Search
Close this search box.
Search

Rose Thicket — Charmed, We’re Sure

By

Share

Rose Thicket collaborators design a derelict shed to bloom anew as an English-inspired tea cottage

On a Tudor Revival estate in Pasadena, Bee’s Bliss Tea Cottage looks like it popped out of a book by Beatrix Potter but has its own story to tell. Built as a brick shed in 1916, the badly neglected structure was a caretaker’s workshop when Trevor and Justina Freel, the husband-and-wife collaborators of Rose Thicket, transformed it into a thing of natural beauty for the 2017 Pasadena Home Showcase House of Design.

“Our vision was to create an exterior landscape of an English cottage-style forest garden of California native plants and an interior with a structure of traditional Tudor architecture filled with furniture and objects of contemporary Shaker minimalism meets the free spirit of California,” say the Freels. A beautiful, environmentally sensitive space regenerative to both earth and soul.

In not interfering with the building’s historical exterior brick, the Freels maintained its integrity. They did, however, replace the rotted front doors with counterparts of brass leaded glass and a honeycomb-like motif referencing an ever-present theme—bees. Bees to pollinate the California native plants, bees to populate the apiary. “Mother nature is considered in everything that we do,” the duo explain. “We always seek to be with nature, not against nature.” 

This harmony plays out inside cottage, which is small but with entry and sitting areas, a swinging bed and kitchen space. “Behind every object in our design is a craftsman who makes [it] with their hands,” say Trevor (who designed furnishings made with traditional wood joinery) and Justina (who contributed fine-art pieces). The faux timber frame structure is meant to evoke the look of a traditional Tudor building, while natural lime plaster colored with mineral pigments helps to passively regulate humidity and temperature. Electrical lighting is the only trace of technology—by design.

“Many times modern design is removed from nature and therefore can feel cold and sterile,” say the Freels. “With our storybook cottage, we wanted to bring you back to a place you have forgotten.” But will not soon forget.

Photography Courtesy of Allison Maginn  |  rosethicket.com

RELATED TAGS

L’Aviva Home: Craftsmanship at its Best

Initially launched with ottomans and pillows and inspired by the equestrian heritage of Colombia’s coffee-growing region, this series draws upon the area’s expert craftsmanship and fine detailing—stitching, braiding, embroidery, and hand-tooling—that characterize the best of vintage saddles from the area.
  • May 4, 2022
  • Karine Monié

Northern Exposure: The Rock by Gort Scott

Fixed to a rocky crag above Alta Lake in the Canadian mountain resort of Whistler, a truly exceptional private house surveys the mountainous landscape from which it is quite literally inseparable.
  • April 17, 2024
  • Jenn Thornton

Neri&Hu Architects: Making Memory

A contemporary take on traditional Chinese courtyard house by Neri&Hu, a typology based on Confucian ideals where different generations live under the same roof, the structure was built for three siblings, with a memorial garden in tribute to their late mother.
  • April 3, 2024
  • Jenn Thornton

Framing Nature with TEN Studio

A patch of land on Avala Mountain in rural Serbia sets the stage for a gridded, steel-frame structure by TEN Studio.
  • February 7, 2024
  • Jenn Thornton

Betsy Brown & Paul Bates Create a Masterpiece: A Mediterranean Oasis in Alabama

Interior Designer Betsy Brown and Architect Paul Bates joined forces to craft a 5,500-square-foot masterpiece on 2.5 acres, offering a perfect blend of antique, vintage, and contemporary elements. Drawing inspiration from the Italian Renaissance, the residence seamlessly integrates indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a tranquil atmosphere that resonates with nature.
  • January 10, 2024
  • Karine Monié
Sign Up for DIGS Newsletters