Alison started her search for a rural property project in Norfolk. ‘The idea was to have a country bolthole, within easy reach of the coast,’ she adds. ‘Somewhere to escape to with my labrador Flora, and that I could eventually turn into a holiday let.’
Property prices were on the rise, though, and Norfolk seaside homes were edging beyond Alison’s budget. A friend suggested she consider the largely undiscovered Lincolnshire coastline, around Anderby Creek, so she headed north.
Hill Farm Cottage, not far from Louth in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds, was the result: a two-bedroom, early-18th-century thatched house, with a pretty garden surrounded by gently undulating countryside, originally built as a farm tenant’s dwelling. The property had belonged to an antiques dealer and his wife, and when Alison viewed it, it was difficult to see round the heaps of antique furniture crammed into the tiny rooms.
Alison is currently renovating a Victorian house in Grantham, and comes up to Hill Farm Cottage at weekends ‘to enjoy a bit of luxury after all the dust on my building site during the week,’ she says. Alison lets the cottage for weekends and holidays.
A shepherd's hut in the garden serves as the perfect summerhouse
The unusual ‘witch’s hat’ fireplace in the dining room is a real talking point with dinner guests. The table, from Silver Apple Furniture, is painted in Paris Grey by Annie Sloan to match the dining chairs, covered in a vintage chintz fabric by Jean Monro