This country retreat may be a rental but it’s been curated with love.
Photography by Emma Lewis
It’s rare to find a rental property you can fully put your creative stamp on, but when Tash and her husband viewed this Victorian lodge house, they saw nothing but potential. “The walls were knocked down and it was a building site,” she explains, “which was great as it was a clean slate. I spoke to the landlord and agreed that we could choose the paint to go on the walls if we could provide it, which was brilliant as it meant I could choose all the colours. I then ended up picking out the carpet, flooring and other design assets. It meant we were able to decorate despite the house being rented, which we’re very thankful for.” Tash happens to be director of interior design and colour psychologist for contemporary paint brand, Lick, and so it’s fair to say the landlord struck gold, too, with such a visionary tenant.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re renting or buying, I still think it’s important to get the feeling that the house is right for you,” Tash explains. “When we entered the drive of this property, we knew it was the one for us. My non-negotiables are light, as I think sunlight is so important, and I also really like high ceilings, not only do they look great but my husband and I are very tall!” A Victorian renovation seems a natural fit, then, for the generous ceiling height as well as the characterful details. “Personally, I need a bit of character in a home,” says Tash. “I love a little bit of a story behind a building, it makes it more special and whimsical.” In this case, the house used to belong to the gardener on the old estate. “Our garden used to be the vegetable garden that fed the estate, meaning it still retains the original walled features,” Tash explains.
Fusing classic styling with contemporary colour pops, the house is at once fresh and modern, yet it keeps its original country charm. Where antique style armchairs are paired with bright cushions in graphic prints, original fixtures are met with bold, monochrome walls that offer vibrant energy. Tash comes with 10 years of experience in interior design and property development and has spent the past few years specialising in colour, with a degree in colour psychology. “I love helping people around the world transform their homes and I’ve carried out over a thousand colour consultations during my time at Lick,” she says. Naturally, Tash’s colour expertise is put to good use here. “The colours we’ve used in our home have been quite bold,” she says. “I love that we were able to design the house purely for my husband and me, thinking about what makes us happy. We started from scratch and had one picture that we bought years ago, it’s a view of our favourite place in Cornwall, Trebarwith Strand. We decided that we loved the colours in the picture and wanted to replicate the feeling the picture gives us. The colours in our home are striking, for example, our sitting room is bright pink (Lick Pink 04) but I’ve implemented colour harmony with it, introducing complementary colours, blues and different tones of pink, too. It’s bold and playful but really works with the room without feeling too overwhelming.”
When it came to furnishing the house, Tash was adamant she didn’t want everything new, insisting that a home full of box-fresh pieces can make it look like a showroom. Instead, she plumped for pre-loved furniture and fittings alongside some carefully chosen new finds. Her decision to go vintage is in keeping with the architecture of the property but it’s for the sake of sustainability, too – something Tash is particularly mindful of. “I wanted to find treasures and furniture such as loveseats, beds and curtains on resale sites,” she explains. “All of my curtains are second-hand and they’re fabulous, I just had to add a bit more fabric onto the ends so they fit the windows.” Then there are the go-to brands, as well as creative hacks that Tash can easily turn her hand to. “I have a beautiful, cord pink sofa that was bought new from Jo & Co Home in Cornwall, it fits well within the room against the older pieces, which makes the home feel welcoming. My go-to for lighting is Pooky and I buy my headboards from Etsy. I like to upholster all my headboards with beautiful fabrics. The cushions are from Andrew Martin, I’m obsessed! And I love small, independent shops and antique fairs or flea markets for side tables and cabinets, too.”
Naturally, the painting of Trebarwith Strand, which inspired the entire look, is Tash’s most treasured possession here. It takes pride of place above the living room fireplace. Other favourites include a huge white Moroccan rug with beautiful detailing and a yellow accent. “However, since we got a puppy we’ve had to roll it up and hide it away,” Tash concedes. “Another favourite is this incredible vase we spotted whilst visiting Bruton. The vase is bright yellow with the face of a woman who emanates joy. I always tell my clients that you need an element of fun in every room, and you can’t help but smile when you see this vase. The bright yellow gives you a boost of energy and it sits in the pink living room.” It comes as little surprise that this is Tash’s favourite space: “I’ve always wanted to go bold with pink and it makes the room really joyful. Whenever we host friends in the room we have a great time! We plan to eventually fill it with artwork, our style of art is playful and colourful.”