- by Emma Morgan
The Country Cottage
There are three images that the words "Country Cottage" bring to mind.
- The cottage itself
- The country cottage interior decor, particularly the kitchen and
- The country cottage garden.
The Cottage Itself
There are many different home styles that fit the image of a country cottage, but the one thing associated with all of them is that they feel welcoming.
If you've been lucky enough to buy a home that has the ambience of a country cottage, there are now many things that you can do to round out the picture, from interior design in keeping with the architecture to planting a traditional cottage garden.
And don't think the home has to be all that old. Depending on where you live, there may be many homes deliberately built in an older style. These include Californian bungalow, Victorian, Federation and Miner's Cottage styles.
In the UK, the Scandinavian countries and parts of the US, traditional thatched roof designs are also very popular.
Country Cottage Interior Decor
One of the constants that clients come up with when I ask them to describe what country cottage decor means to them is childhood memories of meals at their grand-parents' homes.
Especially at the big, solid hardwood dining table that was either in or next to the kitchen itself.
Grandma (and sometimes Grandpa) would seemingly without effort produce a magnificent roast meal for all of the adult children, cousins and grandchildren, cooked on a huge range and then served on a table that felt like 100 years old.
The ideal country cottage kitchen replicates this feel without sacrificing modern conveniences.
If you're in Australia, you can get a magnificent country table in whitewashed recycled timber from https://www.apex.com.au/whitewashed-recycled-timber-table-top/. Prices range from $279 to $779, depending on size, but they all look great and do the job.
Have Fun with Clashing Prints and Patterns
Cottage homes really pull at our heart-strings because they have that 'lived in' nostalgic feel.
That's why a country cottage will always look best if it looks slightly eclectic, a look brought on by years of decorating and redecorating.
So feel free to mix and match in a way that you probably wouldn't do in a more formal setting.
You can find suitable prints from many different sources. These include antique stores, garage sales (absolutely worth checking out), 5 and dime stores and best of all if available, your grandparents' old photos. Even if they are little old black and whites, they can be enlarged, restored to sepia and framed to produce a wonderful nostalgic look.
Imagine how good a series of family photographs like this one would look on the wall of a country cottage. And, of course, they just get more and more nostalgically valuable as the generations pass.
Don't let this valuable family history disappear!
The Country Cottage Garden
If there's one thing that defines the country cottage, it's the cottage garden. It creates that welcoming ambience even before you knock on the front door.
The cottage garden is the easiest thing in the world to achieve.
It's the very opposite of formal, with the object being to achieve a totally natural look with a proliferation of color.
Go to your local nursery and get hardy flowering plants of three or four different heights, depending on how much depth you need to fill.
Buy plants with mainly white and blue flowers, along with some yellows and the occasional red.
Then plant the taller plants at the back of the garden, terracing down towards the smaller ones.
Totally ignore color. You are looking for a random mix here.
Leave plenty of growth space between plantings. Plants are competitive for real estate and will rapidly fill the space to give you the desired native look.
Give your plants plenty of water, fertilize occasionally and weed ruthlessly. The rewards will be plentiful.
Start a Window Herb Garden
One of my favorites.
So much so that I've built a site devoted to growing and cooking herbs at https://herbsgrowingcooking.com/
A window herb garden just looks like it belongs naturally in a country cottage.
There are so many herbs that are easy to grow and that add wonderful scents that spread throughout the home.
You can add them to recipes that both enhance the flavor and provide many health-giving benefits that you just can't get from either pharmaceuticals or store-bought dried herbs.
For example, thyme looks fabulous cascading over the sides of a pot and added to any chicken dish, has a flavor that's hard to beat.
Finally, there's a really simple, cheap and practical thing you can do to emphasize your country kitchen look.
And that's to install plenty of open shelving.
Grandma knew that one of the best ways of making her kitchen efficient was to have everything to hand.
The modern fashion to hide everything away is just that - a fashion.
A local handyman can mount a variety of different types of shelving on your kitchen walls that will both look good and put everything within arm's reach.
Along with hanging coffee mugs and saucepans, open shelving will both achieve your country kitchen look and put everything you need to cook and serve at your fingertips.