Project Showcase: The Old School House

Project Showcase: The Old School House

The Brief

This former 18th village schoolhouse has been transformed into the epitome of country chic by interior designer Rachel Cropper of Rachel Cropper Studio. When she bought the house in a village near Bath, it had been lived in by the same owner until her death at the age of 104 and had then been empty for 15 years, so was in a state of some disrepair.

‘The house didn’t have a heating system or an indoor bathroom. It was a complete wreck,’ explains Rachel. She was keen to do a very sympathetic renovation. ‘I didn’t want straight walls and new plaster everywhere,’ she says. ‘It is quite a prominent house in the village, so I was aiming for it to be honest with a calm and natural aesthetic. I did want it to be a little different so I didn’t want a traditional country interior design.’ Natural materials were key to Rachel’s scheme, with stone playing an important role.

The Project

Natural stone paves the way as soon as you set foot in the house as it is showcased in the entrance hall. For this space, Rachel chose Artisans of Devizes’ Tetbury Terracotta Parquet, an earthy, traditional tile with a modern twist that evokes a country aesthetic, as well as providing a warm welcome. Hardwearing and practical, it’s perfect for high traffic areas ‘I chose the parquet because it’s very tactile, and warm,’ explains Rachel. ‘It works really well with underfloor heating and it’s got a lovely feel to it when you’re barefoot. It’s also quite rustic.’ The terracotta parquet is continued through into the study and cloakroom, which was originally a potting shed.

Continuing the practical choice of flooring, Rachel chose Artisans of Devizes’ Islington porcelain tile for the open-plan kitchen, sitting room and dining room. The starting point was the white oiled oak Japandi kitchen by Sola Kitchens that Rachel fell in love with. ‘I’d seen an image of the kitchen and I absolutely adored it - it looked like it was floating on the wall as it didn’t have a base plinth. It was so simple and elegant, and I knew that I wanted a kitchen that was different. The image of the kitchen that I’d first seen had a poured concrete floor and I wanted to replicate that look.’ Rachel recreated a concrete effect with Islington floor tiles, which evoke a modern aesthetic. ‘I was trying to get a look that was as clean as possible and so I laid the tiles with very tight butted joints and resin grout, which means that hopefully the grout won’t stain when the floor is washed.’ Antique clean-lined furniture enhances the pared-back feel, with curved seating inject softness.

The dark grey flooring juxtaposes beautifully with the neutral wall colour. ‘I wanted the look to be fresh and minimal,’ explains Rachel. The room’s vaulted ceiling evokes an airy feel, accentuated by the generous leaded glazing that floods light into the south facing space.

Beautifully veined marble basins are a feature of the interior, injecting elegance and decorative interest in the cloakroom and bathrooms, while the family bathroom features soft pink marble floor and walls tiles reminiscent of the hall flooring, providing a cosy backdrop to the statement freestanding bathtub.

Islington Porcelain


Designer: Rachel Cropper 

Photography: Sarah Button


For more project inspiration browse our Journal

February 16, 2024