I recently spent a weekend at this completely gorgeous cottage in the honey-hued village of Burford. Dating back to medieval times, it was all wonky ceilings and ancient wooden beams, now juxtaposed by contemporary style; my favourite combination. Though the weather was terrible, we had the loveliest couple of days just chilling in the cosy space, with the log-burner lit. We read books, played their selection of retro games — our 5 year old was a total shark at Tiddlywinks — and wandered up the high street for coffee and carrot cake. After our stay, I caught up with owner Katrin for a chat; I’m always fascinated by the story behind the Hideaway (and after style tips for my own home!).
What made you start letting out cottages?
After buying and loving our little South Coast Cottage, which is just moments from the water’s edge in the sailing heaven of Lymington, it just seemed very indulgent not to share it with other likeminded lovely people. So we started letting that out when we weren’t there, and one led to another…
Had you ever worked in hospitality before?
No, but through 25 years of working with demanding multi-national advertisers in the media industry, I gained a very good understanding of how to work with customers expecting high standards as a minimum!
What’s the history of this cottage?
It was originally part of a medieval hall-house. A 17thC modernisation included inserting a fireplace and a chimney stack, and raising the roof. Like many Burford buildings, the hall got subdivided into cottages in the early 19thC.
Did you have a very deliberate vision of the interiors from the start?
Yes, definitely. It’s always important to me to work ‘with a house and its environment’ rather than against it. For me, a house becomes a home when it achieves an effortless, natural connection with its surroundings, being true to its origins, but combined with 21stC mod cons. And for a holiday home it was especially important it be comforting and calming; a refuge from our hectic day-to-day lives.
Decor wise, I took inspiration from all the green around the cottage, reflecting the Cotswolds countryside using an actual colour named ‘Burford Green’ for the kitchen cabinets.
What about the beautiful furnishings?
For unpretentious, very comfy, great-quality soft furnishings I always use sofa.com, both for sofas and beds. The side tables and lamps were mostly sourced through antique markets, and one of my local favourite shops at home, Vintage & Velvet.
And the quirky pieces? Is there a story behind all the old keys?
Oh, I love the keys! I just started collecting them on a whim many years ago, and I buy one whenever I see them in antique shops and flea markets. We live in a ’30s house so that never felt like a natural home for them.
What’s your favourite time of year to stay?
I’m a real sucker for long (well, let’s pretend they are long!) country walks and a great pub lunch, followed by an afternoon snuggled in front of the wood-burner with a red wine. So, for me it’s definitely the late autumn and winter months.
Read my full review and find direct booking details here.