English Cottage Home Tour French Charm

We’re heading to the English countryside to visit one charm-filled English cottage home!

One of my readers, Melanie Arnst, graciously invited us to visit her abode today.

Infused with French inspiration, this home nestled in the English countryside radiates a sense of serene elegance and artistic sensibility.

Her home is a beautiful example of how you can add some French flair to your interiors, no matter where you live. The key is to embrace your sense of style, let your creativity flow, and pay attention to the little details!

An English Cottage Home Tour

Outdoor seating area surrounded with plants and with a wicker seating set

Melanie was involved in most of the renovation process and with her DIY projects, she completely transformed an older  house into a beautiful home. This French-inspired home features an architectural structure of exposed wood beams and a light color scheme woven throughout every room, showcasing Melanie’s love of all things French with a rustic edge. Unfortunately I do not have any before photos and the home is now for sale.

Know The Homeowner – Melanie Arnst: 

Melanie took the time to share a little about herself, her home and how she updated her stunning home.
She doesn’t have social media or a blog (although that may change in the future!) which makes me even more thankful that she was open to sharing her enchanting home with us!

french inspired english cottage featuring garden and white house

“I am Canadian but have been living in the USA, UK, NZ and Canada for many years, always working as an Occupational Therapist. While this is a meaningful profession and there is always work, it doesn’t fulfill my artistic side or my love of all things French.We moved back to the UK 5 years ago with the plan of getting our British citizenship and then being able to move to France. Then Brexit, need I say more? My husband has been lucky enough to recently get a job with Ubisoft in Paris!!!  I can now look at following my dream of buying/selling/painting old French furniture and having my own shop and maybe a blog in time.”

Finding The Perfect Place

Having rented a home near London in the past, Melanie knew she wanted to live near the countryside, closer to France when it came time to find her new home.

features a charming house in Kent

“We chose this area in Kent as it had good transport links to London, it is walking distance to shops in the village and also quick access to all the lovely public footpaths to go for runs with our two dogs.We wanted the architectural detail and history you can’t find in Canada, but something that wasn’t already renovated so we could put our own updates in and our 550 year old Grade II listed property definitely fit the bill with beams and large inglenook fireplace.”

English Cottage Home – The Dreamy Garden:

Purple flowers Bougainvillea on top of Fence with a sign that reads “Kent Cottage”

The yard was a huge selling point, the potential to turn into a little idyllic English cottage home garden was clear. Here Melanie shows us her garden after the renovation process.

Purple flowers in garden in Kent featured in Melanie Arnst home tour

“We also fell for the large garden (yard) out back with mature plants/large evergreen hedges, we could really picture a typical English cottage garden. There were so many additional outbuildings that were a bonus on top of the garage which I use to renovate furniture.”

french provincial outdoor table and chairs set with brick home in background

Renovations can be tough, but especially when dealing with an older building. Lucky Melanie knew how to go about it! She researched the best way to update the building correctly, including what type of paint was best to use.

staircase french country staircase in a rustic wooden style

“After some research, I started with updating the paint throughout to lighten the place up with Farrow and Ball Pointing with trim in Wevet. Farrow and Ball emulsion paint is surprisingly as breathable as lime wash and you can wash it. We also reorganized how the rooms in the house were used.”

English cottage home living room with a window looking at the garden, featuring light colored couch and french inspired decor.

Isn’t this little corner just lovely? I find many rooms of this home just beautiful, but this particular one stole my heart. It just makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book!

Home Tour – Kitchen Renovation

The sitting room right across the kitchen was switched to the dining area, while the previous dining section at the front of the house became the new living room.
The renovation also included turning the upstairs living room into the master bedroom.

English cottage home kitchen with exposed wood beams and white walls

“In the kitchen I started with removing some doors and repainting all the oak cabinets Farrow and Ball White Tie. We scraped and sanded the wooden counter tops and replaced the modern red lights with 3 chandeliers.”

Home Tour – French Inspired Bathroom Makeover

For the bathroom renovation, Melanie put on her DIY hat and updated the look before the official renovation began by stenciling the cracked floor tiles, adding wallpaper and a few coats of paint. Later, she had the entire renovation done.

English cottage home bathroom featuring cast iron pedestal bathtub

“I love the bathrooms now, especially the under floor heating in the winter with marble tiles, simple white subway tiles and claw foot tub down with shower overhead and new shower upstairs. We were thankfully able to update the old macerator toilet and odd electric shower set up.”

Home Tour: Romantic French Country Bedrooms 

The bedrooms strike the perfect balance of cozy, serene and stylish. With exposed wood beams all along the house, the white walls and light colored furniture create a beautiful contrast.  But getting this gorgeous result was not an easy task! As Melanie explains here, it took a lot of time, research and a lot of patience!

bedroom of English cottage home with large white bed and exposed wooden beams

“With two dogs and lots of hair, I decided to pull up the carpet in the two rooms on the second floor (first in the UK) to expose the original hardwood floors. I painted the master bedroom Farrow and Ball Pavilion Blue, the second room required a lot more work as someone had painted the lovely old beams with brown paint. First I had to research how to carefully remove it. Then I lime washed them white, along with the rest of the room after removing the owl wallpaper.”

single bedroom in cottage style home

On Her Favorite Room:

“I can’t really pick a favorite room. I love so many things, we did so many projects and all the work we put into it while here, that in many ways I don’t want to leave this house but I also look forward to updating another home in France.”

shabby chic bedroom inspired featured in french cottage style home tour

The way Melanie used fabrics in her decorating scheme is gorgeous— it adds texture and personality to the space without being overpowering or busy.

