Designed to inspire: Heather Halsey and Derek Sieg’s cultivated cottage


Derek Sieg and Heather Halsey went for an eclectic look in their country cottage. Photo: John Robinson Derek Sieg and Heather Halsey went for an eclectic look in their country cottage. Photo: John Robinson
Photo: John Robinson

Heather Halsey and Derek Sieg are equally aesthetically minded people. She’s the Charlottesville editor of The Scout Guide, and he’s a filmmaker. It’s been a whirlwind of a relationship. After a year of dating, they got engaged, although Heather claims “I knew about two weeks in that this was it!” They are getting married this spring, and have been busy setting up the perfect nest: a two bedroom cottage that sits on the property Derek inherited from his late father. While they’ll probably eventually move to “the big house,” this cottage is perfect for them at the moment.

Photo: John Robinson

The space is a culmination of stylish wares, all meaningful and arranged in an artful way. Antiques mingle with taxidermy and casual upholstery to create a warm, layered aesthetic that’s begging to be explored. And out back: chickens, roosters, and even sheep, all of which the couple has gotten themselves. “If you look at our bookshelf, many of them are ‘how to raise farm animal’ manuals! Derek reads them all,” Halsey said.

Our conversation revolved around their inherited pieces from family, the relics from their relationship that are strewn about, and the intentional mixing of things so that the space would feel completely “theirs.”

“That was actually one of the things that brought us together. We love collecting old, antique things with a story behind them. Nothing is matchy matchy.”—Derek

“A real goal was to create a salon gallery, which we did going up the stairs, and we painted it Robin’s Egg blue. I thought Derek was going to break his neck—he was standing on a ladder that was horizontally across the stairs. But it was worth it for the punch it adds.”—Heather

“So much of our things we also inherited from our families. The pieces from Derek’s dad are particularly amazing and meaningful.”—Heather

Photo: John Robinson

“I remember Christy Ford (of And George) said to me, ‘You shouldn’t ever decorate, you should collect,’ and I think that that’s really what we’ve done. Every place we’ve traveled to we have been sure to bring back a piece of art or piece.”—Heather

“I’m not sure I have a favorite color. Scratch that, I really love orange.”—Derek

“I like to buy something that that’s well crafted, high quality once, instead of buying five things that are made well over the course of 10 years and spending twice the amount of money.”—Derek