About Oak Cottage, Thornhill

Oak Cottage is a recently renovated 1 bedroom 1850s cottage in the idyllic village of Penpont, near Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway. The cottage is available for booking through Sykes. Perfect for a couples getaway and dog owners benefit from nearby park. There is a wealth of local history and heritage in Penpont and the surrounding areas and plenty of things to do. If you are a keen walker, love your castles or just want somewhere to escape city life and just "be", Oak Cottage is the romantic escape just for you or two.

Not just Interior Design
- a little bit of Africa in bonny Scotland

The local area of Thornhill and Penpont is rich with historical interest. I discovered Penpont through my adventures in life and when I was looking to invest in a holiday let. I discovered Oak Cottage, which was previously known as 1 Princes Street. I renamed the cottage to reflect the strong character of the property, the journey from renovation project to completion and the use of Oak throughout, when I designed the interior. The cottage is 1850s built with a 1980’s kitchen and bathroom extension and was renovated in 2019.

When I had been researching the area, I was delighted to discover that Joseph Thomson was born in the village. The cottage where Joseph Thomson (the explorer whom the Thomson Gazelle was named after) is now the village post office. I was thrilled to visit the “post office” one day to take a look. I was instantly met with African Artefacts and a lovely postman from Zimbabwe and we had an inspiring conversation where I learned about the JT Maasai Trust. Some of the artefacts were not too dissimilar to my own African artefacts (as your host was born in South Africa), which I inherited from my late father. I was born in South Africa in the 1980’s and lived in the R.S.A during the time prior to Nelson Mandela coming into power and during the apartheid.

I have decided to include my African artefacts as part of the interior design of the cottage and to invite you to discover more about the local and not so local history of the area. I designed the interior to reflect the era of the cottage, with Art Deco Furniture and modern takes on Victorian design.

One of the projects I have set up in the cottage for your enjoyment, relaxation or simply as a rainy-day activity: is a guest art-board (the cork board on the wall) so that if you are feeling creative you can produce your own artworks to take home or display in the cottage. I hope to gather works by guests as a joint art project.

If you don’t fancy having a go at this, I have also designed a mindfulness colouring sheet of the cottage with references to the local history. The bicycle reflects the local history at Kier Mill where it is argued one of the first bicycles was invented, by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, if you are looking for a short walk, his grave is just a short walk from the cottage. The books taking flight reflects the famous poet Robert Burns who was born and is buried in Dumfries. The Zulu shield reflects my connections with Africa and the Thomson Gazelle, Joseph Thomson the great explorer of Africa.

I have put in place an honesty box for the materials, with proceeds going to the Joseph Thomson Maasai Trust, a local charity organisation that your host is involved with.
Some of the projects supported by the JT Maasai Trust is for young girls to receive an education, to escape abuse and poverty in Kenya. As a teacher by profession and my links with Africa, where education was seen as a privilege in the R.S.A and my mother paid for me to go to school, it has been important for me to get involved with this charity to reduce education inequality.

I invite you to learn more about the JT Maasai Trust at the post office and online at;

I have also included design elements by wider initiatives for reducing education inequality including toilet twinning and pieces by Rwenzori. The fruit bowl is designed by Rwenzori whose design ethos is to create “Beautiful handmade pieces, helping support women in the poorest communities send their children to school” (Rwenzori, made to do good in Uganda).

Oak Cottage toilet is twinned through the Toilet Twinning charity click here to find out more about toilet twinning.

I hope you enjoy your stay, finding out about the rich local history and the interior design- a little bit of Africa in bonny Scotland.