A Wedding Planners Sanctuary
The moment I stepped foot in this cottage I knew I had to share it with B.LOVED. Katrina Otter is a Wedding Planner, a curator of pretty, my colleague and my friend. This girl has been in my life since 2013 and whilst we’ve had many adventures in that time I still hadn’t quite made the trip up to Cambridgeshire to stay at The Forge, her countryside sanctuary. And a sanctuary it is, it’s as if the quaint cottage is hugging you and welcoming you into its humble (yet super stylish) world.
I fell quite in love with both the house and the quintessentially English village of Hemingford Abbots. Living in the middle of a city can get a little bit much sometimes and this wonderful weekend was a breath of fresh air… Literally. Today Kat’s welcoming you into her home with open arms, come and read her journey with The Forge – it’s all quite romantic!
What do you love most about your home?
The story of how The Forge, a Grade II listed cottage built in 1640, became our home is one of fate. Back in 2011, my Husband Tom, our Victorian Bulldog Betty (just 3 months old at the time) and I spent the afternoon sitting in the beer garden of a quaint and award winning pub in the village of Hemingford Grey, just north of Cambridge. Moaning about the fact that after a year of searching we still hadn’t found anywhere to live in the centre of Cambridge, we decided on a whim (and possibly fuelled by a bottle of wine) to change our property search criteria from Cambridge to properties added in the last 24 hours in Cambridgeshire.
The only property that showed up in the results was The Forge, which also just so happened to be a 5-minute walk from where we were sitting. A phone call later and a short walk along the banks of the Great Ouse river and we arrived at The Forge. We were sold from day dot. Full of charm, history and an incredible amount of character, we knew with absolute certainty that we’d found a place and village to call our home.
Our offer was accepted that day and the owner at the time then invited us over to show us an album she’d made detailing the history of the property and its owners. As we left, she handed us the album and said that it was now our turn to bring a fresh new lease of life to The Forge and all that she asked in return was that we continued to love our new home as much as she did.
For me, this is what I love most about The Forge. The fact that it has always welcomed us in, even before we owned it, and that it has the ability to make anyone who walks through the door feel like they’re at home too.
What has influenced and inspired you in your decor?
Whilst we immediately fell in love with The Forge, the décor (1980’s dusty pastels, chintz and an overload of twee floras) left a lot to be desired. We set to work straight away removing the curtains, vintage wall lights and stripping back the Woodchip Wallpaper. Once removed, we were left with the perfect blank canvas for adding our own personal and contemporary touches, whilst still trying to being sympathetic to the age and character of the property. With a base coat of Farrow & Ball’s Strong White, Cornforth White and Downpipe later we were ready to slowly start buying our first investment pieces.
Since 2008 I’ve been reading and collecting Livingetc which meant that I already had a good understanding of what would work and where to shop. When I’m not working on weddings you’ll often find me whiling away my time in Heals or Neptune or spending countless hours getting lost in online shops such as Nordic House, Rowen & Wren, Graham and Green and Cox & Cox.
Our décor has also been influenced by both our jobs. The Forge has taken shape around my study, work and branding and Tom’s job in construction has also meant that concrete, stone and reclaimed materials are featured throughout.
I couldn’t talk about influences without mentioning the little lady in our lives. Betty, our Victorian Bulldog, means the world to us so you can understandably find Betty influences in most rooms, from our personalised doormat to the bespoke Cupid Collar (from Betty’s modelling session for their new website) adorning our silver stags head.
Which is your favourite room and why?
The Kitchen is without a doubt my favourite room – it’s the first room you enter as you walk into The Forge, it’s the room we’ve changed the most, it has an AGA (it was by far the biggest investment but worth every penny) and it’s the room where we spend our time entertaining guests, cooking and drinking wine. The real reason though why our kitchen is my favourite room is because it’s the room where Tom proposed to me 6 months after moving in together and where I said yes.
What are your favourite pieces and why?
- A statement Anglepoise Original 1227 Giant Floor Lamp – it was one of the first items of décor I ever bought for the house and I love seeing people’s reactions when they walk into our living room for the first time and see it
- The AGA Total Control – tennis racket toast, it’s a game changer!
- The antique spare bed which was built in the room over 100 years ago and therefore can’t be moved so has been passed on between owners with every sale of The Forge. As far as statement items of décor go, this is definitely top of the list and has welcomed our guests, including Mr & Mrs Hla, ever since
- Our dining room table and benches – it’s like they were made for this room. We’ve also recently accessorised them with cushions, bench pads and faux flowers from Neptune and stone candle holders from Tom Dixon (which made a guest appearance in Tropics in the City, a Coco & Kat styled shoot)
- My Covet office desk (home to Katrina Otter Weddings HQ) from Heals
- The Brass Drinks Trolley from Rowen & Wren, home to Tom’s Hendricks Gin and therefore his favourite piece, along with his TV!