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Crafted: a country-style family cottage

20 October 2016

Step into the home of potter Rebecca and illustrator Andrew, and their love of textures, honest materials and traditional workmanship will jump out at you. ‘Craft is important to us because it’s what we do,’ Rebecca says. ‘We renovated this cottage ourselves, from scratch, so some things are a little wonky. But we learn as we go and the kids grow up with the confidence to use their hands. There’s beauty in imperfection – it gives home a welcoming, well-loved feel.’ She invites us inside…

Rebecca’s country kitchen
A portrait of Rebecca, Andrew, Wren and Fred

Rebecca’s home truths

SHARE RESPONSIBILITIES… Andrew and I share the parenting equally, working part-time on our illustration and pottery from home around each other’s deadlines. It’s a juggle but it means Wren (five) and Fred (three) get to be with both of us – they love being involved in activities like cooking and gardening. And we can both follow our dreams.

A SMALL HOME SAVES TIME… There’s less to clean! We’re always de-cluttering because we don’t want to outgrow our home. Why move to a bigger house just so you can keep more stuff that you then have to look after?

Make it easy for kids to help in the kitchen

GET KIDS COOKING

‘Fred and Wren insist on helping out with cooking and we love involving them,’ says Rebecca. ‘It’s fun, plus they develop skills and learn about food. Their favourite thing is breaking the eggs for pancakes!’ 

Keep food in glass jars

EAT WHAT YOU SEE

Cut down on shopping trips and food waste by keeping essentials on display, so you know exactly what you have. ‘I like the traditional look of glass jars and they save you from searching in cupboards,’ adds Rebecca.

Hide appliances with fabric

ADD A KITCHEN TEXTILE UPDATE

Try hiding appliances with a fabric curtain – they’re easy to update when you fancy a change of pattern or colour. ‘I get my love of fabrics from my mum,’ says Rebecca. ‘They add a nice texture to a home.’ 

Rebecca’s family sharing a meal at the kitchen table

‘Eating together is important to us, we do it every day. It’s a nice way to catch up and it opens the kids up to new food’

Rebecca, potter, UK

Mix old favourites with new items

Invest in lasting design

‘We think carefully before bringing new furniture into our home. We want to make sure it suits our space and needs and will last for a long time, because we don’t like buying for the sake of it. Our vintage IKEA sofa is a favourite, it’s mellowed really nicely over the years.’

Display wild flowers for a country look
Andrew and Fred enjoy crafts together
Mix colourful with neutral

‘Our home is a mix of handmade and vintage furniture and treasures we’ve found along the way’

Rebecca

Be creative with your walls

‘The feature wall in the hallway is made from one of Andrew’s favourite books – he loved the illustrations but never looked at them. Now we can enjoy them every day. We’d like the kids to grow up with the confidence to use their hands. Small ideas, like the chalkboard wall runner, make it easy for them.’

Mix different bedlinen to make the room feel inviting

Create a cosy rustic-style bedroom

‘Our bedroom is mainly a space for sleep, so we try to keep it simple and uncluttered. I love bed linen and like to mix different sets – it makes the room feel friendly and inviting. I’m also really pleased with my new HURDAL bedside cabinet because now most of my books, papers and magazines are out of view, which is more calming.’ 

Use hooks to display children’s favourite clothes

Make it easy for kids to share a room

‘Wren and Fred used to have separate bedrooms, but it didn’t make sense because Wren was in a tiny room and Fred was on his own in here. When it was time for Wren to move in, I added ideas that she liked from her own room – the hooks for her clothes and the display shelf – so that it felt like less of a big change for her.’

Rebecca’s work studio

Set up a simple work studio

‘When I started pottery classes seven years ago, I remember thinking, “I’ll do this forever.” I wasn’t good, but I was determined. My potter’s studio is all about function – apart from my potter’s wheel, all I need is a comfortable stool, good lighting, shelves and storage for my tools. It’s a space to shut the door on any distractions and just focus on making.’

Rebecca at her potter’s wheel

‘For us, home is where everything happens. Eating, working, relaxing – somehow we fit it all in’

Rebecca

A floorplan of Rebecca and Andrew’s home

Cottage restoration

‘This cottage was a wreck when we bought it eight years ago, but we were keen to have a go at renovating it ourselves. Downstairs, we turned the five rooms into two to create a more open-plan space for spending time together. A few years ago, Andrew also built an illustration studio in the garden when I started using the original one to do pottery.’

Made by

Photography: Debi Treloar
Styling: Abigail Edwards

Follow Rebecca at moderncraftworkshop.com
Artwork above sofa andrewwightman.com
Artwork next to vase nicoleheidaripour.com
Artwork on hallway papered wall Jan Wightman