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Home makeover: ‘Our house looks like something out of a fairytale’

Tucked away in the English countryside, Kathie Hodges’ cottage is filled with modern pinks, clever paint effects and easy DIY hacks. Take a look inside...

Love cottagecore and shabby chic style? You won’t want to miss Kathie’s country house makeover, full of natural touches and delicate vintage style decor.

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My home makeover story…

On our second date, my husband Jonathan said, ‘Maybe one day we’ll buy a house together and I know a place I think you’ll love.’ A year later he showed me this cottage and I loved it the second I walked in. It was homely, cosy and had a very happy vibe.

When we put the dining set in place, we realised there wasn’t room to pull the chairs out, so we decided to do an extension. We knocked through to create an open-plan space and we also fitted glass doors to let the light flood in. But this revealed an uneven floor that needed redoing.

‘I loved this house the second I walked in. It was homely, cosy and had a very happy vibe’
‘I loved this house the second I walked in. It was homely, cosy and had a very happy vibe’

At one point – when I was eight months pregnant – the roof was off and the front of the house was missing, and I did find myself wondering what we’d taken on. It was hard living here and being pregnant throughout the work as it’s not a huge property so there was nowhere to get away from it. But now it’s all done, I love it even more than that first day I walked in!

Welcome to my home…

A bit about me I’m Kathie Hodges and I live with my husband, Jonathan, our daughter, Maisie, six, our dogs, Daisy the cockapoo, and Poppy the Patterdale, as well as our 13 pet sheep. We have a groundworks and fencing company. I like to share my home renovation on Instagram @the_koo_koo_nest_.

Where I live Our home is a three-bedroom, semi-detached house in Chaceley, Gloucestershire. The cottage was originally built in about 1750 and we moved here in 2012.

Home owner Kathie

Kitchen

The original kitchen had lovely duck egg blue units, but they had to be ripped out to make room for the Aga. I was heavily pregnant at the time and couldn’t think about design, so I chose off-white units from Howdens as a stopgap. After a few years, I started playing with colour and I painted the kitchen cabinets to add some personality.

‘All the shelves came from a play fort at Sudeley Castle. Jonathan dismantled it for the owners and I repurposed the wood into open shelves, as we decided cupboards would look too bulky
‘All the shelves came from a play fort at Sudeley Castle. Jonathan dismantled it for the owners and I repurposed the wood into open shelves, as we decided cupboards would look too bulky.’

I’m not the best at prep and tend to just go for it, so I used the Frenchic outdoor range, which is really hardy and doesn’t need priming. I didn’t even take the doors off; I just painted it all in situ, which didn’t take long as there aren’t that many cupboards. I recently added the green Lick paint on the arch and back wall, which helps contain the pink.

Homeowner Kathie in her kitchen
‘The original owners of the Aga used it once then realised it was way too hot for their home, so they sold it to us for a good price. It was Jonathan’s idea to put the shelf above, which is a nod to the old-fashioned mantels and gives me extra storage. The vinyl rug is from Emily & Edward Design and is far more practical than a normal rug’

A bit more about my home…

What I wanted to change Nothing initially; it was lovely. However, we soon realised the size of the dining room wasn’t fit for purpose, so we decided to do an extension, which brought up problems that led to a far bigger renovation than we planned.

How I made it my own We opened up the downstairs to add space for a large dining area, installed wall-to-wall doors out to the garden, and remodelled the kitchen so that we could fit an Aga.

My favourite part I love opening the front door, looking through and seeing the finished space. I feel so happy walking into our home and seeing what we’ve achieved.

Kathie's home exterior

Dining room

I initially painted this whole space blue, but then quickly changed it to grey. It still didn’t feel right though, and the walls looked a bit boring. So one day I went to the local hardware shop and bought three tester pots of black, grey and white paint, and then used a couple of sponges to dab the paint on the walls.

‘I change this room around all the time and regularly move the dining table, but I think it’s finally found its rightful spot here. It originally came with brown velvet, high-backed chairs, but I think these rustic-looking ones, from Malt House Emporium, suit the room much better’
‘I change this room around all the time and regularly move the dining table, but I think it’s finally found its rightful spot here. It originally came with brown velvet, high-backed chairs, but I think these rustic-looking ones, from Malt House Emporium, suit the room much better’

It was done fairly freestyle, but I love Mediterranean houses and old character walls and I wanted to achieve that effect to add depth and interest. It took ages, about five hours in all, but I love the final result, though I’ve started adding touches of turquoise and yellow now.

‘I dried the flowers in these frames myself simply by pressing them inside a book. It was really easy, though a bit hit-and-miss as some flowers didn’t really work, but I love the natural, country look they add to the room’
‘I dried the flowers in these frames myself simply by pressing them inside a book. It was really easy, though a bit hit-and-miss as some flowers didn’t really work, but I love the natural, country look they add to the room’

I wanted pendant lighting, but I change my mind and move things quite a lot, so I needed something that wasn’t permanent, and the rattan shades, with light, plastic bulbs and battery-operated lights, are simply attached using Command hooks.

Living room

By the time I started on this room I’d got much braver with colour. I chose prints for above the sofa from Green Lili and wanted to find ways to bring the colours into the room, but I’m not keen on peachy tones so I went back to my love of pink.

‘This room is quite dark and doesn’t have a lot of spare space, so we had to be clever choosing furniture. This ottoman, from Daniel Keenan Interiors, is full of Maisie’s pens, pencils and drawing stuff, so she can open it up and create all day, and then it all gets hidden away at night’
‘This room is quite dark and doesn’t have a lot of spare space, so we had to be clever choosing furniture. This ottoman, from Daniel Keenan Interiors, is full of Maisie’s pens, pencils and drawing stuff, so she can open it up and create all day, and then it all gets hidden away at night’

We originally had a sofa and armchair in here, but they were really big with chunky arms and used up too much space, so we went to DFS and chose this corner sofa, which suits the shape of the room much better.

‘The fireplace is really the star of the house, and between this and the Aga, we’ve never needed to put the heating on. The nook looks really pretty styled with fairy lights and old paintings’
‘The fireplace is really the star of the house, and between this and the Aga, we’ve never needed to put the heating on. The nook looks really pretty styled with fairy lights and old paintings’

The beam was originally covered in thick, shiny black paint, which looked plastic, so I stripped it back to the natural wood using a product called PeelAway, which lifts layers of old paint off. It was a tough job, but it was worth it.

Master bedroom

This room has a romantic feel to it, helped by the beautiful bedding, from Wallace Cotton. I’ve tried not to overdo it as I have to remember that it’s Jonathan’s room too, so it’s also full of warm wood and natural textures. To be honest the décor happened without too much thought.

‘The lampshade is from La Redoute and, combined with the antique brass bed and the old wooden wardrobe, I’ve created quite an eclectic look in here, but it works’
‘The lampshade is from La Redoute and, combined with the antique brass bed and the old wooden wardrobe, I’ve created quite an eclectic look in here, but it works’

I had some blue paint left over from the dining room so decided to use it up in here. It looked a bit flat, so I got some white paint and went mad with a sponge, adding texture to the back wall, which added some interest and depth. Jonathan bought the antique bed and wardrobe from an antique sale before I met him and they’re beautiful, quality pieces that have really stood the test of time.

Maisie’s bedroom

I wanted to create a fun room for Maisie and chose an Alice in Wonderland theme for a magical feel. I decided to get bunk beds so that Maisie could use the bottom as a cosy space to sit and play and use the top to sleep.

‘I had so much fun designing Maisie’s room. Most of it is created using upcycled furniture, paint effects and clever hacks, though the bunks are from Oaklands Furniture and the rug is from La Redoute’
‘I had so much fun designing Maisie’s room. Most of it is created using upcycled furniture, paint effects and clever hacks, though the bunks are from Oaklands Furniture and the rug is from La Redoute

I attached the homemade curtains to cover the frame and ladder and then I got lots of faux flowers to decorate the top, which was fun to do. The base is fake grass and I’ve used floristry wire to attach the flowers. The wardrobe was a cheap second-hand buy. I sanded it down and used masking tape to create the stripes, then finished it off with some gold leaf.

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Feature and styling Lisa Moses. Photos Katie Jane Watson.

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in HomeStyle magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?