A 15th-century mill cottage in the country

This Somerset estate has evolved from a home into studios, a workspace, a communal family hub and the design inspiration for more than six generations


Designer, author and founder of fashion and homeware store Cabbages & Roses, Christina Strutt was just 24 and a journalist at British Vogue, when Mark – now her husband of 36 years – took her to his grandparents’ estate. The wild, expansive gardens and honey-coloured Cotswold stone cottages soon captured the London girl’s heart and the couple moved into the main house when they married in 1980, bringing up their children, Kate and Edward, there.

The estate has gradually evolved to suit the family’s needs. In the mid-1980s, Christina wanted the kitchen space to be the heart of the home, so they decided to uproot it from its original spot and relocate it to the former sitting room. The old kitchen has become a cosy snug.

The home

Owners: Christina Strutt, designer, author and founder of fashion and homeware store Cabbages & Roses, and her husband Mark, a retired land agent, live here. Their son Edward, a woodsman, forester, and furniture-maker, and his wife Sophie, a garden designer and mosaic artist, live on the estate with their children, Frankie, five, and Bobbie, two, along with Jack Russell Walter Gilbert

Property: A Grade II-listed, 15th-century mill cottage, set in hundreds of acres of rolling Somerset hills

What they did: The main house had been divided in two, so Christina and Mark put it back together, relocating the kitchen. A former pigsty was made into an annexe, where Edward and his family now live

exterior of 15th-century mill cottage in wooded grounds

The old mill cottage (right of photo) is set in hundreds of acres of rolling Somerset hills and woodland. The beautiful summer pavillion was designed and made by Christina’s son Edward, while daughter-in-law Sophie’s tree-house design studio can be seen in the distance hidden under an ancient oak tree 

huge painted wood kitchen table

Christina and Mark decided to move the kitchen into the centre of the home many years ago. With its rustic table it makes a relaxed space for cosy family meals. The chair cushions are from Cabbages & Roses. Walls are painted in Off White and woodwork in Old White, both Farrow & Ball

kitchen table with view of fireplace and framed prints above

The large kitchen table is the setting for many cosy family gatherings in the winter

kitchen fireplace with cosy chair

This cosy nook in the kitchen is the perfect place to settle down with a good book

kitchen dresser with vintage china

Open dresser-style shelves filled with Christina’s pretty china make a decorative feature for this classic country kitchen. Christina buys up bits of china from antiques fairs around the country. Her favourites are Sunbury Antiques Market and The Old Cinema in west London

A display of glass catches the light on the kitchen windowsill

Mix and match vintage glassware makes a pretty display on the kitchen window ledge, where it catches the light

sofa in the snug with bright throw and cushions

The former parlour kitchen was transformed into this snug living room. Vibrant soft furnishings in co-ordinating raspberry pink stripes and florals from Cabbages & Roses create an air of easy comfort, while piles of antique books and interior design volumes, and ancient paintings and prints ensure that there’s always something interesting to look at in this cosy winter den

comfy window seat in snug

The deep window recess in the living room is the perfect place for a window seat, with pretty cushion fabrics all from Cabbages & Roses

fireplace detail in the snug packed with quirky antique finds

The fireplace in the snug is made of reclaimed carved French pine and is packed with quirky flea market finds. Framed paintings and prints complete the look

bedroom with gallery prints above bedhead

In the master bedroom, antique paintings handed down through the family create a relaxed contrast with the fresh floral and checked linens from Cabbages & Roses 

master bedroom with steps to dressing room

A gothic arch in the master bedroom leads to a dressing room. The curtains are in the company’s Constance Raspberry print

converted loft bedroom

Edward and Mark converted the loft above the workshop several years ago turning this bright space, with its views over the garden and woodland, into a comfortable en-suite bedroom. For similar armchairs, try The French Bedroom Company

loft bedroom with floral bedlinen

At the other end of the converted loft is an ensuite bathroom

guest room with yellow walls

For the spare room, Christina has chosen fabrics from her range in soft French blue. Walls are in Farrow & Ball’s Babouche

The pavilion

More recently their son Edward built the pavilion where the families spend summer evenings sharing food and taking in the sounds of the countryside. The annexe, where he lives with wife Sophie and their children, Frankie and Bobbie, was originally a pigsty but was renovated by Mark in the mid-1990s.

Just as Mark and Christina created new spaces for their family in the 1980s and ’90s, Edward has made his mark, crafting bunk-beds, shelves and decks.

garden pagoda set for tea

Surrounded by the wild gardens that inspired so many of Christina’s designs for Cabbages & Roses, the pavilion is the family’s summer living space. The tablecloth is Hatley Pink, one of the company’s trademark faded floral prints, complemented with blousy posies of garden flowers. The chairs and candlesticks are family antiques

garden chairs and parasol on decking with a view of the garden

This idyllic sitting area is on raised decking and gives a stunning view of the estate

converted pig sty with handcrafted table

Edward made the table and decking outside the family’s home, a former pigsty. Find more details of Edward’s craft

swimming pool and garden swing in mill cottage garden

Sheltered by trees and surrounded by lush cottage garden planting, a swimming pool and swing seat add extra luxury to the garden

Christina’s interiors influences

Christina’s fashion and homeware brand Cabbages & Roses is eccentric, classical English and internationally respected, but nowhere expresses her style more clearly than her own home. Scouring antiques fairs and junk shops is one of her real pleasures, and there is a magpie nature to her collections both inside and outside.

Living Life Beautifully is Christina’s latest interiors book, and her home and extended family’s lifestyle absolutely reflect this vision. ‘I have always believed that homes need to be filled with more than just lovely things. To be really beautiful, they must be lived in, with the things complementing the human stories that run through them.’

Words: Hannah Newton

Photography & Styling: Solesbury & Worthy