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Emily Escaped: reviews and photos of holiday homes for design lovers

Emily Escaped

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Written by homes journalist Emily Brooks, this blog is dedicated to seeking out UK holiday rentals that are all about great design

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Didmarton House, Gloucestershire

Deep in the Cotswolds, a mix of old and new, kitsch and classic, simple and opulent – assembled by an interiors pro

Interior and furniture designer Jo Berryman’s style is a rich blend of, well, just about everything: squishy velvet ottomans, tribal textiles, scuffed school chairs, glam 1930s mirrors and contemporary lighting sit side by side in her Cotswolds house.

That such a mixed-up aesthetic works so well against the relatively humble backdrop of a17th-century farmhouse is the best advertisement for her work. The bones of the building, with simple flagstones, broad wooden floorboards and timber roof beams, remain resolutely traditional looking, with everything else layered up on top.

There are enough austere corners – like the plain, functional kitchen with its deeply bowed butchers’ block table – to temper the exuberance seen elsewhere. It’s so nice to see a holiday home full of personality-filled ‘stuff’, and Jo is clearly no design snob: I spotted a Debenhams bedspread in the mix, as well as cutting-edge new designers like Rothschild and Bickers’ kitschy glass lighting. I bet that, alongside the top-notch furniture, there are a good few boot-fair bargains in there as well. Although note the £500 damages deposit, eek.

You’re in regal company in this neck of the woods, with Highgrove up the road, plus you might see some Cotswolds slebs hanging out in Tetbury Waitrose. Or just enjoy that fabulous (sleb-free) countryside all on your own.

Nearby: Great gardens, including Westonbirt Arboretum, the rare rococo gem at Painswick; Stroud has good independent shops and a fab farmers’ market; lots of wonderful walking, including The Cotswolds Way

Essential details:
Didmarton, Gloucestershire
Sleeps 8
From £1,480 per week
Available through Mr & Mrs Smith

More photos:


Photos via Mr & Mrs Smith

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