Inspiration of the Week: country living, Suffolk-style
Alderton Cottage, currently for sale, stands as a sublime example of Suffolk’s rural vernacular, in fabulous flint and timber – both timeless and traditional, it’s really rather nice
What makes Suffolk Suffolk? The foodies among you will say the sausages, fat and fresh from Newmarket’s butchers, who guard their recipes fiercely. Horsey folk will talk about the thoroughbreds that thunder round the racecourses, while the stretching sands and fabulous fish and chips are worth a mention too. But, for us, it’s the architecture, from places painted that particular shade of pink (on which more here) to the wonky hall houses with their jettied upper storeys. And how could we fail to mention the flint, the bedrock of East Anglia’s building tradition?
Dark, knobbly and deeply textured, flint is used across Suffolk, from grand churches to small domestic dwellings – its ubiquity a result of the lack of quarries in this corner of Britain. Among them is Alderton Cottage, a three-bedroom home deep in the middle of the county’s rambling countryside and now on the market. From the outside, Alderton is vernacular perfection, the roughness of its flint finding a match in robust red-brick dressings, while a prominent chimney stack rises proudly from the steep gables. Even the extension, a modern addition, speaks a shared argot. Clad in weatherboarding, often seen on Suffolk farm buildings, and topped with the same traditional clay pantiles as the older part of the house.
Inside is as good as out. Downstairs, the building’s timber frame is on show above, while underfoot run local-looking pamments, the same russet as the clay soils in this corner of England. A box staircase, common in these parts, hides behind one of the house’s customary plank doors. Yet, for all its olde-worlde details, this house couldn’t feel more comfortable for life today. Paint in pleasingly cool hues joins colourful textiles from around the globe in remarkably light and bright rooms. Meanwhile smart sisal makes an elegant counterpart to bare floors elsewhere. If you’re after cottage style with just the right amount of trad, look no further.
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