Twenty First Century Cotswolds Book Review

Culture / Books
Teodora Cozma
On Sep 11th, 2020
Book Club

This September we are introducing you to the review of “Twenty First Century Cotswolds” book where incredible photography and interior design ideas allow you to escape the city life. Find inspiration from nature and vintage repurposed objects in the interiors redesigned by Pippa Paton.


There is magic in moving away from the screens that surround us and having a book in our hands. Discovering the “Twenty First Century Cotswolds” book during the lockdown was a fresh breath of air for anyone trapped in the concrete jungle.

The book has proven more than just a one-time browse, as I have returned to it from time to time, during the past months to dream of rolling hills and the tranquil spaces designed by Pippa Paton. The book is lovely edited, and the photography allows the reader to immerse into the magic of the English countryside in Cotswold.

The “Twenty First Century Cotswolds” book is a window to the Cotswold houses and barns, where Pippa Paton transforms the traditional into modern living spaces, through the redesign of the interiors. The reader can explore the beautiful transformations of 19th and 20th century barns, the renovation of historic Grade II listed manor houses and the redesign of the famous Lady Gay boat, part of the flotilla of revered Dunkirk Little Ships. The book is your perfect starting point to understand how a historical and traditional Cotswold cottage can become a modern home in the 21st century.

Pippa Paton is a multi-award winning, international recognised interior designer and spatial planner. She is the founder and design director of Pippa Paton Design.

Pippa Paton has been restoring and transforming 19th and 20th century barns and farmhouses to bring them back to life while acknowledging the building’s origins. Her projects, which from the outside look like everyday Cotswold cottages, surprise the reader with minimalist interior designs, modern elements inspired by the natural environment and reshaped vintage items.

If you want to immerse yourself into the English landscape, you do not need to travel far from London. Cotswold is a rural area located in the south-central part of England covering parts of 6 counties. The area is characterised by the distinctive limestone towns and villages. One of the defining features of Cotswold architecture is the recognisable creamy to honey coloured stone buildings and walls. The stone has been quarried from the oolitic limestone beneath the picturesque landscape.

Contrasting Elements

Throughout the book, the reader explores the contrasting elements used in Pippa Paton designs, starting from the original purpose of the properties to the modern function they perform nowadays. The early purpose of the Cotswold cottages was to function as barns, coaching sheds, stables and outbuildings, but not as dwellings in a modern world. In the 21st century it has become less uncommon for Pippa’s clients to request technology and luxurious amenities, spa-like bathrooms, underfloor heating, open-plan and minimalist loft-style homes inside the limestone walls.

The photography of the finished renovation projects show striking contrasts between the immaculate white, sharp lines of steel or glass and the Cotswold stone walls or the eye-catching oak trusses and purlins. The 19th and 20th century barns show original trusses highlighting against white ceilings, traditional and ancient agricultural tools offset by luxe detailing and industrial chic furniture. Beautiful examples of ancient pieces such as a threshing board embedded in a glass coffee table emphasise the contrast between old and new.

“The main theme of this book however is the passion to preserve the area’s history, architecture and buildings whilst making them relevant to 21st century living.”

Pippa Paton

Awakening and Repurposing

The cottages were restored to show off original features such as the stone walls and original timber. Excavated glassware, pottery, agricultural tools and rusty horseshoes were brought back to life and used as decoration.

Examples of repurposing vintage objects and giving them a new life can be noticed throughout the book such as the vintage skittles becoming part of the chandelier in a main hall, a stable door used as a shower screen in the bathroom, the barn’s old door and frame repurposed as mirrors.

Inspiration from Nature

The redesigned projects in the book showcase elements borrowed from nature, carefully integrated into the interiors. For instance, the modern bath filler was inspired by the river valley which the bathroom overlooks, and the silver birch branches are used as posters at the end of the bed.

We hope we have raised your interest in uncovering the fabric of the redesigned Cotswold cottages with the “Twenty First Century Cotswolds” book by Pippa Paton. These glorious stone buildings and the tranquil interiors merge the old and the new for the modern families that demand functionality and ease of living while preserving the historical properties.

Next month the #DHBookClub is taking inspiration from Alexandra Shulman’s book on “Clothes and Other Things That Matter”. We will delve into the emotions associated with our clothing choices and how keeping up appearances can have a profound impact not only at individual level, but also on society.


Did you enjoy this article? Join our newsletter by typing your email down below to receive the latest Dorian House Magazine publications directly into your inbox.