A pretty Victorian cottage

Using floral prints and a pastel palette, June Willison and Barry Monk have turned an unloved Victorian cottage conversion into a charming country-style home

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When June Willison, her partner Barry and their two children moved into their new cottage in Kent, the property had been converted from three tiny cottages, but was in good shape structurally. However, the house lacked character.

Project notes

Owners: June Willison, who runs vintage and antique furniture business, Cloudberry Home, and Barry Monk, a marketing consultant, live here with daughter Louisa, 18, and tabby cat Summer.

Property: A three-bedroom semi-detached Victorian house converted, together with its neighbour, from three cottages in the 1980s.

Location: Crouch, near Sevenoaks in Kent.

Essential repairs: The property was in reasonable condition, so work was undertaken to add character and to make the space work better for a family.

Layout: The couple replanned the ground floor space to improve the flow and add storage and a new bathroom upstairs.

The kitchen was the biggest part of the renovation. ‘It was challenging with builders, plumbers and electricians all vying for space.’ explains June. ‘It is now our most used space – homework, sewing, socialising and cooking all happen here – and it’s definitely my favourite room.’

At first it was a fairly characterless cottage and it was important for June to put her personal stamp on it. Previous owners had removed fireplaces and other period features, but the couple restored them sympathetically, asking a local builder to leave a rough, uneven finish to recreate some rustic charm.

traditional cottage planting adds charm to country home


Traditional cottage planting creates a bright, welcoming entrance to the couple’s home 

traditional country style cottage kitchen


The country- style kitchen features cabinets in Farrow & Ball’s Shaded White, oak worktops and a freestanding unit from local antiques shop Mark Maynard, with blinds made up in Cath Kidston fabric 

country style hallway in a victorian cottage


The hall was the living room of one of the original cottages, and is spacious enough to double up as a study. Matching lamps on top of the French console table are from Biggie Best, with a mirror from Nutley Antiques 

country style dining room with traditional cottage furniture


The chairs around the Victorian wind-out table are junk shop finds, which June has painted in Farrow & Ball’s Off White. The seats are covered in pretty fabric offcuts 

traditional country cottage sofa


Sofas from Marks & Spencer are accessorised with cushions in fabrics bought from Ardingly Antiques Fair and Vanessa Arbuthnott. Eclectic bird and landscape prints displayed in painted frames tie in with the colour scheme 

vintage style livingroom in a traditional cottage


Summer the cat sits on an Edwardian chair reupholstered in soft red ticking, which provided the inspiration for the room scheme. The wood-burning stove creates a focal point, with the wooden mantel above and alcove shelf filled with vintage accessories from June’s antiques business 

traditional cottage master bedroom


The décor in the master bedroom has been kept simple so as not to detract from the views. Bedside tables from Mark Maynard are painted in Shaded White, the bespoke wardrobes in Pointing, while the walls are in Wimbourne White, all by Farrow & Ball. The plain roller blind is from John Lewis and the French linen panels are from Biggie Best 

country cottage summerhouse


Originally a playhouse for their youngest daughter Louisa, the summerhouse is now home to June’s business, and is filled with antique and car boot sale finds. June has adorned the walls with vintage seed packets and bunting 

traditionall grey cottage bathroom


June chose a calming palette for the bathroom, adding tongue-and-groove panelling in Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue; the Lloyd Loom chair was an Ebay find. The Cow Parsley roller blind is from John Lewis and the towel ladder from Cloudberry Home. Hooks from Homesense add character, and complete the fresh, nautical theme 

girls bedroom in a traditional cottage


Louisa’s room is every young girl’s dream, with walls in Duck Egg White from Laura Ashley, and a blind and bedspread by Cath Kidston. The wire hooks are from Mark Maynard