How one interior designer created ‘country’ without the ‘twee’

Bold patterns and rich colours have allowed this petite East Lothian cottage to make a big impact

The enduring popularity of plain, neutral interiors is proof that most of us are terrified when it comes to decorating. The fear is of making a mistake with pattern, choosing a colour we’ll go off, or looking daft when our friends come to visit because our taste is ‘wrong’. But when Lizzie Bell was putting together her own home, there were no such issues. As an interior designer of many years’ experience, who’d trained under the expert guidance of Jimmy Thomson and Angus Williamson of AF Drysdale, she knew instinctively that her bijou East Lothian cottage was crying out for bold fabrics and strong colours. And she went for it.
The pink sandstone property, with its traditional red pantile roof, was originally two cottages. They were built around 1830 for estate workers, and knocked together into a one-bedroom house after the war. She found it by chance: having driven through the village often, and thought how much she would like to live there, one day her former boss spotted a For Sale sign in the garden. “I thought the house was very pretty and I loved its charm,” she recalls. “Within five days the cottage was mine and the rest is history.”
The interior, however, was less than charming. Lizzie moved in and set to work on a top-to-toe makeover, fitting a sitting room, study, dining room and TV room into the small space.

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 210-220, issue 103.

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What A one-bedroom cottage
Where The Scottish Borders
Interior Design Lizzie Bell Interiors
Words Stephanie Murphy
Photography Neale Smith
Art Direction Gillian Welsh