At Home With Fiona @the_whitecottage
This week I'm at home with Fiona, the creative lady behind the popular instagram account @the_whitecottage where she shares beautiful images of life in her lovely cottage in Lancashire. Read on to learn more about Fiona, her home, lifestyle, and top tips for home styling.
Tell us about you
My name is Fiona and I live with my husband and four children in an old weaver's cottage in a town called Penwortham, in Lancashire. It is a popular area which has a wide variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. We have a lovely park just over the road and a short walk away is the River Ribble.
My husband and I currently run a business together but before I had my children, I worked for Guide Dogs. I have a Degree in animal behaviour and welfare and my 2 passions have always been animals, and interiors. I can thank my mum for the latter as she loved nothing more than looking at magazines and show houses for inspiration, and the house was constantly being redecorated.
Tell us about your home
The Cottage used to be two separate dwellings for lcal Weavers. They were owned by a gentleman called Monseir Le Gros, thought to be from weaving lands in France. It is thought to date back to the early 1800s The Cottage is called “Legrows”, although we never call it that. It was my husband's parents who turned the two dwellings into one, and it was their home for 42 years. They sold it to us, and we moved into it in February 2021. So, the cottage holds many memories and sentiments for us all.
How would you describe your home?
We have had houses in the past that have all been very different in age and appearance and we have definitely played around with different interior styles. In the Cottage, I would say it is a very neutral, rustic, modern country style, with a little scandi thrown is as I very much fell in love with that style in our previous home.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
My favourite room is our Living room. It has a beautiful fireplace with a muti fuel burner, dried hops hanging above and beautiful stone against the brick. It has a homely, cosy feel and it really comes into its own in the colder months when we can put the fire on. I really feel relaxed and content when I'm in this room.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests?
When I was growing up, I desperately wanted to be a farmer. But I had to take my love of animals in a different direction and I'm so grateful I got to make a career out of it. My home reflects my love for animals purely because of all the pets within it. We have our dog Sid (we lost our old Labrador, Rosa, earlier this year), 2 cats, 2 guinea pigs and 8 hens. I especially love having the hens walking around the garden, they are wonderful to watch.
I think my home also reflects how passionate I am about interiors. I hope the items of furniture, ornaments and pictures, the paint colours, flooring and soft furnishings, really show the thought and love that went into choosing them all, to try and create a beautiful home.
What are your favourite items in the home?
This is a hard one. I have a lot of sentimental items, furniture that belonged to family members, photos and vintage pieces etc.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
The cottage only has 3 bedrooms so we knew we were going to have to extend at some point. The plan is to create 2 more bedrooms and an open plan kitchen/diner living space. Other than that, we have just been taking out time making it our own.
What renovation and decorating have you done?
My husband is very much the DIY person in the house, and he is annoyingly good at trying a new skill and immediately being good at it. It is great to be able to get things done ourselves that would normally have been expensive. For example, he built an alcove unit for the TV in our family room, and it saved us so much money not having to hire a joiner. It looks great too.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
I don’t think we have had any disasters in the cottage...so far! But I will say, my cutting in needs some serious practice. I don’t know how people do it so neatly. In our first house we did have a blue stripey Laura Ashley feature wall which I now look back on and think, nope, that wasn’t a good choice. I tend to steer away from feature wallpaper now unless its muted, as you just don’t know how long you will like it for.
What is your top home styling tip?
Don't get caught up in what's in style if it really isn't something you feel is right for you and your home. It's so easy to look at instagram or magazine's and become influenced, only to find it just doesn’t work. Also, the reverse of this...don't not choose something because you don’t think it is the current style or that others will like it – if you like it that’s all that matters.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
The washing machine. With four kids it’s absolutely the most important item in the house. When we extend and get a new bathroom, I think my answer might change to the bath. I can't wait to get a big bath to relax in.
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
I hope my home says that I am warm and welcoming. I love nothing more than having someone round for a cup of tea and a chat. I think our home shows that family is a very important part of our lives, and that with our children still young, we have a lot of fun.
The Home Edit
Lived-in or showhome?
Lived in! It's our family home and I want it to show. Until I know someone is coming to visit and I run around the house getting it all tidy.
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
I am most definitely team neutrals. Apart from our bedroom which is a deep olive green, our walls are pretty neutral. It just makes changing up accessories or colour schemes for different seasons, so much easier.
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
Carpets in bathrooms/toilets.
Favourite front door colour?
I would love to be brave and have a pale pink front door. But I love the cool, sage green colours on a front door – especially if it’s a cottage.
Carpet or Floorboards?
Floor boards downstairs, carpet upstairs (just not in the bathrooms!)
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
Both! Our dining table is in the conservatory, so it does get very cold/very hot. But we try to have our family meals/special meals there. Otherwise, the kids eat at a little table in the kitchen, and we sometimes eat, curled up watching a film.
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
Can I say both?! I love exposed brick on chimney breasts/feature walls but I also love muted wallpapers. I really want to mix panelling with some muted wallpaper one day.
If you enjoyed being at home with Fiona, you might like to take a look inside other popular home styling accounts on instagram and find out more about the people behind them. You can view more of these "at home with" articles here