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