We recently came across Justine Cook’s lovely, centuries-old cottage in the Welsh countryside. Its snug dimensions, spare interiors, and soothing palette are just what we need right now to calm our pandemic-heightened nerves.

Justine, an artist and interior design consultant, and her husband, a landscape and history writer, bought the bucolic property in 2009. “We loved the setting and the fact that we could watch the cloud shadows move across the valley below,” she says. Unlike most home renovators, they were determined to change as little as possible. “We left everything we could that was original. And walls that needed redoing we had done in lime hemp or roughly done; we told the plasterer to do them ‘as if an amateur would do them’—with soft rounded edges,” she explains.

Furnishings were kept spare and unfussy, the palette natural and serene. “My husband calls it ‘detailed minimalism’—which perfectly describes it,” Justine says of her decorating style.

The couple recently put their home on the market. Be sure to visit The Modern House for the listing and more photographs, and go to Harp Cottage for Justine’s online shop. In the meantime, join us for a tour below.

Photography courtesy of The Modern House.

The couple named the property &#8
Above: The couple named the property “Harp Cottage,” which appears on the sign affixed to the gate. A gravel and grass ribbon driveway leads guests to the property.
The cottage, which is said to have been built in 7
Above: The cottage, which is said to have been built in 1672, is small, just 1,214 square feet in all. The exterior was simply freshened up with white masonry paint. “The woodwork was treated with linseed paint and then painted over with Farrow & Ball’s Lichen,” shares Justine.
The front door leads to a rustic entrance hall with its original flagstone floor intact. Justine installed a curtain in front of the door for reasons both aesthetic and practical (it helps with the drafts).
Above: The front door leads to a rustic entrance hall with its original flagstone floor intact. Justine installed a curtain in front of the door for reasons both aesthetic and practical (it helps with the drafts).

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