TYRELLA Nash moved to Perthshire on a whim. “Every time I came to visit friends here when I was living in London or Edinburgh, I always dreaded heading back to town. Then someone mentioned that there was a cottage nearby that had just gone on the market, so on my way back to Edinburgh I drove past it and had a look.”
The little cottage was tucked away behind a hill and down a track. Although it was impossible for Tyrella to have a proper look she loved the location and privacy.
“I was brought up on a farm in Ireland and had always liked the idea of living somewhere remote. My business as a picture framer is flexible so I reckoned that as long as I had enough space, I could do it anywhere.
“Also more and more of my friends were moving out of town so there was no real reason for me to stay,” she explains.
When Tyrella finally saw the cottage, she did indeed love it. Originally the land steward’s house for a nearby estate, it sits in a pretty and established garden sheltered from the weather by a large copse of trees.
It was, however, tiny. Downstairs there was a kitchen – which had been divided in half to make a separate dining room; a bedroom, bathroom, and a living room. Upstairs there were two tiny bedrooms.
Being a keen cook, Tyrella’s priority was to reinstate the kitchen as the heart of the house, and to turn the downstairs bedroom into a dining room. She installed a Rayburn, which also heats the radiators throughout the house. The handmade pippy oak kitchen, with oak worktops, is from Murray & Murray, while the early Irish kitchen table and willow chairs are from Homer.
In need of one more room, Tyrella planned to extend one end of the house to accommodate a bedroom and a bathroom and build a separate studio for her framing.
“The house was very tired and outdated, and needed a certain amount of upgrading as well. There were night storage heaters, no central heating and the wiring and plumbing were ancient,” she says.
Tyrella designed an extension that blended in tidily with the original Georgian cottage. “It was essential to me that we did not upset the balance of the house with the lovely garden.
“Now that it is finished it is hard to see where the old part ends and the new begins. Only if you look closely can you see the change of texture on the painted stonework.”
Although work on the house took a year, the studio was ready in four months, time enough for Tyrella to close down her framing business in Edinburgh and move it to her new studio. “Perthshire is only an hour and a half away and an easy commute once or twice a week, so it was possible for me to retain all my clients – both art galleries and private,” she explains.
Once settled in her new house, Tyrella took time to decorate, choosing colours and textures fitting with a cottage of this size and age.
The living room is warm and welcoming with its peat-burning stove, red woodwork and unusual grass wallpaper, Nobilis Fontan. The sofa is from Ikea, while the Parker Knoll chair is covered in Donegal tweed. You can find a similar log bin from Oka, while the painting above the fireplace is by Fiona Brown
When she re-opened the old fireplace in the dining room, Tyrella used picture frame moulding instead of a mantelpiece to save on space. The antique Chinese tiles above the lights have been framed by Tyrella, and the walls are painted in French Grey by Farrow & Ball. The dresser was bought to house Tyrella’s collection of Irish spongeware china which she has been collecting since she was a child.
In the hallway, the painting on the miniature easel is by Caroline McAdam Clark, while the walls have been painted Georgian Grey by Dulux with the woodwork in Regency Grey. A similar chest can be found at Scaramanga.
A lot of older houses in Scotland and Ireland have tongue and groove panelling in the interior, so to make the new part of the building look like it had always been there, Tyrella commissioned her creative joiner, Gavin, from local building company DM Cameron, to do similar.
“Gavin was a real problem solver. When we had an old bath delivered from Ireland, the building control inspector said it didn’t pass regulations as the outflow was higher than the taps. To get around this, he built me a new window sill with the taps attached.
“Among other things, he also altered the window sills in the dining room which were different heights to fit in with the new tongue and groove panelling,” says Tyrella.
To maintain the cottage feel throughout, Tyrella has painted the interior in subtle, rich, warm colours often painting the woodwork dark and the walls light. The end result is charming and simple.
Stylish touches continue outside the house too. In the garden, the log cabin was built from a Finnforest Log Cabin kit by Tyrella and a couple of friends. She uses the log cabin as a guest bedroom or summerhouse when the weather is warmer. The reindeer skins on the bed and the floor were a gift, while the striped cushions are from Scandi Living and Tyrella made the large cushions from an Ikea fabric. An old bedside table has been given a new lease of life with Farrow & Ball’s Elephants Breath.
“I love living here and despite its remoteness I feel very much part of the community. I recently broke my arm and was unable to drive for six weeks. Everyone helped me out with people cooking for me, chopping wood, driving me places. It made me realise just how settled I really am and just how lucky I was to find this house,” says Tyrella. k
Tyrella Nash, Dunville Art Picture Framing (01350 727 406, e-mail: email@example.com)