Behind the scenes at the Rumah Home Tearoom and B&B in Coxwold
PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 October 2019
Copyright Kevin Gibson Photography Ltd
For many the notion of running a chocolate box B&B in a rural village is the epitome of living the dream.
For Liz Attwooll a family tragedy made it more of a 'needs must' decision when her husband died suddenly five years ago, leaving her with two teenage daughters to take care of.
She had lived close to the village of Coxwold in North Yorkshire (not far from the hooves of the famous White Horse on the hill) and two years ago opened an interior store there called Rumah Home.
Rumah means 'home' in Malaysian and Liz's choices of interior finds for the store reflected her passion for eclectic fabrics and textiles - she has a degree in floristry and textiles.
Earlier this year she saw that the long-standing Coxwold Tearooms and B&B opposite Rumah Home was for sale. She bit the bullet and upped sticks to make the short journey to a new home for her business and a new life for herself as B&B host extraordinaire.
The sweet B&B, called the school house, was formerly, she thinks, the village headmaster's house. It's a low-ceilinged, charming honey-coloured property with nooks and crannies, flagged floors and serious fireplaces.
She has three letting bedrooms and a holiday cottage. You sleep on Egyptian cotton bedding and enjoy organic toiletries in the rooms which are surrounded by gorgeous grounds and in prime position on Coxwold's pretty main street.
It's all very inviting even before you sample home-made cakes and 'moonshine' alcoholic icecream!
Liz has been helped with the venture by daughters Mia and Olivia and friend Jackie, who has worked in the tearoom for some years.
It has been a labour of love and there's never a spare moment, says Liz.
'It's a non-stop round of cooking, baking Victoria sponges and cheese scones, making beds, settling tables and sorting bookings.'
The team loves to celebrate local produce and use it as much as they can for breakfast, tearoom lunches and afternoon teas.
'It's really hard work and has been a steep learning curve but great to be able to meet and chat to people who come and stay,' says Liz.
Her creative eye and love for interiors is apparent throughout. In one of the bedrooms an antique school desk acts as side table alongside chairs decked with flamboyant on-trend fluffy cushions. She has great taste and brings a contemporary feel to the long-lived building with tearoom furniture painted in soft muted shades contrasting with the use of bold colour - such as the shade Goblin by Little Greene paint - on wall panelling.
The tearoom and accommodation, which is dog-friendly, has period charm with a subtle and slick hint of 'vintage-meets-now' appeal thanks to Liz's approach to creating an interiors look matching eclectic pieces with heritage finds. There's a touch of the unexpected which is refreshing.
'I love going to auctions and finding things that work for the shop and the café - people can see things as they sit and have a coffee.
'We have a gorgeous country garden and I do Christmas wreaths and have a Christmas shops with decorations.
'I want the shop to have different things which are reasonably priced.'
You'll find jewellery from Istanbul alongside locally-made treasures, from throws to candles to artful lamps and lanterns, cushions, delicious diffusers and beautiful cards.
'Little touches and important details make the difference,' says Liz. u
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