In an all-new home tour series, we will be taking a peek inside the real homes of those who perfectly champion our modern country aesthetic and love rustic, country-inspired interiors just as much as we do! So, in our very first visit for The Home Tour Series, we ventured to the beautiful rural outskirts of Northampton to visit Maria and her dog, Poppy. A quaint country home rather fittingly named The Thatch, Maria, Poppy and fiancé Mike live in a quiet quintessential English village with rows of thatched cottages, enviable views of rolling fields and a country pub just a few doors down – it was the perfect start to our Home Tour Series…
Tell us about your home – how long have you lived there and what was it that really sold it to you? Did you both know that you wanted an older, more characterful property?
We have lived in the cottage for just over a year now, it’s gone super fast! We had looked at quite a few properties prior to buying this one and knew it was the one for us as soon as we saw it. I’m a romantic at heart so the idea of a cosy thatched cottage with a roaring fire and roses growing in the garden – I couldn’t say no!
How long did it take to renovate and redecorate? What were some of the biggest changes you made? Did anything come out better than you’d first hoped? Equally, is there anything you wished you’d have done, but didn’t?
We had to do quite a lot more than we first thought (always the way isn’t it). We bought the cottage in January and didn’t move in until the April so we could blitz as many things as we could. We redecorated every room in the cottage, we went for cool neutral colours by Farrow and Ball to try and get a modern, fresh country look. We always did large tester patches in each room before deciding on colours as they can look totally different from room to room dependent on light and other factors.
We re-styled every room, had new carpets throughout, a new front door and re-painted the exterior. We freshened up the kitchen, had custom-made blinds, installed the log burner and lined the chimney, installed a new bathroom, a new boiler and heating system – the list goes on!! The log burner was one of our biggest purchases but was totally worth it, especially as this year the cold weather has felt never-ending!
Tell us about your inspiration when it comes to interiors – how did you decide on a style? Did Mike want a say in the decision-making or did he hand the reins over to you?
The bathroom was Mike’s domain, for which I think he did a really great job. He chose the tiles for the shower and floor and designed the layout. I’ve always veered towards a modern country style and have drawn inspiration from magazines such as Country Living and Country Homes & Interiors over the years. Instagram is such a great platform for inspiration, I have loved watching other home renovation projects develop and grow along with ours.
What’s your favourite room and where do you all spend most of your time? Do you have a favourite spot?
My favourite room is the living room, especially on a chilly evening snuggled up by the fire. Poppy has her favourite spot too, she loves jumping up onto the window seat by the front door and having a snooze (there’s a radiator at the back so she loves the warmth!)
Let’s talk Instagram! Your account has grown tremendously over the last year – what do you find are your most popular posts? Who are some of your favourite accounts that you follow for interiors inspiration?
I’m so surprised my account (@petal_and_primose) has taken off as much as it has! I was a bit nervous setting it up as it can feel quite daunting, but everyone is so supportive and lovely. Posts of either our fireplace or bathroom seem to go down quite well.
It’s so hard to choose my favourites as I love so many (I followed loads of home accounts before setting up my own). Charlotte @thehomethatmademe is fab, Rebecca @rvk_loves is always bang on trend, and Carrie @carrie_thecottage has a stunning home. Another couple I love to follow are @emmyhomeinteriors and @easthorpe_cottage.
Tell us about some of your favourite stores for buying furniture, fabric and homely touches – are there any that you’ve discovered through Instagram?
People message me quite a lot to ask where I buy my cushions from, they are a mixture of different ones I have built up over the last few years. I’m partial to a ‘Susie Watson’ cushion and love anything with a ticking stripe! I’m obsessed with The White Company and love how calming and simple their style is. I’ve bought from a variety of shops including Next, Laura Ashley, Dunelm, Rowan and Wrenn, Homesense and The Cotswold Co, of course! Our grey check footstool was through an Instagram company and such good value, @serrinainteriors.
Is there anything that you’d still like to change in your home, or anything that you’d like to add?
We’re currently saving up to have the roof re-done over the next few years which is a HUGE job, and as we’re getting married next year too we’re more focused on wedding planning at the moment. For now, we are quite content with how things are at the cottage, however I’m sure there will be things to come that we want to change or add.
I think we both fell a bit in love with Poppy when we visited – does she have a favourite corner that she likes to snuggle up in?
She loves her spot on the window seat or cosying up in her bed when the fire’s lit.
Finally, do you have any tips for creating a cosy and welcoming home?
Mix together neutral stripes, checks and florals to get a country feel, but go for cool whites and soft greys to keep it looking fresh and modern. At the moment I’m loving faux eucalyptus and greenery to help bring the outside into your home. I think it’s really important to invest in a few key pieces for each room, rather than buying lots of little knick knacks that will look cluttered and you will soon fall out of love with.
A big thank you to Maria (& Poppy!) for welcoming us so warmly into their home. If you love this country home just as much as we do, you can follow Maria for lots of interiors inspiration over at @petal_and_primose!