Kim Gissing on the technical and trades side. The stand out feature was the full height bookcase, which we designed in our studio. The aim was to emphasise the full height of the property, and provide a glorious display for our client’s books, art work, and treasures.

The look we went for was modern, country with an industrial element. We wanted to source some older pieces, to match the character of the building. The lights over the kitchen table were sourced from an antique dealer we work closely with, and the table and side board came from a French furniture maker.

The biggest change was when we painted the cream kitchen a lovely rich grey from Zoffany, which gave the room some definition. We also convinced the client to paint some of the oak a strong black, to bring the space really up to date in style, and create a showcase for a beautiful object.

The biggest challenge was balancing different woods – the property has a beautiful oak floor, wooden worktops, and we wanted to bring in wooden furniture. So painting out some with the black paint, and carefully selecting furniture with more rustic finishing blended the space really well.

Cotton Tree featured homeCotton Tree featured home

Cole and Sons Tropical Birds wallpaper created a stunning backdrop to the dining area, with a bespoke painting commissioned by local artist Stuart Roy. We also used a show stopping paper in the hall area, a mural illustrating old fruit crates.

We changed the garden room in to a casual study and chill-out space, with a beautiful linen sofa and textured cushions, set off by a hand blocked wallpaper made by designer Lindsay Alker. Here the desk took its place. Balanced by a leather chair and dark grey walls, we were able to bring a pop of colour with the turquoise lamp.

Looking out on the courtyard we used contemporary garden furniture, framed with some simple zinc planters from Capital Garden products.

Local cabinet maker Jonathan Hogben joined us on this project to make the floor to ceiling bookcase, with streamlined cupboards, and textured wallpaper to the reverse, a stunning linen paper from Phillips Jeffrey’s.

Cotton Tree featured homeCotton Tree featured home

We used a soft Forrest design paper in the master bedroom by Larsen, with an over sized deep buttoned headboard, covered in a textured linen by Fermioe. We wanted a soft neutral pallet in here to make it a real retreat, whereas in the guest bedroom we injected a few pops of colour with a bright green headboard and scatters of orange throws and cushions.

And the result?

The client was thrilled with the result. We completed the project with some industrial photography – a combination of some purchased pieces from Trowbridge Gallery in London, and local photography, all in black and white and greys.

Cotton Tree Design Studio

01728 604700


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