There’s a unique style to the bright fabrics, and more than a hint of design about the finishing touches: an iPod dock and original artwork on the walls bring the beautiful weathered furniture, well-thumbed novels and crocheted rugs up to date. Through the reclaimed front door, the space is roomy and welcoming, with wood-burning stove and large oak dining table. Bi-fold doors swing wide onto the verandah, a great spot for taking in the river views or sharing a meal on a summer evening.
In the country-style kitchen, Lotte’s background as a nutritional therapist shines through: passionate about food and health, she will leave you some of her favourite local treats to start you off – all delicious. Shelves heave with cookbooks, antique saucepans, and spices whole and ground; the many hobs, Belfast sink and long zinc worktop give you plenty of room, not just to cook, but create.
The king-sized antique French bed, covered in fabulous linen and bright cushions, is curtained off for privacy and the bathroom has both claw-foot bath and separate power shower. Up a ladder (over 8s only), twin beds are just as comfy. A tip: find sketch pads and knitting things in the mezzanine drawers. Lotte, the owner, has thought of everything, and you will enjoy exploring!
The Arc overlooks fields, with poplar on your right, and the house on your left, though feels private thanks to clever screening. Kenneth Grahame is said to have stayed at the Island House, drawing inspiration for ‘The Wind in The Willows’ here. The countryside’s certainly pretty enough – strike out on the footpath to loop around the river, take binoculars to spot rare red kites, or make a beeline for a fine pub, The Crown, just ten minutes’ walk away.
Lotte wanted to take advantage of an idyllic setting and built the Arc as an artist’s cabin on the footprint of an existing building. She is passionate about food and nutrition, and the importance of having a space for yourself to find some inner calm. The Arc is definitely the place to do this – having trained in teaching cookery skills and nutritional therapy, Lotte can even provide you with wholesome, nutritious meals or teach some skills if you would like to learn.
The Arc bathroom overlooks a poplar plantation which was planted by The Forestry Commission after the black poplar was found to be dying out. In the late 1990s, the Environment Agency put in an otter holt at The Island, so if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse. The Island is home to muntjac, a resident kingfisher, red kites, swans nesting, badgers, geese and many other birds.