Our cottage is an amalgamation of two, late 1800s farm workers’ cottages. The semi-detached one down / one up spaces were converted into a single home in the mid-1900s with a late 1970s side extension. It needs a lot of creative replanning and a whole lot of peeling back before we can start to add materials that contribute to the history and charm of the house.
Finding a coordinated set of appropriate finishes is not easy – especially with supply chains and lead times adding weeks and months to our project program. Just when you find a perfect combination of taps and bathroom accessories, you discover that items are on a 23-week lead time.
So much for moving in by Christmas.
As yet, we still have to appoint a builder, so ordering things this early may not be a wise idea… but inflation is creeping up and products are going out of stock faster than a pandemic-style panic buying frenzy.
However, lists must be made and without further ado, this is our great Cotswold Cottage list of lovely finishes…
The floors are cold concrete slabs on the ground floor and lovely pine planks on the first.
These reclaimed terracotta tiles from Bert and May give a floor a well-worn, authentic feel. These are not tiles that have been reclaimed from some French farmhouse stables, they’re made by re-using old terracotta and forming new tiles. It’s a clever way of giving the new tile a rusticated look.
Use them inside and out – ours will be the finish in our dining room and kitchen and will be used over underfloor heating.
For the living room on the ground floor, we’ll also have underfloor heating with carpet over. In our previous project, we used seagrass and will probably do the same here. Knotistry does a Seagrass Natural Carpet that is cost-effective, hard wearing and eco-friendly.
For the upstairs, we plan on just painting the pine floorboards and in the bathroom, we’ll lay Bert & May’s #01 Brighton Stone™ Square Tile as a neutral backdrop to the tongue and groove walls and ceiling, all painted in Little Green Celestial Blue.
The current kitchen is located in a modern side extension, shaped almost like a triangle with one corner cut off. Awkward. Awkward and small. The local conservation officer has told us we can’t replace the odd-shaped hip roof with a flat green sedum roof and we can’t insulate the space by over-cladding in clapboard timber – too agricultural for this most agricultural of former farmers’ cottages.
So the 1980s concrete tiles on the roof and the fake Cotswold concrete block exterior will just have to stay. Plenty of climbing roses and careful planting will have to provide the necessary screening.
Inside the kitchen, the roof will be opened up to reveal the underside of the hip roof. This will open up the space a little and make it feel more interesting. A new kitchen by British Standard is on order.
An old oil-fired Rayburn range in British Racing Green is a charming leftover from the previous owner but sadly has to go… No one told me how smelly an oil tank and rusting old oven could be. An induction hob and electric oven will have to do the trick.
More to follow soon…