Down a single-track road, surrounded by fields of sheep and nestled in front of a stream, you’ll find the home of Steph Gowla and her family. A lover of calm and classic interiors, Steph shares glimpses into her charming country cottage on her Instagram (@stephgowla).
One of the latest transformations to feature is her bathroom. And the star of the show? Her statement bathtub freshly painted in our clean green Beverly – using super tough, best-for-bathrooms Modern Eggshell of course. Standing ovations all round. Characterful and reassuring, we think this shade works wonderfully with the Old White walls and Mouse’s Back radiator. So, we caught up with Steph to find out all about how she transformed her acrylic bath.
Tell us a little about yourself and your home.
Our hamlet of ancient buildings sits down a quiet single-track road, surrounded by fields of sheep and nestled in front of a stream. They were built 500-600 years ago to protect families and livestock from raiders. They’re very simple. Unfortunately, the oldest part of our cottage was partly in ruin and was rebuilt back in the 1990’s. However, luckily, a lot of the original features survived. We’ve lived here for six years now and have been slowly renovating it ourselves ever since. I’ve always been very creative – I love anything where I’m making, be it painting, photography, flowers… My Instagram is as an outlet for that while at home with my two young daughters.
How would you describe your style?
I’ve always had a quiet style, it’s not particularly flaunty or ‘look at me’, and that’s reflected in our home. I love interiors that have a sense of elegance and aren’t driven by money. However, I’m a big believer of ‘buy once, buy well’ and now more than ever, I try to keep the environment at the forefront of our choices.
What would you say is the overall feel of your home?
It exudes a sense of serenity. It’s simple, just like the architecture. When you have such beautiful, raw materials already in place, you want those to get the attention they deserve! So, I’ve predominantly used Farrow & Ball neutrals throughout the house, specifically Off-White, Old White, Light Gray and, most recently, Mouse’s Back in our utility. They’re sympathetic to the original stone and timber features, complementing them rather than competing.
At the moment, the cottage feels like a beautiful blank canvas, which we can add to over time with all the treasures we’ll collect. I’m enjoying starting to add subtle colour and pattern, because I can feel it’s adding real cosiness.
What was the bathroom like before you added Beverly onto the bathtub?
We’d already improved the bathroom a lot from its previous, soulless look. We added panelling painted in Old White, which I think is the perfect neutral for a country cottage. Then, we swapped out the modern sanitary ware for a traditional Burlington toilet, bath and washstand.
Even though it felt so much warmer and more inviting, it was all a bit too one note. So when I decided on dark green zellige tiles for the shower we were putting in, I knew I wanted to tie that colour in elsewhere - on the bath! As well as some accessories, like the antique Majolica shell plates on the wall.
When decorating your bathroom, what were you trying to achieve and how does the bathroom feel now you’ve introduced this splash of forest green Beverly?
While I really love a plain, relaxed and simple style, the house was in danger of being “offensive by being so inoffensive” – a quote by interior designer Christopher Leach that has stuck with me! I felt the bathroom was a great place to start being a little bolder and braver in my choices!
Now, the bathroom feels like it’s got that missing something! It instantly felt more grown up with the addition Beverly. In some ways, Beverly feels like quite a conservative colour, totally timeless and dependable – perfectly in keeping with historic homes like ours. It’s made the room feel more homely and a space you want to linger!
What made you choose Beverly?
I’m always drawn to greens and with our countryside setting, it makes sense to bring the rolling green hills and woodland inside.
I’ve always loved Studio Green but it read too dark in our cottage, so the slightly lighter Beverly is perfect. I would love to do a full room in Beverly! I think it would be so effective, just like how Patrick O’Donnell did for the porch at Fonthill Estate.
How did you find the painting process?
I was sceptical about painting an acrylic bath! But I needn’t have been - it’s been well tested by my two little girls and I can confirm it is very hardwearing.
I lightly sanded the bath with a fine paper, before painting with two coats of a primer from another brand, only because Farrow & Ball currently don’t have a recommended primer for plastic. Then I finished it off with three coats of Modern Eggshell, which I very lightly sanded between each coat. I used a small foam roller, which left a smooth, flawless finish.