When Emma Burns, senior decorator at Sybil Colefax & John Fowler, relocated to a smaller house, she was presented with a lack of storage space for her treasured collection of books. Her solution? Obviously to convert an old barn, described by Burns as a "glorified garden shed," on her country property into a "book room." (A girl after my own heart!) Despite being drawn toward minimalism in my own life as of late, there will always be a part of me that dreams of a traditional English cottage, pleasantly stuffed to the brim with books, art, and knick knacks. The result of Ms. Burns' reimagined barn speaks to that part of my soul, a perfect fulfillment of my cluttered cottage dreams!
The country retreat was enhanced with charming details like a fresh coat of exterior paint on the doors and shutters in Farrow & Ball's "Pigeon" gloss. Built-in bookcases on either side of the sitting room open to reveal a secret bathroom and small pantry. A study and a bedroom sit in the loft areas above the books, framed by beautifully aged and weathered ceiling beams. All of the furniture is recycled, the decor eclectic, adding to the impression that the cottage had always been there. One of my favorite details from the feature in House & Garden is Burns' anecdote of festive Christmas parties held in the tiny cottage, friends gathered around a giant Christmas tree. What I wouldn't give to experience one of those!