“Two contemporary yet comfy barn conversions, hidden on an idyllic farm near the beaches of North Devon (each sleeps 2-6)”
Cast aside your expectations of what rural living should look like; this is country charm for the 21st century. Polished concrete floors run the length of the ground floors, mimicking the barns’ functional beginnings, while neutral white walls reflect light, enhancing a simple layout loyal to the barns' history. If this is all sounds a little too stark, worry not. Soft woven rugs compartmentalise the spaces, woollen blankets dress the beds, and underfloor heating warms every room. Ben masterminded the technology in the cottages, choosing individual temperature controls for each room, high-spec gadgets for the kitchen and Original BTC lights above the dining tables. Just don’t expect phones or flawless WiFi, people come here to escape all that business.
We stayed in Calfshed (sleeps 4), and loved the quartet of glass archways along the beautiful open-plan kitchen-diner, which floods the interiors with light. There's also a cosier raised living space with sofas and a wood-burner. Upstairs, 2 large ensuite bedrooms are dressed with organic super-kingsize beds, White Company linens, neutral drapes and smooth wood floorboards. The master has a shower room and a large square window where the original hay door would have been. The second has a bathtub with overhead shower and can be made up as a twin, with a wooden chest hiding Lego and toys for smaller guests.
The Lambshed (sleeps 6) is of a similar ilk but on a larger scale (and a bit darker inside). You get 3 ensuite bedrooms and a large kitchen leading into a vast single-story living space. The dining table seats 10, there’s an enormous corner sofa facing the woodburner. Every bedroom could be the master, but one is particularly lovely (though it lacks a bathtub to accompany the ensuite shower). The second can convert into a twin, and the third sits on the ground floor with direct access to the barn’s private courtyard.
All the monochrome bathrooms have heated towel rails, thick bath sheets and Somerset-made Bramley handwash; bring your own shower toiletries. Bedrooms have painted chests in muted shades of green and grey, as well as nooks with hooks for clothes (but no wardrobes). Look out for classy nods to the coastal setting - jars of shells, a vintage seascape above the bed.
You’ll arrive to find a delicious homemade cake waiting for you, as well as tea, coffee and fresh milk. After a 2-hour drive, we tucked straight in.
Each cottage has a stunning, amazingly equipped kitchen - no scrambling around looking for a decent bread knife here. Expect a full quota of cutlery, crockery, glassware and cooking utensils - we even spotted mixing bowls. Again, modern and traditional elements have been beautifully merged. A Belfast sink and wooden surfaces sit atop sleek white cupboards, and there's plenty of high-spec equipment: a Smeg cooker, dishwasher and Dualit toaster and kettle. Ecover products (washing-up liquid, dishwasher tablets etc) are hidden under the sink.
This is the kind of place where a night in feels like a treat. Cook up a feast then allow the weather to dictate your dining room. If it’s warm you can dress a table (napkins and candles provided) outside; the Calfshed leads out to a large open courtyard with a table for 6, while the Lambshed has an intimate courtyard garden (table for 10). If the weather’s less accommodating (this is England, after all) congregate the group around your indoor table.
You’re a mile outside the village of Braunton, where there are a few little delis and food shops, as well as a superstore. Basic ingredients like olive oil, salt and pepper are already in the kitchen. If you fancy a change of scene, follow the winding lanes an equal distance in the opposite direction to leafy Georgeham. This sleepy village has 2 lovely pubs, both of which serve up tasty suppers in welcoming surroundings.
This is a great place for a family holiday; our Editor Liz came with her 2-year-old daughter and loved it. Ben and Sarah live on-site with their 2 daughters, and they naturally considered families' needs when designing the cottages.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The Calfshed has 2 double bedrooms, 1 of which can be made up as a twin. The Lambshed is larger with 3 double bedrooms (again, 1 can be set up with twin beds). Both cottages have space for 2 baby cots, and larger groups can book both properties (sleeping 10 plus 4 babies).
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
No stair gates, and stairs are steep