Known as much for its palatial estates and neoclassical manors as it is for its humble cottage hideaways, the ever-charming English countryside is practically synonymous with rest and relaxation.
For many of us though, travelling to the far reaches of the globe – over even beyond the boundaries our own neighbourhoods – isn’t in the foreseeable future. In the absence of being able to retreat to the old world for a far flung piece of quiet comfort, many homeowners are looking for ways to up the serenity of their own homes, baches or both. For some, that can mean building a look that’s infused with the casual chic appeal inherent in an English country cottage.
Inspired by country hotels in the Cotswolds, this soothingly laidback bedroom has been layered with soft, feminine details brought to life by an unexpected colour combination. The key to its success lies in its abundance of visual texture and repetition of shapes. Both these have been brought about through a plenitude of vertical lines.
While wallpaper is commonplace in English homes, both urban and rural, you can try their hand at a hand-painted wall design instead. We started with Resene Mystic as our main wall colour before adding narrow vertical stripes in Resene Relax two thirds of the way up the wall. By not carrying the lines all the way to the ceiling, the design creates a grounding effect and keeps the stripes from overwhelming. The best part about this technique is that perfection is not required – or even desired! The charm comes from the gentle wobbles that can only be created by hand. You may even find the process of painting the effect to be meditative, as we did.
This feature wall has been offset by a return wall clad in tongue-and-groove panelling, which has been installed vertically so as to subtly echo the hand-painted lines on the back wall. The panelling is painted in Resene Surf Crest, a pale sea foam green, cool and milky in tone and trimmed in Resene Astronaut, a deep navy. This high-contrast hue has been carried throughout the space on the lamp base and small vases to create continuity while a few hand-painted stripes and scallops on the bedside lamp in Resene Zephyr and the layering of striped bed-linens and cushions builds just the right level of cohesion for the ‘theme’ to carry through.
To create that ‘lived-in’ feel that’s steeped right into an older cottage, the floor has a mottled paint effect. This was created by first painting on two basecoats in Resene Walk-on flooring paint tinted to Resene Mystic before sponging on Resene FX Paint Effects medium tinted to Resene Dusted Grey, blending it in with a soft dry rag as we went.
Another design detail that’s common in the English countryside is combining mismatched furniture to create a unique bedroom set, whether it be through collecting antiques or hanging on to heirlooms that have stood the test of time. Painting your set of furniture in matching or coordinating colours using Karen Walker Chalk Colour paint from Resene ColorShops is a clever idea to play up that same ‘shabby chic’ charm without things looking too ‘hodge podge’ . Plus, it’ll give your pieces a luxurious matte finish. For most surfaces, simply wipe them down and start painting – no priming, sanding or sealing needed. Depending on the look you want to create, apply 1-2 coats of Karen Walker Chalk Colour and finish with Karen Walker Soft Wax or Vintage Wax if you wish. The formula can also be tinted to a range of Resene colours off white, light and ultra deep. This headboard is painted in Resene Relax with uprights in Resene Quarter Iron and the bedside table in Resene Dusted Grey.
As a finishing touch, a few minor details in a gingery ochre have been added, such as the round velvet cushion and the picture frame. Try painting a few small accessories in Resene Dark Buff for a similar look.
Accessories — Bedspread from H&M Home, navy and white stripe pillowcase from Thread, green patterned cushion and round rust-coloured cushion from Collect Living, white cotton euro pillowcases, navy cushion and blue throw on chair from Places & Graces, artwork by Bioattic from endemicworld, David Bust from Ornament, green bowl and small wooden stool from Tony Sly, dice from French Country Collections.
Project by Kate Alexander. Images by Bryce Carleton. 2021
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