Gorgeous Home Guide

Step inside this stunner of a Victorian brick-and-flint cottage in Kent. It’s home to David and American-born Nancy Sharpe, their children and Labradoodle Monty, and is kitted out in dreamy New England décor…

Swapping a modern east-coast home in America to move across the pond to be closer to David’s family was an exciting move for Nancy and David Sharpe. ‘Some people might have found it quite a wrench to make such a major move, but I relished the prospect,’ remembers Nancy, who couldn’t wait to move to the English countryside.

'Doing up properties is my hobby and I’d spent years reading English interiors magazines,’ adds Nancy, ‘so the minute we discussed emigrating ‘across the pond’ I knew exactly what I wanted, which was a picture-perfect house in a small village.’

The family set their sights on the Kent countryside – within easy reach of David’s new office in London – and it was during a visit to a local estate agent that Nancy spotted a sign for the ‘House of the Week’. ‘The interior was in need of updating, but it was a beautiful, dream cottage,’ says Nancy.

Once they had moved in, the couple’s first step was to rip up the carpets throughout to reveal the oak floors, which were sanded and then sealed. A New England colour palette was chosen: ‘I wanted to imbue it with an air of freshness, while retaining the all-important feeling of intimacy,’ says Nancy.

In the kitchen, instead of an extension to extend the space, they replaced the units and rejigged the layout. The island provides a natural divide between the preparation and dining areas, and also serves as a breakfast bar.

Lively colours and fabrics were introduced to give the cottage a real lift. ‘Some of the furniture we’ve kept from our previous home is on the large side – such as the dresser in the sitting room and our Colonial four-poster bed, but I don't think they look out of place,’ says Nancy.

As well as filling the house with fresh flowers, Nancy planted lots of bulbs in the garden in her favourite colours. ‘Now, whichever window I look out, I can enjoy an idyllic view of the English countryside,’ she smiles.

Words: adapted from Mandy Nolan. Photos: Robert Sanderson

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor