Check out our latest magazine... Read Online

Home Style: Treasure Trove

The interior of a quaint, white-washed cottage in Sussex has been transformed into a colourful home full of character by a couple of keen collectors.

The whitewashed exterior of the small cottage belonging to Michael Jones and Michael Beatt gives little clue as to the delights that lie behind its walls. Stepping over the threshold, visitors are greeted by colour and character in spades and collectibles offer vignettes at every turn. “We don’t follow any style rules but just fill our home with the things we love,” said Michael. Their confidence and design exuberance has paid dividends because the result is utterly charming.

The Cinque Port town sits on the edge of Romney Marsh, a few miles inland from the sea. The picture-perfect cobbled streets meander up to the ancient church of St Mary, the spire of which can be seen for miles around. The couple found a small fisherman’s cottage in the old town and later that year left their London flat and made the move south. “I loved the house straight away. It was the attic bedroom that sold it to me because it’s just gorgeous, tucked away in the eaves,” recalled Michael. 

The two-bedroom property is the perfect backdrop for their collection of art and antiques and has proved to be a wonderful canvas for their inimitable style. They’ve painted throughout in a palette of grey, pink and teal and replaced the kitchen. Gone are the dated units and in their place are pale cabinets with a dark-stained worktop and open shelving.

The couple are content in the warm and colourful space they have created, but they have plans to create a simpler look at some point in the future. “We want to create a more pared down feel, using earthier tones,” Mikey stated. “The things we sell are becoming more contemporary and I would like to add some of these elements to work alongside our vintage pieces at home.”

Meanwhile, life in Rye has lived up to expectations. “After living in London, the Sussex countryside around us feels more natural,” said Michael. “We both grew up surrounded by greenery, so this feels like coming home.”

Photographs: Richard Gadsby/Living4media 
Feature words: Amy Maynard/Living4media


More from Homes and Gardens

  • Homes Extra: Let There Be Light

    Read on for the latest in home and garden lighting ideas for a bright and up to date space, says Sara Whatley

  • Blooming Times: Wisteria Hysteria

    With its exquisitely fragrant, show-stopping blooms, wisteria is the queen of spring climbers – yet it can be frustratingly sulky and thuggish. Flo Whitaker offers a quick troubleshooting guide to floral success

  • Home Style: Home on Wheels

    A plot on the family farm with stunning marshland views was the ideal spot for Freddie Pack and Katie McNie to build their new home – a cabin on wheels

  • Home Style: Modern Outlook

    Downsizing couple Pauline and Bill chose practicality over space, but didn’t compromise on their love of mid-century style

  • Blooming Times: Dahlia Mania

    Inexpensive, hardworking plants with blooms in a vast array of colours and shapes - no flower is perfect, but dahlias come pretty close, says Flo Whitaker

  • Home Style: Time to Heal

    After losing her husband, Tracy Nors threw all her energies into renovating a period terrace in the pretty town of Rye

  • Blooming Times: Spring into Summer

    Say the word ‘bulb’ and thoughts of spring immediately come to mind - but there are some bulbus characters to plant now for summer colour. Flo Whitaker selects a few of her favourites

  • Home Style: Farm Stay

    While living in a tiny cabin on the family farm, Freddie and Katie Pack saved up to build their dream house on a plot a few fields away

  • Home Style: Romantic Vision

    Tim and Jenny Backshall rescued a derelict timber-framed hall house, respecting its history while future proofing for generations to come

  • Homes Extra: Dining Style

    Sara Whatley is singing the praises of the dining table and looking at different styling options for it

  • Blooming Times: Spring Fever

    February is often labelled the cruellest month in the horticultural calendar. However, Flo Whitaker suggests there is still plenty of opportunity for growth

  • Home Style: Forest Idyll

    Moving the kitchen became the start of a much bigger project for the Buckinghams, as it created opportunities to change their new home

  • Blooming Times: What's in a Name?

    Botanical Latin may seem daunting, but it’s designed to be helpful and informative, says Flo Whitaker

  • Gardening: The Benefits of Hedges

    Gardeners are a flower-obsessed lot, greedily seeking out the latest, brightest blooms. That’s all very well, but ephemeral flowers need a stage to perform on. Plant a hedge - they add structure, benefit wildlife and look good all year round.

  • Blooming Times: Awesome Alliums

    Easy-going and beloved by bees - now’s the perfect time to plant allium bulbs for a spectacular display next year. Flo Whitaker picks some of her favourites.

  • Homes Extra: Truly, Madly, Deeply

    Fall in love with your soft furnishings again this autumn and make it the season to snuggle up in style, says Sara Whatley

  • Home Style: Clear Vision

    Jacqui Elliott Williams has relished bringing this elegant Victorian house back to life with confident ideas, stylish choices and creative flair.

  • Homes Extra: Parasol Power

    Pretty parasols are enjoying their moment in the sun and making our outside spaces spin with style, says Sara Whatley.

  • Blooming Times Garden Lore - Fact or Fiction?

    The horticultural world abounds with bad advice and old wife’s tales, but some pronouncements are scientifically sound, says Flo Whitaker, as she asks, “True, or false?”

  • Home Style: Beaming with Happiness

    Lisa and Matthew Good wanted a property to add value to, sell and move on – but they ended up so enamoured with their renovation that they decided to stay put.