By Hanna Flint
As a romcom aficionado and film journalist, The Holiday is a Christmas movie that seems particularly designed for my enjoyment. The careers of its heroines — Kate Winslet’s English society columnist Iris and Cameron Diaz’s American movie trailer producer Amanda (main picture above) — certainly struck a chord, but what I find endearing is the idea that a person might find the comfort they need in another’s abode.
Fans of film writer and director Nancy Meyers will know how integral home interiors are to her brand of storytelling, and The Holiday, which she made in 2006, is no exception.
Iris and Amanda are two women from opposite sides of the Atlantic who are both in need of an escape from the romantic drama in their lives so, on a whim, arrange to exchange properties for the holiday season. Iris goes to Los Angeles to stay at Amanda’s Tuscan-style mansion but, while I do covet the movie producer’s swimming pool, expansive DVD collection and electric blackout blinds, it is the cosy English cottage in which Amanda spends Christmas that is simply dreamy.
Admittedly, a good portion of my fantasy might be down to the fact a drunken Jude Law (who plays Iris’s brother Graham) might saunter through my door at any given moment. Still, even without the promise of Mr Napkin Head (a character Graham plays for his daughters), Rosehill Cottage, Iris’s Surrey home, is a pretty magical place.
Rosehill Cottage is a film set said to have been inspired by the real-life Honeysuckle Cottage in the Surrey village of Holmbury St Mary. The house boasts a pretty front garden, rustic roof tiling, pale green wood window frames and decorative vines hugging the stone facade. Throw in a healthy dusting of snow and you have the perfect Christmas card image.
Inside, the cottage is just as charming, even if it was built on a soundstage in California. The exposed brick, beams and wood joinery are luscious, as is the open-plan downstairs filled with mismatched furniture and rugs that make it feel warm and welcoming without looking cluttered.
With fireplaces upstairs and down plus a deep, roll top bathtub to sink into, there is a lot to love about this quaint homestead even if it takes time for Amanda to adapt. When she does, the simplicity and solitude that the cottage provides give her time to discover what she really needs and wants from life.
It is an alluring concept. If life in the country looks this good inside and out, it might be worth the commute into London for a card-carrying city dweller like myself who works from home anyway.
Knocking out a film review on my laptop in front of an open fire at this lookalike three-bedroom cottage, hiding on its own land in the Surrey Hills, is an attractive prospect. Recently renovated and on the market for offers over £1.65m, it similarly offers exposed beams, a freestanding bath and an open plan kitchen and lounge area.
Or if I wanted to match the palatial size of Amanda’s LA home, but retain a quintessentially English feel, this 1930s house with a mock Tudor facade, wood panelling and feature fireplaces boasts six bedrooms and three bathrooms. Priced at £3.75m, the property in Esher, Surrey has plenty of space to accommodate a home cinema.
Hopefully I would find all the comfort I need in my own abode; a cottage in the countryside that could be the perfect home for life, not just a Christmas film. A girl can dream!
Photography: Alamy; Moviestore/Shutterstock; Knight Frank