Think latch doors, crackling fires and mooing cows and you're pretty much there with imagining 'Scaw Fell Cottage', a beautiful Cumbrian holiday home in Santon Bridge...
This cottage belongs to my mum & dad (and the story of how it came to be theirs is interesting... for another day!). I've been lucky enough to spend lots of time here, be it frosty weeks in the deep mid-winter, and hazy summers with blue skies and luscious trees - so it's a place I feel very at home in.
Today, I'd like to show you around it. It's not a 'stylish' home by any stretch of the imagination - it's interior hasn't really been updated for years, and most of the furniture and accessories within it are hand-me-downs and things that people have quite literally left behind over the years. But it's charming, and most importantly of all, it's my parent's - so on with the show...
Scawfell cottage sits within a row of five or six cottages, a mile or so away from the nearest village on the west coast of the Lake District, and is framed by picturesque mountains, breezy beaches and a peppering of pubs and inns.
Inside, this cottage is old and authentic, and that's mostly because it's barely been touched for years. It isn't overlooked by a single house and instead overlooks a green to the front, a field of cows to the back, and frames a perfect view of Scafell Pike on the horizon.
Inside this cottage, the furniture is mostly a cobbled-together series of hand-me-downs from the previous owner, and – wonderfully – the cottage smells of stone, old dust and woodwork. Cool, tiled floors stretch the length of the kitchen to the living room beyond, and various trinkets hang from old beams on the ceiling. Ale cups, agricultural tools and random pieces of art fill the kitchen walls, a haphazard but welcoming collection of knick-knacks, reflective of the fact it's a place called home - if only for a short while - by anyone and everyone.
My favourite part of the kitchen is the old window with a beautiful piece of stained glass art hanging from it. On sunny mornings, the glass catches the rays and sends the most beautiful colours dancing across the wall! I also love that the old fireplace (very helpfully) holds a microwave to warm your porridge every morning, and I like the solid wooden table and mismatched chairs too. Like the rest of the cottage, the kitchen is informal, lived-in, and cosy but clean. Home from home, really.
After walking in the hills every morning, the living room is the perfect place to while away the afternoon. Soft throws envelop the largest sofa, with an assortment of old rugs warming a flagstone floor. The rugs are layered crisscrossed on top of one another, which is a styling trick I love: it’s perfect if your rugs are too small to cover your space, or are just a little worn and could do with a feeling a little thicker. The fireplace rightfully claims its place centre stage, with a beautiful jet black surround. A log-pile had been prepared for a chilly winter's evening, and it's so lovely to sit and listen to the firewood crackling.
The staircases in this cottage are positively ancient, with worn wooden steps that creak and groan underfoot. It gives the property so much personality, and it means you always know where your loved ones are in the house. The tongue and groove panelling gets my seal of approval, and a peek into the children's room reveals crisp white bedding, a wonderful Moomins print, and a collection of toy mice for little ones who may have forgotten their cuddly toy in all the confusion of packing.
But the master bedroom? Well, it’s just beautiful. The far wall is a vast expanse of exposed stone, with a pretty little window seat to perch upon. I love the old chest of drawers beside a vintage lamp with a pretty charming floral print, and the window seat is lovely too; the golden light that glows through this window on a late summer's evening is something particularly special. I like the small details in this room most of all: the stencilling on the walls, the exposed stone on the far side and the creaky wooden floorboards - they make it feel so special.
The bathroom is small but clean, with a steaming hot shower and enough room to undress and dry yourself. There's not a great deal to report on the bathroom front, but it's light and bright and I particularly like the tiles over the sink. Around the corner is the foot of the stairs leading to the top floor - another bedroom to sleep an extra two adults. I love the bookshelf crammed with children's books at the foot of the stairs, but it's a staircase you'll need to be careful on... it's an old ship's staircase, so it's sharply pitched and you should watch your footing if you're wearing socks.
It certainly feels adventurous to head to the top floor, but I get the feeling it’d be the perfect room for teenage holidaymakers who desperately want their own space. And on that note, this room is coincidentally one of the best for getting a phone signal in. The room at the top is cosy and big enough for two sleeping in twin beds, with a chest of drawers and hanging rail nestled between the two beds. Opening the skylight in this room is a real treat, and poking your head out of it reveals a beautiful view of the neighbouring cottage's wood stores and gardens, as well as the majestic mountains in the faraway distance.
All in all, this cosy cottage in the Lake District is an absolute delight. It's a little ramshackle but in a nice way. It's warm, welcoming and wrapped in more than a century of history - I'd love to know what stories these walls could tell about the families who've inhabited this cottage.
What do you think?