If you're lucky enough to be the owner of a real country cottage, then there is no finer pleasure than restoring it to its traditional, authentic character. It's a fantasy for thousands of families in the UK - to live in a genuine country cottage, and to surround yourself in the nostalgia, familiarity and security of a former era.
While we at Handles4Doors can't really help you with the bigger changes, like the restoration of the structure itself, we can certainly help with the little touches - the kinds of things which are easy to overlook but which lend a country cottage a real sense of authenticity. If you're fully restoring a country cottage, or if you're trying to recreate that rustic country cottage character in a newer property, then the following information will, we hope, be useful to you.
It's the little things which make the biggest differences when it comes to interior design, and if you give a little of your attention to the finer details, the final result of your design scheme will be all the more authentic. First, let's outline the characteristics of a country cottage interior.
- Chunky Ironmongery - the ironmongery in traditional country cottages is very strong, very heavy and very functional - it's the functionality that makes them attractive. Rustic ironmongery tends to have these characteristics because, traditionally, they would have been made by a blacksmith to do a job, rather than to be decorative. As such, the metalwork is often bumpy and uneven where it has been worked by the smith.
- Comfortable Surroundings - it almost goes without saying that a country cottage should be comfortable and inviting. After a long day tilling the soil and working the fields, the traditional owner of the country cottage would simply want to relax in comfortable surroundings. Therefore, everything in the cottage should have comfort in mind.
- Ornaments & Decoration - a lot of brassware and other metalworking, as well as leather and other solid, rustic decorative items are perfect. Minimalism doesn't sit well in a country cottage, so as a general rule of thumb, the more authentic ornamental objects you can find, the better (though there is a limit).
- Interior Lighting - Lighting should be low and inviting, but never bright. With so many traditional metallic contents in the room, bright lighting will be too intense.
- Natural Materials - the construction materials, like wooden rafters, should remain uncovered and unpainted. Even brickwork can be left exposed in certain places (particularly around an open fire or a hearth) for a really rustic aesthetic.
This list simply focuses on the factors which can have an impact on your choice of accessories and door handles, which is our field of expertise. So with the points above in mind, let's look at the kinds of things which would really set your traditional interior design scheme off perfectly.
Worked metal has a very special sense of tactility. Your door handles are one of the few parts of your country cottage which will be in constant contact with you, your family and your guests, and as such they have to be perfect. They have to look and feel just right, because they have the power to make or break your entire design scheme.
We offer door handles in a few different styles, from industry leading manufacturers like Kirkpatrick, Ludlow and Finesse Design, which are designed to perfectly recreate the traditional styles of a country cottage. The most usual designs use a strong, rectangular backplate and a chunky, purposeful straight handle - and Finesse Design are the leading designers of this style. The handle levers can be curled too, and there are some more delicate, ornate designs available. The Kirkpatrick Antique Ironwork 2450 door handle for example uses a traditional scroll-shaped lever, but the backplate is formed by running two Fleur-de-Lys together in cast iron rather than simply rectangular. The effect is one of real age.
For a light touch of traditional gothica, the Tudor Collection levers use long, sweeping curves and Fleur-de-Lys designs to create a slightly more delicate, more stylised door handle.
Prices for these beautiful handles range from just under £10 up to around £70, depending on the designer and the material.
For a slightly more unconventional approach to the interior design of your country cottage theme, consider a stylish and tactile door knob instead of a lever. Why might you prefer a door knob over a door handle? These traditional door knobs are very substantial items, which feel satisfyingly weighty in your hand and inspire a feeling of confidence and indestructibility. They lend a sense of magnitude to whichever door they're on, which in turn lends a subconscious sensation of gravity to everything in the room - since the knob is probably the first thing you or your guests will encounter. If you have a solid and heavy door knob, everything else seems to subtly take on a feeling of permanence, which is exactly the sense you should be trying to achieve.
As with the levers above, there are several top designers all offering traditional door knobs. Alongside the same group as before - Kirkpatrick, Ludlow and Tudor Collection - Dartington also makes an appearance. Most of these door knobs are on a circular rose, but Tudor Collection also field a square-backed door knob. Prices are all under £30 here - yet another reason to choose a door knob over a handle.
Big, thick, chunky door hinges are conceptually inseparable from country cottage interiors; the effect the right hinges will have on your design scheme can be profound, and they add immeasurable credibility to the aesthetic you're creating. From Kirkpatrick to Ludlow Foundries again, we offer an specially selected range of hinges. From the simple and rustic Weighty Scotch Pattern tee-hinge from Dartington to the beautifully decorative Kirkpatrick Antique Ironwork 1820 hinge, they're beautiful and highly functional.
Used in conjunction with the right door handle or door knob, your hinges will create a convincing cottage interior quickly, easily and inexpensively. They're made from tried and tested materials, like cast iron and pewter, so they'll last as long you need them to.
To round off a rustic aesthetic, don't forget to decorate the front of your home too. By beginning the traditional theme on your front door - the very first thing encountered by a visitor - you can set the stage for the beautiful design scheme within. You simply need some numbering, a strong, thick door knocker and a discrete letterbox, and your door will absolutely look the part. As a gorgeous finishing touch, you might like to consider replacing your unimaginative plastic doorbell with a stylish Antique Ironwork circular bell push.