Classic Country Style

17th August 2018

Emily Waters always knew that one day she would heed the call of her native Wiltshire countryside. In 2016, while working in Reading, and living in rented accommodation, she and husband Chris finally began their search to find a new home and relocate to the area where Emily had grown up.

“We spotted this old farmer’s cottage on Rightmove – it had been tenanted for years and wasn’t in the best state. It was cold, damp, dated and dirty and in need of a lot of TLC. We fell in love with it straight away, put in an offer and arranged our mortgage the week before our wedding day in September 2016.”

Property developing runs in Emily’s bones: her parents have worked on a house renovation and two barn conversations. “I asked them to check it out first, which they were happy to do, and they rang to say it was perfect for us,” Emily recalls.

Once they had the keys, they lived with Emily’s parents nearby for a couple of months while they stripped the house back to a shell.

“We moved in during a cold February in 2017, with a shell of a bathroom and half-finished rooms and a temporary kitchen that consisted of a camping stove and microwave – we even hosted eight of my university friends using the temporary kitchen one weekend over that summer.”

Their first job was to take out the old-fashioned lino floor and the dated kitchen units, now just a distant memory. Emily has kept her new kitchen and dining area clean and fresh with a selection of bright and off-whites, mixed with rustic wooden touches and natural elements. The theme of botanicals and more vivid florals runs throughout the entirety of her cottage.

The new kitchen features Howdens Fairford units teamed with brass handles and beech worktops. Open shelves and a butler sink with brassware taps add a traditional feel and Emily picked up a range cooker for a song on Gumtree, teaming it with selected handpainted Portugese ceramic tiles for her splashback.

‘We’ve been busy adding personal touches with art prints and homewares from various online sellers,’ says Emily. ‘It’s great having a table and chairs, as I enjoy hosting dinner parties, and it’s great to finally start using our wedding presents like the gorgeous Kitchen Aid mixer – and the Nespresso coffee machine is my ‘go to’ every morning.”

When Emily and Chris ripped up the carpets they revealed lino and concrete that was soaking wet. “Every time we painted a wall the damp came back, so Chris learned how to plaster and skim walls to improve the situation,” says Emily.

A local carpenter came to their rescue with damp proofing and levelling the floors and he also installed the kitchen units and bathroom fixtures. “He did a fantastic job at treating the damp and he also levelled the floors… and we had a dehumidifier on for three weeks to dry the whole place out.”

Emily also asked her plumber to relocate all the ‘awful pipework’ that ran along the hall and kitchen ceilings to the loft. In addition, he moved radiators to free up wall space, and reconditioned the original boiler.

The couple selected engineered oak floorboards throughout the living room and snug. Emily’s carpenter crafted a mantelpiece using MDF above the inherited log burner in the living room and the wooden cabinet – one of Emily’s best purchases from Gumtree – displays her collection of glassware.

“I’m quite a savvy shopper and have created an eclectic mix. Some pieces contain quite a bit of history which I think is so special – the cabinet the record player sits on was a former dresser that belonged to my granny,” says Emily. “She also had an amazing silverware collection, including sentimental personal pieces I love such as a cigarette case and a silvery tray with ‘1905’ date inscribed on it.”

In the corner of the living room is a West Elm marble table with a tray of decanters. “Sixteen of our friends clubbed together to buy the table from John Lewis as a wedding gift and we love it. The decanters – some new and some old that we collected for our wedding – contain our favourite spirits, ready for when we have friends over.” says Emily.

It’s evident that Emily absolutely loves interiors and now she has made it her career. “The idea of starting afresh really excited me,” she says. “Last year I joined my mum’s established interior design business, Loose Ends Fabrics and Workshop, which I’m thrilled about.”

Emily and Chris Waters have created a timeless interior at their Wiltshire cottage by cleverly combining favourite vintage finds, curiosities and much-loved wedding gifts…

words: natalie flaum | photography: colin poole

Emily has softened the rustic touches in her home with splashes of blush pink and sage green to give it a classic look. She has created a cosy snug area, filling the space with a dusky pink armchair, a floor lamp that creates the perfect light for reading and a side table filled with pretty accessories. It’s now one of her favourite spots in her home. The little wall mounted wooden cabinet is from a local antique shop. “It was exactly what I was looking for to display vases and candleholders, capturing wedding day memories,” says Emily. “I love the snug as i’ts warm and cosy, yet bright and airy too… I seem to have created a pink, green and gold theme, which I love. I’m not so keen on the random light socket that’s half way up the wall, but you know, you can’t have it all!”

The former bathroom was incredibly dated, with large dark grey floor-to-ceiling tiles and an avocado-coloured bathroom suite. Emily and Chris have created a calm, natural and earthy feel with metro white wall tiles, wooden flooring, a pine cupboard and bath caddy. “I love filling up the bath with lavender oil, fresh mint and rosemary from the garden to relax and unwind – divine,” adds Emily.

The master bedroom is serene and relaxed, and has been kept wardrobe-free to maximise the space. “I wanted to create a calm, uncluttered room in which to rest and hopefully get a good night’s sleep,” says Emily. “The bed was another find on Gumtree that I arranged to have powder-coated white, as the original black frame didn’t work in the room. I really wanted a pink wall somewhere in the house so I’m pleased I managed to achieve it in our bedroom and I personalised an antique chair pink to match the wall.”

Chris and Emily love mixing old furniture with personal items, and some wonderful pieces from their wedding take pride of place in their home. “One year on, to the date, from getting the keys to this property we had the magazine photoshoot shoot, which was really exciting for us both. I just can’t believe how far we’ve come and feel privileged to have been able to design our home in the way we wanted to.”

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