Since I have been immersed in the design world for most of my life, I have a pretty big stash of inspirational tear sheets from all sorts of books and magazines. I keep anything that speaks to me or that I might be able to reference in my own home. I prefer to keep them all loose instead of organized in a binder — it's easier to rifle through them and put different ideas together.
I've been collecting cottage pictures since long before we bought this property in the hope that one day I would have one. The majority of them are really old buildings with loads of character — exposed, painted white beams on the inside, not insulated, filled with a mishmash of antiques and colourful flea market finds.
But since we are building new, I put these shots aside. I find it never works when you try to imitate old architecture, plus the site and the low impact we want to have on the land dictate a more streamlined, contemporary approach. Arriz and I still want it to feel warm and comfortable, so we've decided to wrap the interior in douglas fir siding and I'm focussing on the tears with lots of wood, layers of rustic elements, timeworn antiques and organic textures paired with vintage modern classics.
The rawness of all this plywood is a look we're going for, but maybe not as industrial, along with the clean modern lines of this space (below).
I love the mix of dark and light woods and the organic appeal of this room in photographer and stylist Anita Calero's East Hampton retreat (seen in the June/July 2007 issue of Domino). It's modern but warm and layered. I'm crazy about the charcoal drawing on the left that looks like it's been done on a rumpled piece of kraft paper. We won't have white brick walls but our fir floors will look pretty similar to this.
Another Hampton's home, featured in O At Home's Summer 2008 issue. This vignette captures the overall look — clean, simple, textural — that homeowner Katleen Van Roost has achieved. It's all about building these surfaces for creative display.
I'm a big fan of the handcrafted furniture at New York-based BDDW. It is rustic but simple — exactly what we are going for.
Of course I am on the hunt for a long wooden dining table that will take centre stage, since you tend to spend a lot of time around it at a cottage. I'm thinking about the Veneto collection teak table from Design Within Reach.
Or maybe something a bit more rustic like the Benoit dining table by European furniture company Flamant. Though we might just build something similar.
I take great inspiration from the merchandising, and gorgeous website, of my favourite store in New York, Ochre. I can't help but buy something every time I visit and would love to fill the cottage with accessories from there. I am thinking about registering with them for my wedding for things like this organic cotton blanket and hand-thrown bowl. And I love the hand-woven vintage linens with their subtle detailing.
I have some of these African baskets in the city and they will be perfect for storing hats and scarves, or even my knitting at the cottage.
Wooden plank platters, stacks of hand-thrown ceramic dishes and pared-down, rustic accessories — these are the unique details that will make the cottage come alive.
For more about the construction and design of the cottage, check out Arriz's blog.
1. Photography by Ted Yarwood, published in House & Home June 1999
2. Photography by Ted Yarwood, published in House & Home Summer 2000
3. Photography by Tom Arban, published in House & Home July 2009
4. Photography by Anita Calero, published in Domino June/July 2007
5. Photography by Douglas Friedman, published in O At Home Summer 2008
6. BDDW Lake Dresser
7. DWR's Veneto Rectangular Dining Table
8. Flamant Benoit table
9. Michael Greenwood
10. Jamie Theakston's Quirky Terraced Town House from Living Etc April 2009 issue, photography by Paul Massey
11. Ochre Organic Cotton Throw
12. Ochre Vintage Linen Napkins
13. Ochre African Baskets
14. Ochre Round Cedar Boards
15. Ochre Rectangle Cedar Board