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Keys to the Cottage

This article was written by Kathryn O’Shea-Evans and was featured in our December issue of Home By Design magazine. Photography by Unique Homestays via www.uniquehomestays.com. To visit the original Home By Design article and view more photos, click here.

A British Vacation Rental Chockablock with Charm

Short-term rentals may have surged in popularity with the advent of booking websites, but not all are created equal. Occasionally, the images you see when you book online aren’t exactly accurate when you check-in, in real life. Or perhaps the property looks the same but has a construction site whirring obnoxiously next door.

A crackling wood fire keeps things cozy at all hours in the airy Crafters’ Hut. Delighting guests with thoughtful touches, such as locally made artisanal bread and a curated hoard of design books, can kick off an unforgettable getaway. The indoor-outdoor lifestyle can be lived just as well in England as it is in sunny California, as long as you’re properly prepared. Textural accessories give even newly renovated interiors the timeworn feel of one that has been loved for generations.

Potential headaches diminish significantly when you book through a curated website, such as Unique Homestays—which has put together a collection of truly covetable short-term rental homes in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Case in point: this fairy-tale hideaway on the misty shores of Cornwall, England. “The Crafters’ Hut is in such a beautiful position in Cornwall’s charming village of Mousehole, with fabulous views of the sea and harbor,” says its owner, Jodie Wrout, a career and life coach based in Worcestershire. And while the location was the inspiration for the design, it also provided some bugaboos. “It was a challenge to get work done here though, as access is tricky via uphill footpaths only.”

Still, they persevered like a barnacled fishing boat through the misty waters—and have a storybook two-bedroom retreat to show for it, known as The Crafters’ Hut, which is now open to the public as a rental for up to three guests at a time. “The property was formerly a carpenter’s hut, which also fed into the inspiration, and I’d describe the interior design style as ‘rustic simplicity,’ ” says Wrout. “It is environmentally friendly and everything has been kept as simple as possible.”

Interiors are adorned in beachy hues—sandy taupes, cloud whites, driftwood browns—and as cozy as they come under the vaulted ceilings, with a flickering fireplace and even a fire pit and Swedish wood-fired hot tub just outside overlooking the sea. Supplying the entrancing charm of the area: antique fishing gear and old books on the region. “I love the simplicity and the neutral color palette of the entire design, which helps it blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings,” says the homeowner. “Particular elements that I love about The Crafters’ Hut are the summerhouse, which works brilliantly as another bedroom; a workspace, which we use a lot; and the various serene spots to sit and enjoy the views, either inside if the weather isn’t great or outside on the deck when sunny. Even in the depths of winter it is beautiful, directly overlooking Mousehole’s famous harbor lights come Christmastime.”

The home has become a beloved getaway for Wrout herself when guests aren’t staying there, and is chockablock with family memories: barbecuing in summer, taking long coastal strolls in winter. “We are lucky to have many beautiful local walking routes,” she says. “Our favorite is from Mousehole to Lamorna Cove, on the coastal path. The village itself has lots of amazing restaurants, too—particularly 2 Fore Street, The Old Coastguard, and Mousehole Deli. We also love taking trips to the beautifully restored Newlyn [Filmhouse] and visiting the iconic Minack Theatre in nearby Porthcurno.” In other words: an idyllic retreat from the frenetic streets of everywhere from London to Des Moines. Did we mention they supply a hamper of local Cornish produce, cheeses, and chocolates to welcome guests? Home away from home, indeed.

To book the The Crafters’ Hut with Unique Homestays, visit online or call their homestay specialists.

+44 (0) 1637 881183

Here, a few of our other favorites worth a visit.

Inkwell Cottage
If you love to watch the movie The Holiday on repeat, this Cotswolds gem—which looks like it could be a stand-in for the one used in the film—is your perfect stay.
Burford, Oxfordshire,
The Cotswolds, UK

Saffron Tower
Visions of Rapunzel letting her hair down from the turret can be made real in this corner tower, which overlooks a manicured garden worthy of a medieval castle.
Beaumaris, Isle of Anglesey,
Wales, UK

Castle India
You will feel like Lord and Lady Grantham of Downton Abbey at this waterfront perch, which hosts up to eighteen guests on its sumptuous grounds, including storied gardens and a historic Georgian manor house.
Antony Passage, Tamar Valley,
Cornwall, UK