Julia Cope Lincoln has skilfully used painted furniture and vintage textiles to give her traditional Devon farmhouse, built in 1663, a chic and unique look this Christmas. Julia, who is co-proprietor of a shop specialising in French and English antique and painted furniture, lives here with her dog Bailey, a saluki-lurcher cross (can you see him sitting by the fireplace?).
It is now nearly twenty years since Julia Cope Lincoln first laid eyes on her delightful thatched farmhouse, and her affection for the property remains as strong as ever. ‘I used to drive past this house every time I came house-hunting in Devon, in the early 1990s,’ she recalls. ‘I always used to think, what a pretty farmhouse, perched up there on the hill – wouldn‘t it be lovely to live there? But I never imagined for a moment that one day I actually would!’
‘I live to decorate with objects and materials that evoke the natural world, because they create such a sense of comfort and ease,’ says Julia. ‘I particularly love soft woollen throws and vintage linens, shells and pebbles, and polished wood.’
Although Julia adored the farmhouse’s atmosphere and sense of history, she soon discovered that living in a property that’s nearly 350 years old brings its own distinct set of decorating challenges. ‘As a rule, I love creating feature walls using striking patterned wallpaper,’ she says, ‘but as the cottage is so old, all the surfaces are uneven, and there are lots of curved edges too, so wallpaper is a total non-starter. I found it easier to create the décor in each room around statement pieces of furniture and vintage textiles, such as the huge painted armoire in my dining room, and the colourful vintage quilt in the guest bedroom. I also used interesting contemporary artworks and soft furnishings to add the finishing touches.’
‘I usually take on houses that need masses of work, so moving into a house that was already freshly done made a great change, and was actually very liberating,’ says Julia. ‘The farmhouse felt like a wonderful blank canvas where I was free to express myself by simply styling and arranging the rooms, rather than having to gut them and rebuild them. It was great fun.’
‘The sitting room is my favourite room,’ says Julia, ‘with its lovely old beams, it’s a wonderfully relaxing place to sit and enjoy a glass of mulled wine in front of a blazing log fire at Christmas.’
Words adapted from: Jane Bowles
Photos: Colin Poole
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor