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Emilie's 17th century Wiltshire cottage


Emilie's 17th century Wiltshire cottage

Like so many of us, Emilie had long dreamed of moving to a period property in the countryside. Last year, she and her husband Sam purchased their new home – a thatched 17th century cottage in a quaint Wiltshire village, left London, and haven’t looked back! Today, Emilie shares the story of their renovation journey, along with some inspiring 'before and after' pictures showing the transformation of their kitchen and bathroom. Put the kettle on, find a cosy nook, and enjoy...

Emilie and Sam

Emilie and Sam in their new home, at the start of their renovation journey.

Hi Emilie, thanks so much for talking with us today. Tell us a little about your home.

Much to my husband’s dismay, it was always my dream to find an old cottage to renovate and I feel so blessed to have ended up with ours! I have always been drawn to untouched properties, with their original features and authentic charm. When we first viewed our cottage, the exterior was completely overrun with the most divine array of hollyhocks, so I’m pretty sure I had fallen in love with it before even entering the door! The cottage was filled with ancient beams, tiny original lead windows and a magnificent inglenook fireplace.

We moved in last summer, having done the majority of the major renovation works in the six months prior. I would love to say the process is now finished, but as anyone who has renovated a house will know, it’s a never ending journey.

Do you know much about the history of the cottage?

Thankfully, most of the residents on our lane have been there for quite some time, so we know lots about the history of our cottage. It was built in the late 1600’s making it one of the oldest properties in our village. The lane on which it was built is now a small, largely pedestrianised street, however we know that back in the 1600’s it was the main road through the village.

The cottage is believed to have originally been built as an estate cottage. It was once part of the house next door, and we actually uncovered a blocked up doorway into our neighbours house when we took the modern plaster off the living room wall!) Post-war it was an electrical shop for a while!

Emilie kitchen before 1
Emilie bathroom before 1

Before: The kitchen and bathroom prior to renovation

Tell us about the process of renovating the kitchen – it is so fresh and pretty in there now!

I wish I could say that I had detailed mood boards in place before starting each room, but in reality, the colour palettes seemed to evolve naturally throughout the decoration process.

I would describe my aesthetic as classic country cottage injected with colour, stripes and frills – and a touch of French influence. I spent a lot of my childhood in France, and my mother works in the world of antiques and still spends a lot of time there. She allows me to send her lists of items to keep an eye out for and very kindly sources vintage treasures for the cottage!

The previous owner of the house was a wonderful carpenter, so we were adamant that we would save some of the gorgeous oak kitchen units that they had so beautifully made.

The overall look seemed to evolve step by step. As the kitchen is such a small space, we began by removing all of the cupboards above counter level, replacing them with open shelving which helped to make the room feel more spacious. We had originally planned an all-neutral scheme, however, during the renovation process, we learnt that being bold with colour could be very rewarding. And where better to have fun and play around with colour than in our quirky first home?

We chose to paint the kitchen units in Edward Bulmer’s Granite Green, which cut through the warm pink on the living room walls. We then opted for a neutral paint colour, Everhot, and square tiles in Antique White from the Contemporary Classics collection, which reflect the light and allow the green units to really shine.

Gorgeous! Tell us about the lovely new bathroom – how did that come together?

The plan for the bathroom was to install a shower above the bath, which gave me a wonderful excuse to go hunting for tiles!

The ceilings in that room are not very high, so I decided to look for some skinny brick metro tiles that I could arrange vertically, to make the room feel taller. I was torn between pink toned Pewsey Vale and soft blue Barbury Castle, both from the Kennet collection. In true ‘me’ fashion, I ended up going with the pink! I am often drawn to pinks, especially in this cottage as the colour really helps to soften the dark beams. The tiles have a rustic finish with a fabulous crackle glaze which gives a unique end result with lots of visual interest.

Once we had chosen the tiles, the room evolved around them. Again, we tried to save (and re-vamp) everything we could, including the built-in shelving, the sink unit, the panelling and the wooden floor.

How did you come across Marlborough Tiles? Why did you choose them for this project?

I first came across Marlborough Tiles on Instagram and was pleased to learn how local they were to us, with the factory being just 5 minutes away from our cottage. Not only do I love their classic, artisan designs but I also love the handmade qualities of the tiles, their organic edges and rustic finish. It makes a finished space so much more interesting to look at!

I made a few trips to the showroom during the renovation and I was extremely comforted by the expert knowledge that was shared with me, from colour matching tips, to advice on grout colours.

What were the greatest challenges of the project?

Inexperience! Sam and I went into this project without any experience of renovations or interior design. By making so many mistakes along the way, we have learnt so much that I will hopefully take with me to future projects (if I can persuade Sam to do another one!)

Having a six month window to complete the bulk of the renovation works also created challenges as it forced us to rush into making decisions like paint colours for instance. Next time, I would ideally like to take more time in the planning and scheming stages.

Which other artisans did you work with on this project?

We sourced the shower and bathroom taps from Burlington, and the bath from Bette. In the kitchen we used paint by Edward Bulmer and sockets and switches by Corston Architectural Detail. The shelving came from Beaufort and Dunham and our gorgeous handles and rails were from Devol. The lights came from Pooky and the cooker is Everhot.


A huge thank you to Emilie for sharing your project with us! Be sure to follow along with Emilie's renovation journey on her Instagram account, @emilie_in_wiltshire.

We love nothing more than seeing your completed interior design projects. If you would like to see your home featured here, simply tag @MarlboroughTiles in your project photographs on Instagram.


As featured in…

House & Garden
The Telegraph
Homes & Gardens
English Home
Elle Decor
Country Homes
Period Living
Country Life
Country and Town House
Architectural Digest
Marlborough Made