'We have achieved a perfect balance here in our new home at Keepers Cottage in the heart of the Somerset countryside.'
Emma Taylor has turned her passion for cookery into a new career with an idyllic work and home life.
|Keepers Cottage B&B Somerset|
Emma and Ian decided to move back to the countryside from London in 2013. Emma grew up in the Dorset countryside and after leaving school was a successful event rider, competing in Badminton three day event. Then moved to London where she worked for a fund management firm in the City for 20 years as a marketing manager. This is where I met my husband Ian; we lived in Wandsworth, London and had a cottage in Dorset for the weekends. Simply the pull of home and the countryside got stronger and stronger and they both decided to move back to the country full time. Around this time Emma decided that her passion for cooking could be a next career path and so spent 6 months at the well-know private chef school in Ashburton, Devon.
Post cookery school I decided to do the B&B so that I could fulfil my love for cooking and also have a good home/ work balance, as I would be able to have our adored little dog Bumble with me.
Four months later we moved in and the hard work started. The property had already been extensively remodelled and renovated to a high standard. Making the property suit our aims with the bed and breakfast business in mind was our priority. As far as the main house was concerned, we had to focus on issues such as the heating system which we discovered was leaking under the oak floorboards. Once the site of the leak was found it was a relatively straightforward task to replace the damaged pipe and replace with new oak floorboards; a very neat job. In the kitchen there were already two oak-topped island units but with limited seating it made sense to extend one to accommodate more chairs. ‘I do most of my kitchen prep work on one and we tend to sit, eat and read the papers round the other’, say Emma.
The next project was renovating the cottage loft bedroom, moving radiators to enhance the room layout and having a bespoke oak headboard custom made so we could have a super king or twin beds. ‘We also discovered in the winter months that the cottage roof had started to leak so had to absorb an unexpected expense. We had a new roof of second-hand Welsh slate tiles’, says Emma. ‘In the annexe we transformed a redundant utility room into an ensuite bathroom with a Victorian, clawfoot slipper bath which has worked really well. The bedroom already had a French style bed and matching wardrobe. “This inspired me to choose a really pretty, romantic theme for this room with an old-fashioned quilted bedspread, crisp white linen, and a palette of pinks, rich greens and creams.” At the other end of the guest annexe, the tartan bedroom was originally being used by the previous owner as a studio for Yoga and Healing workshops. ‘The room has a lovely energy and we felt it would make a perfect, spacious bedroom with its vaulted oak ceiling and French doors onto the deck overlooking the fields’, say Emma. They replaced an airing cupboard in the adjoining bathroom with a much needed walk-in shower. “The bathroom here features slate and oak, and I’ve therefore gone for a more masculine feel in the bedroom with tones of moss green and purple, tartan, sheepskin throws, and our faux deer’s head.’
This bedroom is all about the stunning outlook across the fields, so when we had curtains made we chose a very simple linen in a neutral shade, which give guests privacy but still allow the views to be the star of the show.’
“We’ve been at Keepers Cottage for about a year now and it has been tremendous hard work getting things right. The bed & breakfast feels for me like the job I was always meant to do; I absolutely love it,” says Emma. But even more so we have totally fallen in love with the house and area, and feel that it’s a privilege to live in such a special and magical place.
Come on in ......
A renovated and extended c19th century former gamekeepers cottage with annexe and hay loft now a detached cottage, used for bed & breakfast.
Who lives here:
Emma Taylor, runs bed & breakfast from their home. Ian Taylor is an entrepreneur in the technology sector. Bumble their cross breed dog.
What made you buy the property:
We fell in love with the views when we first came to see the house – looking across open fields to the Somerset levels and Glastonbury Tor almost felt like stepping back in time. Inside the house we loved the oak panelling and the huge kitchen-diner. The annexe and extra accommodation really met our criteria for the business
What’s next? :
We’d love to add a boot room outside the kitchen doors; in the winter and especially when we have a house full of guests we could do with the extra space for muddy coats, boots and dog washing! We’d also like to add an orangery to the far end of the kitchen/ sitting room. It’s a beautiful sunny spot with lovely views.
What’s the best thing about living here? :
The peace and quiet, the views, and being close to nature. Particularly at night and in the evenings it really does feel like a magical place to be.
1) Re use instead of discarding wherever possible, such as a chipped tea pot for flowers.
2) Upcycling and painting pieces of furniture to give them a fresh look such as the inexpensive pine chest in the sitting room. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in ‘Country Grey’
3) Moving the radiators around to get the layout of the room right was money well spent.
Emma's breakfasts .....
Ideas to steal
1) Slipper Bath adds a sense of elegance and style.
2) Queen Anne style console table: ‘I could never find the right place for it but it fits well in the bathroom. Particularly wanted a piece of furniture not just a bathroom cabinet
3) Flooring in the new bathroom blends in the oak theme but its warm to walk on, durable and easy to clean
4) A French style bed enhances the pretty and romantic theme within this room.
5) Being creative with limited space ie choosing a narrow chinese style side board as a dressing table with a rustic milkmaids stool and antique mirror adds a sense of charm and individuality.
6) Flower pots: Planting simple terracotta pots with a limited palette of acid green, Mauve and dark purple welcoming touch to the guest bedrooms.
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