Blog Archives

Over Indulgence

Sep
2011
20

posted by on Black and white, Cottage renovation, Herefordshire, Holiday cottage, Uncategorized

Shopping is a bit like food – great if you can enjoy and savour occasional indulgences but one big blow out can leave you feeling a little queasy.

At the moment there’s some high-impact activity on the credit card front. It’s amazing how much there is to buy when refurbing an old place – the things that you can’t see any ‘added value’ from but are essential all the same – cabling, plasterboard, decorating materials etc. And then there are the big purchases….

We thought long and hard about what we wanted Peel Cottage to be – chocolate box on the outside and ‘contemporary eclectic’ on the inside. Now I know that sounds very Laurence Llewelyn Bowen but it’s easy to do the quaint and cosy and feel as though it’s a contrived interpretation of a rural idyll rather than the real thing.

Also, it has to be said that Peel Cottage is rather on the ‘bijou’ side and clutter would make it feel as though the interiors could close in on you. So, we have opted for clean lines and a modern feel with a few traditional pieces of furniture thrown in to add our character to the place.

Shopping is of course not without its problems. There has been much gnashing of teeth in the last couple of weeks over an online purchase which failed to turn up on day of delivery.

Towards the end of the day, a phone call – no stock left, no stock expected to arrive – alternative an inferior product, take it or leave it!

We are now in discussions (not easy) with the said retailer to get them to provide something of the same spec and quality of the item which was sooooo carefully chosen.

The name of the retailer – Curry’s. What was I saying about shopping and food? A case of indigestion and not easily stomached!

The shell seekers

Sep
2011
12

posted by on Black and white, Cottage renovation, Herefordshire, Holiday cottage, Uncategorized

An empty shell

An empty shell

It was a bleak vision. Opening the door of our little cottage for the first of our progress checks on Saturday we were met with a gutted shell – layers peeled back, dark and unwelcoming, a pool of water dripping on to what should be the kitchen floor.

We’ve been here before when refurbishing property – looking at the carcass of a property and trying the dispel ‘the fear’ – and the rational person in me knows that this is just a stage that you have to go through to prepare your canvas for the wonders of the aesthetic finish.

But with the rain pouring down outside and the drip from the bathroom pipes falling inside, it made me wonder what we had taken on and whether it was such a great idea.

The gutted bathroom

The gutted bathroom

My maudlin moment was broken by the bright tones of Gill, our neighbour from across the court, who came bearing gifts – harvest fare of runner beans and apples. She caught sight of our dark little shack and offered us some Herefordshire hospitality – a hot cup of tea and freshly baked scones in the warmth of her lovely cottage across the way.

Fed and watered, hubby and I then made our way to Hereford to collect more builder’s supplies and make a return journey to drop them off before heading homewards.

It was 20.50 when we left, driving into the black of a premature night. They say it gets darkest before dawn – let’s hope for a little light on the horizon.

posted by on Black and white, Cottage renovation, Herefordshire, Holiday cottage, Uncategorized

Fans of Man About the House and the Good Life look away now. The 1970’s decor of Peel Cottage is now a thing of the past. Its burnt umber tones, highly present in the kitchen with painted cork tiles and matching units were swept away with the arrival of a skip and our builder, Darren, on Monday.

The kitchen that was

Mmm nice colour scheme

We are already talking about the new colour palette but there’s a bit of work to do before we reach the stage of applying it. I have already entered the zone of sleepless nights, my mind autoplaying the pros and cons of heating alternatives – wet, night storage or under floor – for a property without mains gas supply.

And then there’s the beams. I’ve never lived in a house with exposed beams. Inside the cottage they’re stained, dark but not painted and various states of finish and quality. I have Googled but not really gained any great wisdom on how to return them to their natural glory. There’s a bit of remedial repair needed – places where they’ve been exposed to a bit of water – but nothing major. All thoughts gratefully received!

However, my cyber searching did provide me with enough knowledge to avoid making the cardinal sin… So when it was suggested that we paint them black…thank you Darren but no!

Turning the key

Sep
2011
05

posted by on Black and white, Cottage renovation, Herefordshire, Holiday cottage, Uncategorized

We are now the official ‘owners’ of a chocolate-box cottage in Dilwyn, Herefordshire. I say owners, of course that’s really the building society, but we have happily taken on the custodianship of 300+ years of history with the intention of refurbishing it for our very own holiday home.

It is a bijou residence, a cosy bolt hole, that will provide us with a haven of calm and a friendly community within our ‘spiritual home county’.  But before we can nestle in, there’s quite a bit of work to do. We began this journey at the weekend when we collected the keys, crossed the threshold (more of this later) and stood amid the 1970’s interior trying to imagine the end result.

The Cottage

The Cottage

When we initially viewed the cottage a couple of months ago, we tried to see past the orange paint work, parfum des chats and numerous cobwebs and envisage its potential.

Legal exchange on Thursday and completion on Friday saw us standing in our empty shell by Saturday, the previous occupier vacated (although the cobwebs still present), we took the opportunity to gather a few crucial measurements to help our plans get off the ground.

Hubby decided to carry me across the threshold – the ultimate romantic gesture, especially after 15 years of marriage – and has since been seen rubbing his back at every opportunity.

I hope this is not a portent of the burden which we may carry into the future!