For this home tour we take you to a cabin in the woods on the North Norfolk coast of England. Designed by Sarah Morton @blackwoodnorfolk, this woodland cabin brings a sense of nostalgia while embracing contemporary features. We chatted to Sarah about the design process of the Blackwood Air BnB, her inspiration behind it and some lessons she learnt on her journey.
SHOP THE LOOK
Book - Still: The Slow Home by Natalie Walton | Leather loop pendant in natural | Iron towel bar | Merino sheepskin rug | Hemp linen lounge chair | Cotton handwoven cushion in stripe | Black walnut salt & pepper mill | Table glasses in amber
My home story…
My family and I moved out to the North Norfolk coast three years ago and we purchased a 1950’s bungalow on a good plot of clear land within the woodland that sits just up from the sea here. We had a couple of outbuildings most notably a pretty ugly large yellow rendered block that had been used by the previous owners as a garage and workshop. We decided to tackle this first as we thought it would make great extra accommodation for the friends and family we wanted to have to stay. We pretty quickly realised though that in order to renovate to the standard we wanted the building was going to have to work for its keep and so the idea of ‘Blackwood’ as a luxury holiday rental started to form!
What inspired the design of your home?
I have long been inspired by the black charred wood clad cabins you often see in Scandinavia and the setting here in the woods lent itself perfectly to the ‘cabin in the woods’ vibe. I also knew early on that I wanted to have light bright airy interiors but a lot of what I was seeing in magazines, books and online felt a bit too minimal for my taste and lacking in colour. I became really drawn to what I’d call Californian desert interiors and also stumbled on the whole Byron Bay interiors scene initially through following accounts like Courtney Adamo and through that I was introduced to amazing brands like Imprint House, Pampa and Worn to name a few. I couldn’t find anything like this here in the UK so I had to start from scratch using these accounts and brands as inspiration.
What are some of the biggest lessons you've learnt while creating your home?
I found the exterior material choices pretty easy but about half way through the project I became overwhelmed with the interior decisions. I had an enormous Pinterest board and I was still attempting to source my soft furnishings in the U.K. but really struggling to get the right feel. At this point I stumbled across Natalie’s Design & Decorate course and it was a game changer for me. Really quickly I came to recognise the areas where I was trying to combine two different styles that didn’t work together and I was able to visualise how everything was going to flow throughout the house so each room felt connected and was immediately recognisable as Blackwood. I also stopped resisting buying the things I loved from Australia and just put the orders through!
What do you love about your home?
Apart from the location I just can’t get enough of the earthy tones and textures. I’ve filled the house with beautiful pieces of art and handmade pieces that fill me with joy every time I see and touch them.
What do you enjoy about the North Norfolk Coast?
We love being able to get up and just head to the beach spontaneously on a sunny day without having to pre-plan and pack the car up! If you get a blue sky day out of season having the beach completely to yourself is bliss!
What does simple living mean to you?
Spending more quality time with family, walking the dog in the woods and on the beach, cooking and eating together. It gets harder now that the kids are both in the teenage years but we moved here for a more simple life and we have definitely found our version of it.
If you were to have a spare free morning, how would you spend it?
Always on the beach if the weather is good but if not I would have a mooch around the fabulous antique shops we have around us I’m always on the lookout for vintage pieces that could one day work well combined with more contemporary furniture in my own home.
What are three words that best describe your home?
Calm, Earthy, Considered.
What book can you recommend?
I’ve recently enjoyed leafing through Lauren Leiss’s book: Down to Earth. Fiction wise I’ve just finished Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and it was so evocative I felt as though I had been to the North Carolina coast!
— Visit Blackwood Norfolk