A writer and avid interiors lover, both of Donna’s passions are expressed through her popular Instagram account, @littlestonecottageonthill. Relaxed but brimming with personal detail, Donna’s home serves up laid back luxury with a gentle period twist. The 300 year old cottage is located in an historic Yorkshire village and suitably styled with floor to ceiling modern country charm. We caught up with Donna to find out more about her beautiful home.
Donna, welcome to the Style Journal! Please tell us more about the history of your Little Stone Cottage On T’hill.
We bought the cottage in 2012 – it’s over 300 years old, built in locally quarried Yorkshire stone and situated in an historical little rural village.
Your style leans into the contemporary, and though neutral in colour, your rooms always feels playful and inviting. How do you balance this look whilst staying true to the era of the house?
Everyone’s different, but when you live in such an old house, I prefer the bones of it to do the talking rather than overpowering it with patterns and excess colour. It’s all about balance. The neutral tones and soft fabrics we chose respectfully allow the house to shine, from the ancient beams and the uneven walls to the aging stonework… it’s all very beautiful and we feel so honoured to be a part of its history.
Let’s go straight go your bright and beautiful kitchen. Kitchens are functional spaces first and foremost, but so often they come to be the heart of the home. How do you make this practical space as comfortable as the rest the house?
When we moved into the cottage it had the tiniest kitchen and a very narrow dining room, but by knocking down the dividing walls and opening up the whole of the bottom floor we were able to embrace open plan living. We designed the kitchen area to have curved cabinetry for a softer, more relaxed feel. By blending the colours, textures and furnishings to complement each other, and keeping the palette neutral, the whole of the downstairs feels like one big room. We chose crushed velvets and linens to create a natural look that works really well with the rustic modern kitchen, making the most of every corner.
To anyone scrolling through your Instagram it’s clear you have an affinity for lighting. What’s the most important thing you keep in mind when layering light in a room?
I love ambient lighting. It enables you to enhance all those dimly lit areas (particularly in older houses), by adding warmth and depth. Whether it’s the gentle flicker of a candle on a window sill, a table lamp glowing warmly or some magical twinkling lights hung on a beam, there’s always somewhere inviting and cosy to relax.
We were delighted to collaborate with you on your recent bedroom re-style. You opted for the hand blown glass of the Putney Plug-in Wall Lights. What led you to plug-ins over traditional wall lighting?
Because the cottage is so old it’s always a gamble to start cutting out walls for lighting, so when we were introduced to your new Plug-in Wall Lights it was a real game changer. No professional installation needed, just a plug to pop in an existing socket. Genius!
How do you keep your home feeling fresh through the year, do you find yourself influenced by seasonal trends?
I’m not influenced by seasonal trends but I do like to enhance the cottage with seasonal flowers throughout the year. I’m very much a ‘less is more’ person though; one too many blooms or accessories can make the place look very cluttered, so I’m always minimal but thoughtful with any new additions.
We have to admit that we love seeing our customer Christmas interiors unfurl. How do you prepare the home for festive period whilst staying true to a ‘less is more’ approach?
Because the cottage is so small I like to keep Christmas decorations to a minimum. A Christmas tree, a simple mantel garland and a subtle Christmas tablescape is just enough without overpowering everything. I like to trim outside the front door too so the curb appeal isn’t forgotten!
A few quick-fire questions…
What are your top tips for making a house a home?
What’s your favourite room to style?
I love styling the whole cottage so I don’t have a favourite room. We’re fairly lucky though as it’s so full of character which makes it feel easy.
Your favourite Jim Lawrence product?
We have Jim Lawrence lights all over the cottage and each one lends itself beautifully to its surroundings, so I’d be hard too hard pushed to choose one…
Finally, what’s the staple homeware piece that every house needs?
Follow @littlestonecottageonthill on Instagram to follow Donna’s styling journey and revel in her joyously written captions. To stay up to date with Jim Lawrence, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Browse our website to see all of our hand forged and finished lighting and homeware.
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