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We catch up with Josephine Burlingham of Country and Coastal Interiors to discover exactly how she created a five star holiday home…

At Helpful Holidays we know that once you’ve found your holiday home for that precious week off with family, friends or that special someone, you want the home to be right; to be a cosy retreat on a cold blustery evening after a day outside, a welcoming place to cook up a delicious meal for everyone to gather round the table and eat, drink and be merry, or a quiet sanctuary to while away some time gazing out of the window.

Coach House Cottage, South Hams

So, when we inspected the recently refurbished Coach House Cottage in the South Hams, we knew it was spot on and awarded it our coveted five stars. This wonderful transformation was masterminded by Devon-based, Josephine Burlingham, founder of Country and Coastal Interiors, and her team. Like Helpful Holidays, Josephine aims to build a strong relationship with a client.

When we catch up, the utterly delightful Josephine greets us with her equally gorgeous dachshund, Betty. “It’s really important for me to get a complete picture of what the owners want to achieve, how they want the space to work. I also like to emphasise the details and charm of the house. Coach House Cottage with its ‘upside down’ living and wonderful wide-open views over the long beach at Strete was a delight to work with.”

Lounge Area of Coach House Cottage

Josephine grew up in an old rectory, which is still her parent’s home. “That house is full of comfort and cosiness, the ticking of my dad’s cherished clocks, delicious smells and a mixture of inherited and lovingly collected pieces. It has always been part of my inspiration.”

As the owners were living in Japan at the time, a brief was agreed by email and Josephine was then entrusted with the budget to do with as she saw fit. She looked at the layout of the space and pieces they already owned. The original sofa and comfy armchair were reupholstered rather than replaced with Josephine’s very own fabric, Spotted Egg, a printed linen which was a collaboration with Kimberley Bell of Peony & Sage.

Bedroom at Coach House Cottage

A tiny bedroom became a new bathroom; dark slate flooring was replaced with light limestone with cosy underfloor heating. The old kitchen was removed, and the stud wall taken down to create a large, welcoming open-plan kitchen/dining/living room. “There’s a comfy armchair by the fire now where you can sit with a drink and chat to the cook in the kitchen. It’s just cosier and friendlier. I wanted to create lovely, sweeping curves in the kitchen and then introduced light panelling round the room to give structure and a hint of colour.” She thinks and adds with a grin. “And, of course, panelling is very practical in a holiday let for cleaning off any scuffs!”

There are nods to the local environs dotted around the house: old seascape and seabird paintings, seashells in the bottom of a vase, and local postcards. Josephine smiles again. “I much prefer hunting through local antique centres and vintage shops online, rather than buying new and I try to employ as many local trades as possible, it’s usually better value and much better quality! ”

Final word from Josephine: “When you’re on holiday, you want your home to be special and luxurious… but not so perfect that you don’t feel you can kick your shoes off and curl up on the sofa!” Coach House Cottage is all that and more.