Furnishing Gardeners Cottage in Blakeney


The finished design at Gardeners cottage evolved over a period of almost 5 years. It’s an amalgamation of French country, Scandinavian beach meets shabby chic, with a sprinkling of English country house. The pieces have to be both practical and good looking, not something you may immediately associate with antique furniture or china.

We took the decision to live with the house for almost 4 years before re-modelling. Many pieces were sourced for the property in it’s original layout over this time. These had to be put in storage for the 12 month build, but most worked really well in the new larger, lighter version of the house which emerged.

Having such a long period to source furniture and china was in a way a real blessing. Many of the china lines were collected over a number of years. We picked blue and white china patterns we loved and knew were popular so we would be able to find plenty of them. One of these was Johnson Bros Blue Onion pattern dinner wares, a pattern which was picked up and re-produced by several china manufactures. This was gradually sourced and built up to replace the original dinner ware which was “bought with contents” with the house. This was Royal Doulton York Town, not rare, but bone china porcelain, which would have been damaged by the modern dishwasher and too fragile for daily use.

The Blue Onion pattern dinner ware was mixed with Churchill Finlandia china, a pattern still in production in the early 21st century, and we added in a few bespoke blue and white willow, blue dragon and coaching scene dinner and side plates to make an eclectic china mix, both when on display and the table.

I suppose we had an existing interest in the china, having collected for many years, not surprising it led us to set up Vintage Farmhouse Antiques to allow us to continue buying.