English cottage home bedroom with beams

Home Tour – The Outdoors:

The outside was also renovated. The couple removed the gray brick imitation panels in the outdoor area and brought it back to life with a few DIY projects.

garden with walking path

“I used lime render (plaster) to cover the outside and then lime washed it with a soft cream. I also warmed up the color of the cement floor with a DIY technique that softens the space and now it’s a lovely covered/sheltered area where we like to sit and have a drink.”

garden with walking path

In addition, Melanie shared one of her husband’s favorite projects that she had completed. The renovation of her garage and the outdoor sitting area adjacent to it.

“We replaced the broken garage door with a new white one and then I set out to make the outside of the garage fit in more with the rest of the property.”

Melanie Lovely Garden Rooms

“We have 6 garden “rooms” outside that we can relax in, depending on the time of day and weather. My favorite garden room my husband and I did together is where the previous owners had their chicken and ducks. It was just mud and weeds with a large tree that had been allowed to grow up at the base of the garage.”

“Brad and I dug out tons of clay to lay down self binding gravel. We scraped the non breathable paint from the lime render and put on a lime slurry to match the garage. Next we replaced the cement pavers with local stones in front of the other two workshops. We also painted the fence to make the old wisteria vine really show up. Now we have a nice place to sit in the evenings with a fire pit!”

“We also laid stones around the crabapple tree to make a cosy sitting area by the neighbors old barn. Additionally, I planted hundreds of pounds of perennials, so we have flowers through the seasons and evergreens all winter.”

What a beautiful home! Melanie’s English cottage home country style home is the perfect example of how to blend your own personal style with traditional French Country design.

The interior of this French-inspired country home is a beautiful example of French Country style. The color palette is warm and inviting. The smart renovation decisions kept the integrity of the original building give it a one-of-a-kind look. It makes you feel instantly welcome!

Did you enjoy this home tour? Comment below and don’t forget to read some of my previous home tours!

Romantic Vintage Style Lake House Tour

A Dream Home Tour – Fulfilling A Childhood Fantasy!

Beautiful French Country House Tour (In France)

English cottage home tour with French charm

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28 Comments

  1. Lori Anderson says:

    So beautiful, thank you for sharing this lovely home! I love the simple charm and beautiful furniture pieces!

    1. It sure is charming Lori…I couldn’t agree more!

  2. This is one of my all time favorite home visits. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I’m so happy to hear this Mary. We do try and feature a variety of styles for our readers to enjoy!

  3. Would have been fun to see a photo of that Owl wallpaper that they removed. I bet that was something to see.
    The furniture she added! So very French and looks amazing. I wonder what kind of tree that is in the backyard? The trunk itself is fascinating.
    The textures with the beams really make the house. Stripping off brown paint was a chore I’d rather never do especially on a ceiling beam. Beautiful home!

  4. This home is so inviting,thank you to both of you for sharing j

    1. Thanks Jo for stopping by for this home tour!

  5. Really lovely cottage renovation. The differences between English, French and Italian cottages are striking…each have their own distinct ‘national’ personality. I have my own favorite, but every one is lovely in its own right.

    Thanks so much for sharing it! (Especially the kitchen, which I’m usually not a fan of in British design. This one is terrific!)

    1. Definitely a unique home Tristan…thanks for stopping by, as always! xo

  6. Barbara C says:

    I enjoyed this very much–thank you.

  7. Hi Lori, Thank you so much for your kind words:) The tree in front of the fence is a very old wisteria which runs along the garage giving the beautiful purple flowers in the spring and lush green the remainder of the summer:) We love the trunk too which is why I repainted the fence from green to cream to help it pop out.

    1. Thanks for sharing with us Melanie…well done!

  8. Ann Drayton says:

    Beautiful cottage I live in the UK and know how difficult it is to renovate a Grade 2 listed building. Everything you touch you have to get permission for. Well done Melanie.

    1. That’s interesting Ann and in the states it really depends on the area one lives in. In my county, it’s extremely difficult to renovate with everything needing a permit and those take forever to obtain!

    1. Glad you stopped by Annie!

  9. Hi Ann, Thank you so much. It does seem to be portrayed that way with listed buildings, but there is a lot you can do with out consent as long as it is like for like which was all we did. The previous owners went through the process and it was quite easy, I think it depends on what you are wanting to do. They are only wanting to ensure that the historic integrity and look of the home remains so larger renovations need permission. That process seems very similar to what Janet mentioned is required with any building permit. If we weren’t moving to France, we would have loved to stay in this old home and likely updated the kitchen.

  10. Beautiful cottage I love the wisteria.

    1. I love the wisteria too DaleAnn!

  11. Valeri Johnson says:

    I love these home tours. I’m sure it’s a lot of work for you and I appreciate it. Thank you.

    1. Valeri…I truly appreciate that and it is indeed a lot of work putting these tours together! Enjoy your week ahead

  12. Great tour I love the wisteria too I have tons it grows wild where I live.

    1. Oh how lucky Mikki….wisteria is so beautiful!

  13. Victoria Rose French says:

    I have just read your blog about the English Cottage home tour with French Charm and so enjoyed it. I love the way the curvy French furniture has been used alongside gorgeous additions of the interesting decor pieces and fabrics. The perfect way that the different centuries have blended to make your home unique.
    I love it.
    Victoria 🦋

    1. Hi Victoria,
      I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post and reminded me of it again! A charming home indeed and perhaps I’ll reshare it with my readers soon.

    2. Merci beaucoup Victoria! I really love old French furniture also, along with the architecture hence why we have moved to France. Hopefully, I can share more French decor when I have my blog up and running along with renovations of a new home here. Thanks again Janet for posting. Melanie

  14. This is a beautiful home. Especially loved all the plants in her English garden. The wisteria was gorgeous!