too cool for school
Liz and Corentin Lamour have diversified their farm in Brittany, northwest France, by transforming some of the cottages and barns on site into unique holiday accommodation for people who want to escape to the country for a while. Incredibly, the couple are their own architects and designers, as well as builders and decorators, and over the years I’ve had the pleasure of styling and writing about many of their projects for editorial features, one of which can be seen in the gorgeous bookazine, Modern Rustic, issue 09, out now. But this inspiring little cottage, la Maison de Jeanne, was the first that I worked on, with the help of the fantastic photographer Brent Darby…
As Liz was previously a teacher before the third of their four children arrived, she decided to give this cottage some old school style with colours and decorative pieces inspired by and salvaged from old school rooms
Using a spiral staircase instead of a standard flight meant they had enough space in the original ground floor for the grey and white utilitarian shower room and a dormitory style twin bedroom so that the upstairs could be used purely as a master bedroom. The main living area, which would include an open plan kitchen/diner would exist in a new addition with a high vaulted ceiling.
‘The extension’s design is an amalgamation of both Corentin’s and my ideas,’ says Liz. ‘I wanted to create something that would remind me of my teaching days, while Corentin was imagining an old train station waiting room.’
Corentin built a wide door with extra windows to let more light in
The vaulted ceiling lends the space more light and a feeling of openness in a room that has three functions. Corentin wood clad the ceiling, and used underfloor heating beneath wooden boards. ‘Wood insulates too well so the heating is not that necessary here,’ admits Liz
Over the main work area in the kitchen, Liz has hung twigs festooned with rusted decorations and tags with special words, such as ‘Affection’
The large chalkboard behind (from leboncoin.fr) is just one reference to this old school theme, and is exceptionally useful in the kitchen
Liz busy with Molly in the kitchen chopping apples from the orchard, while Una and Roisin read at the dining table
The bold splash of red in the dining area lifts the otherwise monochrome scheme
A formica topped table is a practical option for family living; try eBay for similar
The doorway marks the start of the original cottage, where Liz and Corentin managed to squeeze a twin room on the left beside the shower room.
An old school chair found at a local car boot sale makes a sweet bedside table between the twin beds
The room hints at old boarding school lodgings with metal beds and stripy linen from Linum. Educational posters bedeck the walls and zinc numbers line the shelf (available at Etsy). Head to Reclectic for vintage posters
The bathroom is pure utilitarian, much like old school showers: bricks divide the shower from the basin; the flooring is concrete
Ikea has a good selection of basin units in grey
The master bedroom is an unexpected surprise in this small cottage, with its high exposed A-frame. A light feature has been created with leftover wood in the shape of a star draped with fairy lights
A nifty shelf/drawer unit provides hidden storage, display space, and does away with the need for a bedside table
The wardrobe was made from old bits of wood found on the farm; it is painted to match the feature wall. White painted floorboards and a simple muslin drape keep the scheme light
Fancy staying at la Maison de Jeanne?
The cottage sleeps 2-4 people and costs from 100 euro per night, or from 545 euros per week; visit roselouisemarie.com for more information. Travel from the UK via ferry (brittany-ferries.co.uk) to St Malo, then drive for around one hour to Plelo.
If you’d like to see your home in a magazine to help promote your small business, or for the sheer fun of it, please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org