There are many reasons to buy a dream home, but a bottle of milk is not an everyday source of property inspiration.

But for Mouse Martin, her move to a beautiful Cotswolds Inkwell Cottage, with chocolate box mullion windows and climbing roses framing the front door, all started when her friend ran out of milk.

‘I was going to get a pint of milk for a girlfriend and took a detour where I saw a little cottage down a country lane,’ she explains.

‘I rang the agents and managed to view it the same day. I had an epiphany [and even though there were 17 people who had viewed it that day] I rang the agents afterwards and put in an offer, not thinking in a million years they would accept, and they rang ten mins later and said you won’t believe it but they have accepted their offer.’

Months later Mouse spoke to the previous owners and they revealed why she was successful. Mouse, who wanted Inkwell Cottage to live in and rent out on Unique Homestays, had another property Filly Cottage advertised on the holiday let specialists, and the vendors had recognised her name and realised their beloved home would be in safe hands.

As a ceramicist and artist, Mouse set about turning the honeyed stone building into an artists retreat, complete with studio in an old goat shed, and local paintings all over the walls. Caran d’Ache coloured pencils sit in antique jars and squidged tubes of oil paints are ready for the next artwork.

‘I fell madly in love with the cottage,’ says Mouse. ‘I slept on the floor for the first two months as there was nothing in it.’

Finished during lockdown of 2020, everything was initially sourced online, both new and antique from places like eBay, then later added to, from a repurposed Champagne riddling rack to lights from a WW2 officer’s mess. Wooden panels in the kitchen are from the Cutty Sark – and no one really knows how, decades or even centuries ago, they arrived there. A gnarly nailed beamed ceiling sits overhead and a mini Aga provides warmth to the flagstone floored room and entrance is via a Tudor door.

The kitchen has a more neutral Portland Stone paint, in contrast to the deep inky blue of the studio, and is more of a cosy hub to the miniscule 46 sq m property.

‘Everything in the kitchen is very cosy,’ says Mouse. ‘The colour is not intrusive and changes colour with the light. It can be grey, green or off-white. The kitchen is very much the kitchen, has lovely light that comes into it. It’s a one-up, one-down Hansel and Gretel house as you would dream a tiny little cottage to be in the cotswolds.’

Mouse now uses the cottage as her personal getaway as well as letting others enjoy it through UniqueHomeStays. ‘It makes me happy. I love to set the scene in the house, give it a theme and make it cosy. You get an inner feeling of when something is absolutely right – and it is a lovely feeling.’

Red teapot

‘This probably came from eBay. It’s my favourite teapot.’

Alternative: Buy this London Pottery farmhouse filter 2 cup teapot for £25.49 from John Lewis.

Green lamp

‘It’s a vintage lamp that comes from another antiques market called The Old Flight House. I love its history, it would probably have come from a WW2 officers mess.’

Alternative: Buy this Lucide desk lamp for £75.99 from Wayfair.


‘It came from a farmhouse in France, via a company called Goose Home and Garden – my favourite for shabby chic style.’

Alternative: Buy this fabulous rustic french blue shelf for £265 from Goose Home and Garden.

Paint: Portland Stone by Little Greene

‘It just has such a cosy feel.’

Buy this absolute matt emulsion for £26 for 1l from Little Greene.


‘They came from Rick Stein. The most expensive mugs I’ve ever bought.’

Alternative: Buy Rick Stein Coves of Cornwall mug daymer bay set, £48, from John Lewis.

Parisian cafe chairs

‘They were bought on eBay and shipped down from Scotland, but really go with the house.’

Alternative: Buy these Slat Back Stacking Dining Chairs (set of four) for £255.99 from Wayfair.

Seventeenth-century cricket table

‘This came from an antiques market in Chipping Norton.’

Alternative: Buy this Welsh cricket table for £950 from Vinterior.

The chocolate cake

‘From Lynwood and Co Cafe, a fantastic local café.’

Buy it from Lynwood & Co Cafe.

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