Mother Hubbard's beautiful Bisley cottage
Anne Youngs knew she had found the cottage she had been looking for when she first clapped eyes on Windy House in Bisley.
Yet she did not reveal the full extent of her plans for the 200-year-old stone property when she first showed it to her husband, Stuart.
"I just told him it just needed a lick of paint," laughs Anne, who previously lived in Nailsworth.
"He had no idea of what I was planning to do inside."
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Today the interior of the spacious cottage is nothing like the one that Anne and Stuart originally purchased.
All of the rooms have been remodelled, with all but one of the walls being removed and relocated.
"It was divided into such a lot of little rooms," says Anne. "We took everything out – including the stairs.
"We now have a nice little space for the size of the house.
"Our previous house was bigger but we used to run a bed and breakfast business from it, so we never felt as though we had a lot of space of our own."
Once the builders had finished their work, Anne set about setting her stamp on each room, in many cases using products that she sells in her shops Mother Hubbard, which specialises in pine furniture, and Concept East Coast, which offers a mix of Scandinavian, American and French pieces; both of which are in Nailsworth.
"The things I buy for the shops are things that I like myself, so it was natural for me to use them here," says Anne, who regularly goes to Europe to buy from her suppliers.
As in many homes, the Youngs' kitchen is very much the hub of their property. It leads into an enclosed patio area that's perfect for al fresco meals during the warmer months and enjoys views of the surrounding countryside.
Wooden units from Neptune and Rivera Maison, most of which are painted in a shade called 'limestone' to chime with the fabric of the house, ensure plenty of storage space. Other features include a roomy Belfast sink and a marble-topped island work bay.
"I went to Southampton to choose the marble and said that I particularly didn't want the piece that I ended up being sent, because of its natural markings, although I have grown to like it," laughs Anne.
"I love being in here: I do a lot of cooking and find it relaxing. The area where we have our kitchen used to be a bedroom but that seemed such a waste."
A pair of recycled metal cockerels, which Anne found in France, are always a talking point with visitors.
"I have tried hard since I bought them to find more as so many people have noticed them and asked where they could buy some, but the only place I've seen them is a restaurant in Portugal – and they weren't for sale," laughs Anne.
The kitchen leads to a spacious sitting room, which the Youngs created from two smaller rooms. The building work also uncovered a number of old oak beams and a beautiful inglenook fireplace, which now houses a wood-burning stove.
"We were so lucky the fireplace hadn't been smashed up," says Anne. "It had just been filled with rubble and covered with concrete. It was so exciting to find it.
"The wood burner is great for creating a cosy atmosphere when it's cold and horrible outside."
Evidence of Anne's eye for style can also be found in the two bedrooms upstairs, one of which has an en suite bathroom containing a luxurious slipper bath, from which bathers can watch television.
"I think I've only managed to watch the TV from the bath once – and that was only for five minutes," says Anne.
Both the bedrooms contain beautiful chandelier light fittings and share an exposed beam that emerged while building work was taking place.
All in all, Anne and Stuart's decision to downsize has led to the creation of a beautiful new home from an old property full of hidden character.
"I just love creating homes," says Anne, who has previously revamped properties in France as well as in the UK.
"Home is our retreat and we can't wait to get back here at night."
Now that most of Anne's plans for the cottage have been fulfilled, she's now keen to find out a bit more about the history of the property. She's been told that it may have once served as a toll house, while its proximity to Bisley's cemetery and previous ownership by the Gloucester Diocese has led to suggestions that it may have been home to the local gravedigger.
"We love living here: it's a wonderful old cottage in a lovely village and it would be great to find out more about its history," she says.