Thrilled with our Christmas feature in the latest 25 Beautiful Homes about the gorgeous home of interior designer Fenella Cockcroft. The house is surrounded by the farmland she grew up on, ‘my family have lived here for generations’ Fenella shares. ‘My mother still lives nearby, and I was brought up just over the hill from our house.’
It was originally a row of three little farm cottages, built by her grandfather in the 1930s. Fenella and her husband, Toby, bought them and converted them into one house, adding a fabulous orangerie to give their home a wonderful moment of real wow factor.
The house is large and spacious but all the rooms have quite cottagey proportions so adding an extension was an opportunity to add a bit of drama and light to their home and to enable them to fully take advantage of the stunning views of the beautiful Yorkshre countryside.
They took advantage of the period that the builders took over by going to live in South Africa for a year. The inspiration that Fenella absorbed, in terms of light and colour, traveling around this fascinating country, plus, the souvenirs she returned with explain the exotic cocktail of styles she has so skilfully woven together. ‘I try and bring something back from every holiday actually’ she shares. Fenella is an expert at mixing patterned, ethnic fabrics, in unexpected colours, with traditional British heritage pieces.
Her home has a beautifully layered appearance, which she says is best achieved over time. ‘Don’t try and do everything too quickly’ she advises, ‘you get a much more organic result by taking your time. Get the bones right first, of course, do the boring stuff, then experiment with colour and pattern to your hearts content!’
She believes in using the best fabrics you can afford throughout a house, in every room. ‘Never save the best for formal rooms, use the best every day’ she suggests. She sells her exotic soft furnishing products, which include pleated fabric lampshades, upholstered headboards and sari fabric cushions, at country fairs and online.
Her interior design work has an international reputation and she has clients in all sorts of far-flung locations, from Barbados to London, to Capetown.
The kitchen, open plan to the cosy snug is the beating heart of this welcoming family home. Fenella takes great pleasure in preparing for a traditional Christmas, complete with all the trimmings. Her husband, Toby, their three children, Coco 18, Otto 17 and Rocco 14 and their adorable Basset Hounds Mabel, Bugsy and Snuff make quite a crowd before you have even included the many friends and relatives they are surrounded by in their delightful corner of North Yorkshire.
A childhood friend, Serena Holliday, painted the beautiful blossom mural. Her business is called Wall Stories. ‘We all help with the cooking at Christmas and love to chat around the island. Anyone who wants to cosy up with the dogs in the snug can still join in though’ Fenella explains.
Or even more helpful, take this gorgeous pair for a walk!!