How do you bring a 16th-century Cotswold cottage bang-up-to-date without losing any of its original charm? You do what interiors expert Bee Osborn did and, rather than replace the old, you reboot it with the new
Bee Osborn is no stranger to taking a path less ordinary. Divorced, penniless and a stay-at-home mum to two young children while still in her 20s, she took on a 100 per cent mortgage to turn a passion for interiors into a career that could support her family. The result? Osborn Interiors, which over the past three decades has built an impressive portfolio of projects across the UK, South of France, Spain and St Barths.
Four years ago, with home and work in London, Bee was looking to rent a weekday space in the Cotswolds to be close to her third daughter’s new school when she discovered this charming 500-year-old cottage for sale. ‘Within ten minutes, I’d made an offer, moved in three weeks later, and, after six months, relocated my whole life and business,’ she says.
The two-up, two-down property, which was previously a post office, needed renovation and included a derelict stone barn in the garden that really caught her eye: ‘I knew it would make a fabulous connecting living space and add a new lofty dimension to the classic interior.’
Major remodelling began at the start of lockdown. ‘I camped out in the sitting room with my three girls while the barn was transformed and a new master bedroom-suite and boot room added,’ she says. The upheaval has ‘resulted in a home that feels calm and restorative,’ she says, with the best of old and new juxtaposed throughout. Think original stone walls, low-beamed ceilings and inglenook fireplaces, alongside new vaulted wood-clad spaces and a palette of chalky whites. Elegant furnishings, carefully curated art and designer lighting lend a chic, lived-in vibe.
‘The move to the country has changed my life,’ she smiles. ‘I was always a city girl, but now I couldn’t be happier.’
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The cottage’s original kitchen has been transformed into a family snug that connects to the new kitchen and dining space in the barn. Art and statement arrangements highlight Bee’s love of sourcing and display. The built-in sofa (which is made from garden fencing), upholstery and cushions have all been designed by Bee. The coffee tables are both from osborninteriors.com, the black and white lithograph prints are by hugoguinness.com. The mirror above the side cabinet is actually a TV by pictureframe.tv
So much is recycled,’ says Bee of the cottage’s revamp, including old wood from the barn that has been used to clad this en suite bathroom, giving the space a modern rustic vibe. The roll-top bath, which was an Ebay find but is available from bcdesigns.co.uk, adds boutique hotel glamour. The Huck lights are from portaromana. com, the tap is from crosswater.co.uk and the oak stool is from osborninteriors.com
The original low ceilings in the bedrooms were extended up to the underside of the thatch, creating extra height. The wood cladding has a cocooning feel, while other natural materials, such as linen and raffia, bring texture. The cushions are by osborninteriors.com, the rug is from wayfair.co.uk and the throw is by thewhitecompany.com