Liz & Tim’s Quaint Seaside Cottage & Garden

published Nov 16, 2014
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Name: Liz and Tim Hoad
Location: Worth Matravers, Dorset, United Kingdom
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: 16 years; Owned

In the heart of a picturesque Dorset village on the Purbeck coast, this former shoemaker’s shop has been home to Liz and Tim for 16 years. For many years, Liz, with her love of gardens and the countryside, and Tim, with his love of the sailing and the sea, enjoyed family holidays here. Then on one visit, they found the house for sale, and with its unique history (Tim is the third generation of shoemakers in his family), its location overlooking the village green, a great-sized garden and garage for storing all the sailing gear, it instantly felt like the perfect match.

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Entrance to the garden, with the garden room on the right (Image credit: Cathy Pyle)
(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

For such a pint-sized cottage, the kitchen-dining room is surprisingly spacious — Liz and Tim extended it to create a truly multi-functional area — and light from the garden pours in through the patio doors. Liz loves how the house opens out into the garden, which stops the house feeling cramped and enables a lovely flow of indoor-outdoor living. There’s a central dining table large enough to host get-togethers with family and friends, an Aga that’s used not only for cooking but also for heating the house (there’s no central heating) and drying laundry, shelves filled with vintage crockery, and in the corner, a couple of Lloyd Loom sofas.

From the back of the kitchen, a doorway leads into the comfy sitting room, filled with Liz’s crocheted cushions and throws (Liz says she’s completely “hooked” on her recently-acquired skill of crocheting!), and at the back is a shower-room. The staircase, made from wood from an old church in nearby Poole, leads up from the kitchen to two bedrooms. The master bedroom has views to the sea and a tiny en-suite bathroom, with views over the village green; while the guest bedroom, filled with childhood treasures, is where the grandchildren sleep when they come to stay.

The beautifully-cultivated garden is a big love of Liz’s, and she and Tim make full use of the extra living space it offers — at least, when the unpredictable English weather allows! At the bottom of the garden, by the gate, the garden room’s a fantastic extra space for reading, eating, and crocheting during the summer. And for a week each summer, daughter-in-law Janine Drayson, an artist and illustrator, and ceramicist Eliza Jayne, fill the room with their creations and open the doors to the public for their open studio.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Simple, mixing old with new.

Inspiration: Simplicity, and colour; the way the countryside comes down to the sea, and the light by the coast. I’ve also had lots of inspiration from my friend Sara Sinaguglia who VERY patiently taught me to crochet, and so much of my work has come from her book Simply Crochet.

Favorite Element: The kitchen/dining area looking out to the garden

Biggest Challenge: Using limited space to cater to all your needs, such as storage of sailing gear!

What Friends Say: They’re surprised how much bigger the cottage is inside, and how light it is.

Biggest Embarrassment: When the kitchen extension was finished, we bought extra Mexican tiles to extend the existing flooring, only to find that the sizing didn’t match the old tiles. We then had to dig up the floor so that it could be completely retiled.

Proudest DIY: Tim has made so many items for our home, such as recycling an antique box to make an occasional table and shelves. Except for the sitting room blinds, I have made all the blinds and curtains and crocheted throws and cushions. This all makes it an individual home.

Biggest Indulgence: Stripping out two existing fire surrounds to eventually find the original fireplace and then add a wood-burning stove.

Best Advice: Make the most of your treasures; enjoy your home and use it as a way of expressing yourself and a place to welcome others.

Dream Sources: Heirlooms, bric-a-brac stores and charity shops.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Resources of Note:


  • Kitchen/living area – Farrow and Ball’s White Tie
  • Garden room painted in Farrow and Ball’s Cardroom Green
  • Shower room – Dulux “Jessica White”


  • Table – Habitat
  • Chairs – Smiths Vintage, Swanage
  • Shelves and wall sconces – Country Corner, High Street Swanage
  • Floor painted in Farrow and Ball’s Cardroom Green
  • Crochet cushions/throw handmade by Liz


  • Dining chairs from a shop in Sevenoaks, originally from a convent in Ireland
  • Chair in the corner by the Aga from Liz’s parents
  • Curtains from Vanessa Arbuthnot, Feather & Egg / Raspberry
  • Tablecloth and cushions – fabric from Daisy May, Wareham
  • Lloyd Loom sofas from Smiths Vintage, Swanage
  • Art above sofa by local artist Lynne Wilkes



  • Paint by Dulux (Jessica White)
  • Picture collages (only one pictured) by Janine Drayson


  • Jug from Cilla and Camilla, originally in Dorchester, now in Beaminster, Dorset
  • Plates, Italian and from antique shops


  • Cushions, The Swedish Shop, Sevenoaks
  • Wooden boats, Country Corner, Swanage
(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Thanks, Liz and Tim!

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