A Cornish cottage transformed in a perfect local style by a designer famed for exotic opulence

A look inside this guest cottage on a West Country estate demonstrates the versatility of its interior designer.

Alidad, the Mayfair-based decorator and one-time specialist in Islamic art and textiles at Sotheby’s, is well-known  for an aesthetic that embraces exotic forms, warm colours and lavish finishes. After decorating a town house in London for some long-standing clients, Alidad was asked to turn his attention to their newly acquired estate on the Cornish coast.

As the main house was stripped to its bare bones, rewired, re-plumbed and redecorated, the family occupied a stone-built cottage and adjoining barn. Once the entire project was complete, the latter became guest accommodation.

‘It’s often assumed that I only do rooms that are layered with opulent fabrics and rich in colour, but much depends on the setting,’ explains Alidad.


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Yet the man himself explains that nothing could be further form the truth, and that each room is treated according to its own merits and potential.

‘My first thought is always to listen to the story of the house and work from there,’ he says.

‘It’s about an instinctive reaction: if it’s obvious that the space should be comfortable and cottage-like, then I respect that. Happily, in this case, the clients felt the same way.’

The brief was to use colours inspired by the nearby coast. Chelsea Textile’s Edelweiss fabric was used on the walls. Working with a palette of muted blues, greys and creams, he combined different patterns in harmonious shades and added hints of yellow in the cushions. ‘It’s these subtle touches that give the room more energy,’ he explains.

To create a feeling of space, a full-height bespoke bookcase was positioned on the back wall, drawing the eyes upwards, while deep sofas and a generous, glass-topped footstool from www.pierrefrey.com result in a welcoming feel.