If you’re looking for interior inspiration, Rebecca’s country cottage is the place to be. Surrounded by fields, trees and winding paths, the cottage is as idyllic both inside and out, full of natural charm and homely details. We were lucky enough to spend the day shooting our new Tableware collection together, with more than a little help styling the table from Rebecca! As well as sharing tips on how to create the perfect dinner-party set up, we also caught up on Rebecca’s journey from a fast-paced London lifestyle to a surprising career change in the countryside.
Ohh thank you so much! It has been a very gradual process over nine years. The cottage had been empty for a year and a half when we bought it so we spent a long time bringing it back to life. All the rooms were painted in beautiful but very dark colours with unusually paired colours on the woodwork. We quickly realised that the dark colours made the cottage feel rather oppressive so I repainted every room in a variety of off whites and added colour with the furniture and furnishings. We fell in love with the age and magic of the property so it was essential that we honoured the provenance of this old farmhouse, using rustic tones and textures whilst creating a welcoming family home with floral curtains, velvet cushions and a practical free standing kitchen that could have been here for centuries.
Soft furnishings - spend as much as you can afford on curtains, they frame and inform each room as well providing respite from draughty windows! Cushions immediately make a house a home, they invite you to squash into them and snuggle up and blankets bring more texture and cosiness. My final tips would be books and florals because they are my two passions, they bring a sense of calm and comfort to a room but anything that is personal to you, pictures, paintings, colourful rugs, vases, all these items make a house a home.
I expected to miss city life enormously but actually I immediately fell in love with the surrounding fields and countryside. In London I rushed around at 875 thousand miles an hour and never stopped to think, the open space of the countryside gives your brain time to think again. There is something miraculous about views that go on for miles and miles and something magical about seeing the same tree every day look a little different. Seasons don’t really play a part in city life but they are integral to country living. In the summer the windows are doors are flung open and most of our time is spent outside, in the Autumn we watch the lane change colour as we gather provisions for the winter and by November, the doors and windows are closed, the fire is lit and we hunker down until the first snowdrop appears by the same corner of the cottage every year.
I broke my heel and was stuck at home for weeks, I was a self-proclaimed Luddite but so many friends had recommended Instagram that I thought I would investigate whilst I was immobile! I immediately fell in love with all the beautiful photos and couldn’t believe that I could see the inside of people's homes that I had admired for years. I naturally followed a lot of country homes accounts and felt encouraged to pop up a photo of our sitting room. It spiralled from there and just a few months in, Period Living magazine contacted me to ask if I would like to be in their magazine! I thought it was a mistake, then I explained that the cottage was filled with Cheerios and odd socks and might not be photographable but they were very sweet and took the most amazing shots.Instagram has led to me writing articles for magazines, styling features, interviewing authors, working with interiors and fashion companies and has introduced me to an enormous group of incredibly talented people. Our cottage is on the front cover of The English Home magazine US this month and will be in 25 Beautiful Homes this Christmas. I love that a crumbly 400 year old English cottage has been featured in magazines in Italy, France, America and is just about to be included on a new interior design app! I have been interviewed on radio and BBC TV and am now a regular columnist for Preloved magazine. All from one brilliant app!!!!
Oh what a lovely question! It is definitely becoming more of a juggle. I started all this with no idea where it would lead and certainly no concept of how quickly it would snowball. I am very lucky that my entire job revolves around our home so I am nearly always here. I can juggle commitments so that I can be at Monday sharing assembly (although I invariably forget and have to be reminded by my ever efficient eleven year old daughter) and ready to catch my thirteen year old son when he wobbles after a tricky day at school.
I think both children like seeing me working and actually enjoy joining in and styling and filming content with me. I hope it shows them that if you work hard then you can achieve something near your dreams.
Fill the table with joy! Go to town and spoil your guests! If guests ooh and ahh when they walk in then you know that you are in for a fun evening. Use tablecloths, placemats, napkins. Fill crystal glasses with fizz, mix and match glasses for more drama. Use beautiful plates and as many candles as possible. Flowers are essential - they bring colour and texture and a sense of grounding. Even if it’s a vase of yellow leafed branches and blackberries in Autumn or ivy and rosehips at Christmas, it brings a sense of drama and magic to the table.
Create a riotous table to feast the eyes upon and use soft music to relax your guests. Use lots of different textures to interest, cushions for comfort, linen napkins for luxury, hard silver for cutlery and even throw fir cones, metal stars, and soft berries onto the table. Finally match your tablescape to your food, red and green needs warming hearty food, a more tropical design requires citrus flavours, perhaps a zesty cocktail and some fun amuse bouche to get the tastebuds watering.