“How I made my vintage, cottagecore renovation dreams come true”

Laura Hunter of Instagram account No Feature Walls tell Stylist.co.uk how she transformed her 1930s cottage with William Morris wallpaper, vintage influences and plenty of DIY.

Cottagecore has been one of the biggest lifestyle trends of the last year, but if you thought you knew the bounds to which this aesthetic could be interpreted, think again.

Laura Hunter is the founder of No Feature Walls, an Instagram account which blew up in 2020, shortly after she began renovating an olde English cottage in Henley on Thames in September 2019. 

Her signature style is a nostalgia-infused mix of William Morris wallpaper and repurposed floral fabrics. She daringly layers patterns upon patterns, creating a maximalist feel with a vintage look. She describes her busy but homely style as “Jamaican nan cottagecore” and it’s an aesthetic her followers have come to associate specifically with her.

“I would describe it as a modern cottage,” Laura says of the property she bought nearly two years ago.

“It was built in the 1930s and then an extension was put on about 20 years ago. The extension is in the same style and the previous owner used the same brick and wooden windows, which is really nice. It is located on a residential road within a small village so it’s not completely rural and isolated,” she explains.

It was Laura’s intention from the beginning to have fun creating a different theme for each room. “I didn’t want an open plan space where you end up zoning furniture,” she says. “I loved that there were quite a few rooms that I could create something different with each time and give in to my wallpaper obsession!”

Renovation’s initial inspiration… colours and patterns

“I knew I wanted the house to be filled with colour and pattern, but initially I didn’t have a colour palette in mind. Over the last year I have developed this to suit my style and have worked on the flow of the house so it all joins up. 

“I adore a vintage, cottagey lifestyle and I also love florals. I think this was always the case, even when I was a little girl, but it’s definitely developed since we moved in here and to this particular village in the countryside.

“I wanted it to be a family house, but I wanted it to reflect my personality. I think when you have young kids you tend to decorate with them in mind and that might mean that you end up doing things that aren’t really ‘you’. So a lot of family houses are very functional and plain and people are worried about nice things getting ruined. I think I wanted the kids to grow up with things that were nice and also be respectful of the nice things around them.”

Biggest challenge… renovating the ground floor

“I would have much preferred to have renovated the entire house as one big project because it would have felt less disjointed and I would have found it easier with one vision that follows through the whole house.

“We did the kitchen before we moved in but I’m still working on injecting more colour and pattern into it now and then I think it will be done. The living room is also about to be re-renovated. When we moved in we gave it a once over, but now I’m doing something more long term which is inkeeping with the rest of the house. It’s a good sized room, but it’s one of the most awkward shaped rooms I’ve ever come across in my life and that makes it tricky to do – but I guess interesting.”

Favourite room of the house… bathroom

“At the moment it has to be the bathroom. I love the tiles so much and its such a lovely space to be in. I’ve also just made a sink skirt from some vintage fabric which has added a sumptuous, luxurious feel. I also love that there’s plenty of room to keep adding as time goes on, such as accessories or shelves. It’s done but I feel like it can keep evolving, which is nice.

“It is also one of the only rooms that serves one purpose at the moment – all the others have become multifunction rooms over lockdown. On the one hand it’s great to have the versatility, but the bathroom feels like a little escape from that. Hopefully it wont become a bathroom-cum-office…”

Best DIY moment… headboard cover

“The DIY headboard took the bedroom to the next level. The headboard fabric was part of a deadstock fabric roll which I found from a seller on ebay from the USA. 

“It just worked so well with the pattern running ‘the wrong way’ with the headboard. I am not sure what the fabric is as it came with no selvage edge. I made it as a cover as opposed to an upholstered so it can change if it needs to.”

Laura’s favourite homeware stores:

  • Liberty London

    Built in 1862, Liberty London is an institution that has become known as a treasure trove of the most exclusive and beautiful brands spanning homeware, beauty and fashion.

    Aside from serving as a curation of lovely things, Liberty London is famous for its collection of iconic floral prints. These adore many of its homeware products and are a pretty way to incorporate the brand into your home.

  • Ceraudo

    Ceraudo is a London-based interiors brand from sisters Emily and Victoria who bring together both enchanting vintage pieces and furniture and accessories designed by them.

    The aesthetic is desert pastels, vintage silhouettes and a playful feel. We particularly love their dotty Dolce collection.

  • Morris & Co

    Morris & Co is the home of fabrics, wallpapers and accessories inspired by the archival designs of William Morris, creator of prints such as Strawberry Thief.

    These enchanting patterns look fabulous alone, or as Laura likes them, all piled together for a maximalist look

Laura’s favourite decor accounts for inspiration:

  • Stokey Abode

    Tara Allison may live in a house of boys but she certainly isn’t letting that fact squash her interior design dreams.

    From a pink bathroom to an impeccably styled fireplace, every inch of her house is brimming with decor inspiration.

  • Melissa Asante-Crook

    Melissa Asante-Crook is a master of using moody hues in a contemporary, accessible way. Her experimentation with colour is to be marveled at and her home account provides lots of artsy ideas.

  • Kate Arends

    Kate Arends posts beautiful pictures of her home renovation, giving an insight into how she creates such a multi-layered, lived-in look.

    Expect whimsical patterns, rich colours and a playful back-and-forth between contemporary and vintage aesthetics. 

Images: Laura Hunter / Instagram

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