How does a break in a detached cottage with an Aga, open fire and wood burning stove just a minute’s walk from one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches sound?
The owner of Foreman’s Cottage (www.foremanscottage.co.uk) Pat Renson (www.patrensoninteriors.co.uk) is so busy with her online shop and real life emporium in Auchterarder, that she’s letting the cottage for relaxing breaks (£125 per night, minimum three nights).
“I’ve always had a great affection for Lunan Bay,” says Pat who is originally from Arbroath, “as when I was a child, this is where we used have our Brownie camps. It’s a beach that is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets and it is also of considerable ecological significance as it is a natural U-shaped bay.
“When I moved back to Arbroath five years ago, I set my heart on this cottage which was originally the home of a salmon fishing foreman, and I kept knocking on the owner’s door. I don’t know whether it was down to my persistence or the owner’s personal circumstances, but he decided to sell it to me two years ago.
“I renovated it from scratch, taking it back to the bare walls, and then some. I knocked through walls to create a sense of openness between the kitchen/dining and living rooms, replaced all the windows and stained the woodwork and doors in ebony which has worked really well.
“The project took three months from start to finish and although I’ve renovated a few homes in my time, it was when I was sitting in front of the fire one night that I realized what I’d achieved with this house and on a fairly strict budget too; I got such a feeling of satisfaction from that.
As an interior designer with both commercial and domestic clients across the country, Pat has a particular flair for creating contemporary interiors with a Scottish country edge, and her decorative scheme for Foreman’s Cottage embraces natural materials such as tumbled limestone flagstone floors and antler door handles in the kitchen.
The wide board limed oak floor creates a driftwood effect in the kitchen, while the in-house palette is made up of muted Farrow & Ball colours. The cottage is furnished in a mix of old and new pieces, and the atmosphere can be changed at the press of a button, as Pat has chosen layered lighting which incorporates everything from down lighters to decorative lamps, all on dimmers.
The kitchen/dining space is a heart of the home room with central island, two-oven Aga, Belfast sink and French doors opening to the rear garden with views of the sand dunes beyond. By dispensing with wall units, Pat has created an informal kitchen with a design vocabulary that rhymes with the dining area with its open fire and timelessly furnished in pieces from Clock House.
With its wood-burning stove, solid oak flooring and doors to a raised deck area, whatever the season, the living room is a somewhere you can unplug from the world. There’s a Scandinavian meets New Hampton narrative, with wing-backed chairs upholstered in band-box blue checked fabric, and a white-sand painted fireplace with sea-bleached maritime lanterns.
Over the years, Pat has created hotel bedrooms which serve up a sophisticated interpretation of the new country style. It’s a look that effortlessly translates to her own master en suite bedroom, including the five-star addition of a free-standing roll-top bath and candelabra.
As well as being a house for cosying up in front of the fire in the winter months, its transfixing location and sizeable garden dictate outdoor living in fine weather. Pat points out that all the ground floor rooms have access to the outside space with decked seating areas around the cottage.
“We have spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and as there’s no light pollution, when it’s a full moon on a clear frosty night, the beach is bathed in a blue light. The nicest thing is taking a walk on the beach on a wild cold day, then coming back home and warming up in front of the fire or Aga after a soak in the roll-top bath.”
For more information visit www.foremanscottage.co.uk