The Cotswolds is a haven 2 hours from north London. In 2022, we found an unlisted stone cottage, originally built as a terrace of farmers’ cottages. In the 1970s someone bought them and turned it into one house, demolishing the original two staircases and rebuilding the interior in a mid-century English cottage style. Imagine, open plan, fake Cotswold stone, bright green linoleum floor tiles and a concrete block in-fill side extension.
1970s design choices were suspect and the garden, whilst magical, was a tangled mess. This was going to mean stripping back entirely and starting again.
As the cottage was formerly two separate homes, we wanted the external appearance to acknowledge this. Se we are reinstating the two pathways to the front doors with a garden gate at the bottom of the garden and one at the side.
The old porticos were removed and after a bit of research we discovered that the front doors had lost their simple timber and lead canopies. We have restored what might have been there with a simple projecting timber and lead portico.
The 1970s blockwork running around the triangular extension posed the most challenging decision and in the end, we decided to wrap this in traditional timber cladding. This results in the extension being properly distinct from the main house, in keeping with the agricultural aspect of the original use; as farm labourers’ cottages.
The biggest intervention in this project is the heating system. Formerly running off an oil system, there was a large Rayburn oven that supplied the hot water and heating. We have insulated the house completely and installed an air source heat pump.
The insulation upgrade is hidden within a new internal wall cavity and then finished in lime plaster to retain breathability. The old cottage had been sand cement plastered inside which had trapped damp and was showing at the base of walls. With the plaster removed and the new breathable finishes in place, this has eliminated the damp entirely.