What’s beer-making got to do with interior design?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!

You know how you have to break some eggs to make an omelette?  Well, if you want to make beer, you gotta dry some hops.

And where do you dry hops?

Why, in an oast house, of course!

An oasthouse looks something like this one in Kent, England.


Kent is here:



If you know what I’ve been up to lately, you’ll know that the reason I am writing about oasthouses is that some of them have become residences for Brits…

and as we all know, residences must be decorated, and…

well…you know the rest.


When, oh when will my current obsession end?  Only with the end of the BBC Two series, The Great Interior Design Challenge, comes to an end I fear!  Yes, it is true I love interior design and up cycling old treasures, but what really floats my boat is the tour of fascinating English homes, high and low alike, and the history lessons of British social life and domestic architecture.  I mean, what’s not to love?



But, I do have a couple of dilemmas.

Here’s one: whereas Google images usually has a great selection of images for most things a blogger wants to illustrate, whether it is fabrics by Fortuny or drawings of carnations, for some reason there are very few images online anywhere I can find of the various projects used in The Great Interior Design Challenge series on BBC Two.  And the ones I can find won’t copy, as the folks at BBC Two obviously know how to restrict access to their intellectual property.  I respect that.

So, I am unable to show you any images from the show of the oast houses featured on the series, exteriors or interiors.  None of the images in this post are related to the show. But that’s okay!


Oast house, Herefordshire

Stone and timber-frame oast house interior, Leominster, Herefordshire, England.


Okay, now that I have that info out of the way,  let’s look at some of these crazy oasthouses!

Here’s how they were originally used.

diagram of a typical Oast house in original use


And here are some examples of how these great old structures have been converted for modern life.






And, for a quick primer of the variations in structural matters:





Here are some useful links for more info on British oast houses:




Let’s go: 17th century Cotswold cottages

Think of Britain and an image like this may spring into your mind:


As we continue with our virtual time-traveling tour of the UK–following the path set by the BBC Two show The Great Interior Design Challenge, Season 2–our next stop is the 17th century, where we visit the living rooms of three cottages where the proletariat once lived in rather crowded conditions.

We are visiting this highlighted section of England today:


The cottages look like this on the outside:


Charming, no?

Although originally meant to house many families, four hundred years after they were originally constructed, the cottages have been expanded within  to single family homes.

Despite having larger interiors nowadays, however, the insides are often quite dark and usually centered around a massive fireplace.


Updating with a special eye towards brightening the interiors of living rooms in three similar cottages is the challenge facing the three amateur designers on this episode of my favorite new tv show.

You can find it on Youtube.  It’s a pretty good episode. https://youtu.be/02oB-2KWslE


And, you can read about the Cotswold here, if you are the nerdy type like me:




1920s British beach huts

OMG!  Who knew?!!


Having never lived on the British coastline, I had no idea that these so-called huts even existed.  Built in the 1920s, these darling little buildings make an appearance on that tv obsession I currently have, The Great Interior Design Challenge, on BBC Two.

You can watch the episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/dn0OtnufTC0



Aren’t they sweet?

So, here are some of the interiors.  I want one.




Want to join me?

Here’s a little more into on the place they inhabit:



This is considered to be Britain’s best beach hut:

CO109713_005 hut nb.jpg-pwrt3

Read about it here:  http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/13609885.Mersea_Island___s_Betty_is_Britain___s_best_beach_hut/