English Cottages

Life in an English Village with 170 Residents — The Family Showed Their Home

Today, I’ll show you an unusual 16th-century cottage in the English countryside. Just imagine! It’s nearly 500 years old. Once upon a time, this building housed a mill, but now it’s home to an architect and his writer wife. I stumbled upon them on Instagram and was thrilled to see the kind of home they own.

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© Paul Massey

This is how the house looks from the outside.

What do we know about the building? It used to be a mill, and many historical elements are preserved here (such as oak doors and stone floors). Now the Hiscox family lives here.

The couple bought the house in 2013; the purchase price is unknown, but I found an archived listing where the price was listed at $2,190,000, converted to our currency.

The high price tag is explained by the architectural value and location — the house is in Cotswold. It’s one of the most beautiful places in England, famous for its ancient stone cottages. Many of them are 400-500 years old.

The former mill stands on a 25-hectare plot with a stream running through it. There are also several small historic buildings on the property (barns and sheds). The place is truly magical. Though it’s expensive. At least tourists can enjoy this beauty for free — in local villages, you can often encounter both tourist groups and lone wanderers.

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© Paul Massey

Considering the cost of such real estate, it’s immediately clear that you won’t find any dilapidation inside. But you won’t find golden toilets and leather sofas either. The interior is in the style of Victorian England.

Interestingly, despite having an impressive bank account, the couple didn’t shy away from using items from flea markets in decorating the interior. Expensive antiques here coexist with budget finds. Some items Sarah, the homeowner, even bought on eBay.

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© Paul Massey

Though the house is old, the fireplaces are relatively new, only a few decades old. They were made by the famous local sculptor and stone carver, 75-year-old Simon Verite. Above the fireplace, you can see a cavalry sword passed down to Sarah’s husband from his great-grandfather. As for fabrics for vintage furniture, the hostess chose them herself, according to her taste.

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© Paul Massey

All the furniture is second-hand. And if a chair, for example, is over a hundred years old, then the sofa is from the 2000s. The fabrics used for upholstery are vintage. Some of them Sarah also bought on classified ad websites.

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© Paul Massey

There are a lot of paintings in the house, which the couple has been collecting all their lives. Some of them are worth a fortune. And some were inherited from artist friends. The kitchen set, large table, and chairs are made by local craftsmen. Just like the fireplace (there’s almost the same one in the living room). By the way, how do you like the oak floors paired with such wooden furniture?

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© Paul Massey

Some rooms still have stone floors, which, like the mill house itself, are almost 500 years old. The chair in the photo is from Sarah’s grandmother, and she bought vintage fabric for it in Japan.

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© Paul Massey

This is what the guest bedroom looks like (there are several bedrooms in the house, including children’s ones — the family has three children).

Vintage wallpaper perfectly complements the antique bed, which is over two hundred years old, and the quilt inherited from the grandmother.

Did you notice, by the way, that there are many inherited items in the house? It’s amazing that wealthy people value such things and don’t exchange them for some expensive fashionable furniture.

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© Paul Massey

And this is the master bedroom.

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© Paul Massey

It’s hard to call the bathroom a utility room or a technical room. It’s really a room where you don’t just “quickly take a shower,” but relax in a hot bath and feel at least like a queen.

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© Paul Massey

Another one of Sarah’s hobbies (besides books, vintage textiles, and paintings) is geraniums. The hostess allocated a summer veranda for them, which she jokingly calls the “geraniumarium” (you can break your tongue on this word). The floor of the veranda is covered with Moroccan tiles.

“I’ve always loved geraniums — these flowers bloom constantly and don’t require too much attention. Somewhat like me,” jokes Sarah, explaining her fascination with undemanding plants.

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© Paul Massey

Next to the glazed veranda is another corner for relaxation and evening gatherings.

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© Paul Massey

And if you feel like it, you can retreat with a book and a laptop to such a quiet spot.

For me, such houses are timeless. They were built 500 years ago and are full of antique things, but at the same time, they don’t evoke associations with mustiness and old age.

What are your feelings after this tour? Did you like the interior? Or do you think that in such a place — surrounded by antiques — it’s very difficult to live?

Qualified interior designer and article author specializing in home and residential interiors since 2021. My favorite topics include Scandinavian design, reviews of English cottages, as well as simple and light ideas for apartment decoration.

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