The cottage

The big works

So next Spring J and I are planning some major works to the cottage. The downstairs space is fairly impractical. The kitchen is an extension to the original building (approximately World War Two era), so there’s that, the lounge, a small dining room (with the downstairs toilet and shower coming off of it) and what is effectionately known as the den. The den is essentially just a widened walk through where we currently house the fridge, freezer and tumble dryer and also have our desk and computer. So we’re going to knock the den, dining room and kitchen all into one and extend a small bit to square it off properly. We also plan to add in a pantry and a small utility room.

That sounds like a fairly simple extension right? But we also need to do extensive remedial work to the cottage. The cottage doesn’t currently have central heating so that needs installing. The windows are pretty poor single glazed numbers so they need replacing throughout. Plaster is literally falling off a number of the walls (see picture below) so they need stripping back and redoing.

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And then all the carpets need replacing as most are threadbare at best. There’s also the slightly bigger problem of the stairs. The original staircase is an enclosed spiral one. Which is very cottagy and all but unfortunately ridiculously impractical. When we were clearing this place before we moved in we ended up having to break apart some of the furniture as it simply wouldn’t go down the stairs. And in fact we weren’t able to get a significant number of our own pieces of furniture upstairs as they wouldn’t fit. We’ve had to use one of those Ikea fabric wardrobes in our room as a temporary measure and ours is being stored in the garage for now. So we definitely need to make the staircase more open, therefore we are planning to move it to the edge of the house and have it as a standard width staircase. In doing this thought we will end up with the staircase opening up right into the third bedroom. The third bedroom does actually need a huge amount of work (see picture below) so we are going to end up moving it to where the stairs currently are and creating a dormer window in it to make it more spacious. The spare bedroom will just be that, a room to be used for guests a handful of times a year maximum so it only really needs space for a double bed, bedside table and somewhere for guests to put their cases and some clothes. We had contemplated trying to extend upstairs but it would be such a ridiculous extra cost just for the sake of enlarging a spare room as both our room and C’s room are good sizes. In the end we decided our guests would just have to put up with it!


Add into all this work the fact that the floorboards also need resecuring and some of the beams holding up the first floor need some work and you can see that we’re actually undertaking a fair old job. Oh and did I mention that the cottage is currently not exactly watertight so it needs a new roof. And we may need to rerender the house or something of that ilk. Not exactly the simplest job but hopefully it will be worth it in the end. We will probably end up spending a small fortune on getting it extended and restored, in fact it would actually be cheaper to knock the whole thing down and rebuild. But if we did that we would end up with a house that was just the same as the thousands on the new build estates which are popping up everywhere. And who wants to live in a home identical to everyone else’s?

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