Life's a Beach

A semi detached cottage in Dirleton that has been lightened and brightened by it’s Swedish owner

Anna and her husband Stuart bought their home from friends. Located in the picture postcard village where the beach with the view of the small island that inspired Robert Louie Stevenson to write Treasure Island is minutes away. They moved to the area for Stuart’s job at Archerfield Golf Club, buying a flat initially but began their search for a house with a garden when they started a family, they have two little boys now. ‘I had visited the house before, and both Stuart and I could see it’s potential and when we heard it was for sale, we snapped it up. It has a really good flow: we love the open plan living space and the generous garden. It is in a particularly lovely, quiet, leafy spot. We all enjoy being outside so really appreciate the patio spaces and the lawns. To be honest, with two little dogs and two little boys, we could not manage without the garden’ Anna admits.

Immediately they moved in, in 2014, Anna and Stuart started to update the property by pulling up the carpets and painting every surface they possibly could white: walls, stairs, woodwork. ‘White is probably not the most practical colour when you have small children and animals, but I crave light. Stuart and I met living in Spain, he is English and I am Swedish. We both love Scotland, but we do miss the sunshine, so lightening our home was an obvious thing to do’ Anna explains.

They also updated the bathrooms and laid fresh wooden fl ooring in some of the rooms. They undertook a lot of the work themselves, as they are both practical, ‘I love crafting and upcycling furniture. I am always on the look out for bargains that I can update by distressing or painting, Anna shares. ‘It is amazing what you can do, even on a budget. I honestly have ideas coming out of my head: I get a vision and Stuart is always a bit skeptical’ she laughs, ‘but I know it will work!’

The results are crisp, light and fresh. Her home has a subtle seaside theme; very gentle, it is not too obvious. ‘I love stripes, stars and simple graphic patterns. New England style has always appealed to me’ Anna states, ‘and I adore coastal, Cape Cod colours and shades: greys, blues and sandy taupes.’ As a result, there are hints of the Hamptons throughout her home, but of course her main infl uence is Scandinavian design.

‘Scandinavian people value art and design’ Anna explains. ‘To spend on an artwork or a really good piece of furniture, but it is normal at home, I think, in Sweden, we see it as an investment.’

The house is decorated in layers: a matt white background is soothing and restful, beautifully coordinated furniture and accessories have been added next. Choice artworks and very lovely family photographs, mainly taken by Anna herself add further interest. Finally, a striped wallpaper from Ralph Lauren have transformed it into a really smart and stylish home. There are a few things still on Anna’s wish list: ‘because the previous owners converted the loft, the house is spacious but lacks storage’ she explains, ‘so we are hoping to add a utility room and garage. We would also like to landscape the garden further plus the driveway needs to be restructured.

Actually the wood burner is a very cosy focal point in the kitchen, it is defi nitely the heart of their home. However, we never sit down. The boys prefer running around the garden to sitting on the sofa and I am always up to some sort of DIY or crafting project’ Anna explains.

Anna is launched a business as an interior stylist, called Pop Create, specializing in children’s rooms and nurseries, certainly until the boys start school. She can combine her service with the beautiful child and family portraits and crafting that she is so skilled in. TC

Alison writes a blog about their work together www.her-indoors.com

Published: July 2017

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