Situated in a village near Pershore, where Alison King and Paul Varnon first met in the local pub, this cosy cottage was just what the couple were looking for as their first home.

The three-bedroom cottage near Pershore in Worcestershire, was built in the early 1800s as two farmworkers’ cottages and later made into one.

With a keen eye for design, and plenty of experience from renovating her previous homes, Alison had a clear idea of how to bring back the original character of the cottage. ‘It was carpeted throughout and had wallpapered walls and ceilings,’ she recalls. ‘There was a gas fire in the inglenook and a 1950s brick fireplace in the garden room.’

Essential repairs

  • Ground-floor walls, ceilings and floors were stripped back.
  • The ceiling joists in the cellar were repaired, floorboards re-laid and the back wall of the house damp-proofed, with precautionary woodworm treatment throughout.
  • Windows replaced with oak framed designs to meet Conservation Area approval.
  • The ground-floor doors were removed and the bathroom relocated.
  • A garden outbuilding has been renovated to create an office and tranquil retreat

The oak dining table, bought from Lottie’s Creative Living, takes centre stage, while Alison’s china collection is displayed on a Titchmarsh & Goodwin oak dresser from Craycombe Farm Antiques & Interiors


To house the larger items from Alison’s collection of Henry Wood and Wedgwood Asiatic Pheasants transferware, Paul built floor-to-ceiling shelves, framing them in oak from Homewood Houses to match the flooring throughout


For the kitchen, Alison chose an L-shape layout, and opposite the oak-fitted cabinets is an impressive Edwardian cupboard, which provides generous larder space. The walls have been painted in Laura Ashley’s Pale Gold. Pippy oak units by Winchmore Kitchens are teamed with dark honed slate tiles from Homebase to match the couple’s Rangemaster


An Edwardian hall wardrobe, fitted with shelves by Paul, makes an excellent larder. The ash stool is from Clearview Stoves


An iron bedstead from Antiques Warehouse is ideal to hang stockings. Find similar storage boxes at The Wonderful Wood Company. ‘One of our major discoveries was finding original elm floorboards in the bedrooms and the staircase,’ Alison says


Alison and Paul moved the bathroom to where the middle bedroom was, for more height. A bathroom suite from Plumb Center is complemented by painted floorboards in a mix of Graphite and Old Violet paints by Annie Sloan, and Palm Jungle wallpaper from Cole & Son


Alison painted the cupboard in the same colours, with panels in offcuts of the wallpaper


The couple have recently completed the renovation of a derelict outbuilding at the bottom of the garden, transforming it into a garden office and tranquil retreat. ‘It would have once served as washrooms to the workers’ cottages,’ explains Alison. The tranquil hideaway features silver travertine tiles from Mandarin Stone and a neat console desk from Oka. The rustic wooden ladder found on Ebay leads up to two single beds


In the garden room the armchair, sourced on Ebay, has been upholstered by Craycombe Antiques & Interiors in GP & J Baker’s Heron and Lotus Flower fabric


Festive candleholders from Liv Trading sit on a round tilt-top oak table, restored by Antique Warehouse in Worcester

Get the look

Emulate Alison’s timeless look with stylish buys fit for a period property

  • Wallpaper: Tropicana wallpaper, £59 per roll, Fabrics & Papers.
  • Candle: Two-wick Symons candle, £35, The White Company’s.
  • Tree: Artificial Canadian spruce tree, H195cm, £149.99, Gifts & Plants.
  • Cracker: Kraft and Red glitter snowflake luxury crackers in packs of six, comprising two designs, £16, BHS.
  • Mirror: Belle mirror, H86xW117cm, £235, Ayers & Graces.
  • Cake dome: Handmade soda lime glass serving stand, H27.5xDia.29cm, £55, Oliver Bonas.
  • Wreath: Heart-shaped red berry wreath, H34xW30cm, £24, The Contemporary Home.
  • Bed: Edwardian-style Castello bed, £449 for a king-size, Marks & Spencer.
  • Ribbon: Merry Christmas cotton ribbon, £1.94 for 5m, Luck & Luck.

Author & Photographer: Amanda Turner