A major restoration created the perfect weekend retreat – and the dogs love it!
THE PAINSTAKING RESTORATION OF SUE KAVANAGH’S COTSWOLDS COTTAGE HAS RESULTED IN A WEEKEND RETREAT PERFECT FOR GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL
their holiday home in the Cotswolds was a fluke for Sue Kavanagh and her husband, Peter. ‘Peter suggested we take a break in the country with the dogs,’ says Sue, ‘so we decided to go to an unspoilt Cotswolds village where we could rent a property that took dogs. I noticed one house in particular, which I thought was really attractive. When we got home, I went online to see what houses were for sale in the area and the following week the one I’d spotted came on the market!’
It was love at first sight for Sue and Peter once they went to view the cottage – but there were obstacles. ‘It was pretty with lots of original features and two woodburning stoves, but it was a very tired property. We knew it was going to be a lot of work to restore, but Peter loves a project.’
Builders eventually undertook a renovation that lasted six months. The house was gutted and everything replaced, including the floors. ‘Only the stairs are original,’ says Sue.
The couple also employed an architect to design a two-storey extension comprising a kitchen and an en-suite bedroom, plus an annexe in the garden.
A new roof had to be added to the main house as the old one leaked, and the house was rewired, replumbed, replastered and new heating put in, with underfloor heating downstairs. New windows were also installed and the downstairs bathroom
was refurbished. Work was undertaken outside, too. Soil was removed from the split-level garden, which was then terraced and landscaped. A pond was filled in and an annexe for guests built in its place. ‘My mum comes to stay quite a lot and we needed it for friends and family when they visit,’ says Sue.
The amount of work done to the cottage was nerve-racking for Sue. ‘My biggest fear was that it wouldn’t be the place
I fell in love with,’ she says. ‘But I’ve always liked the country farmhouse look and I wanted to create a similar feel with this interior. The oldest parts of the house are the living and dining rooms so I was keen to create a cosy feel in the living room and a more classic look for the dining room. We kept the kitchen light and airy with pale Shaker-style cabinets.
‘I love a neutral palette and I like to use linen fabrics. I’ve incorporated a country theme throughout with chicken motifs in the kitchen, stags in the dining room and in the annexe a nod to hunting. The walls and furnishings are neutral and I’ve added in colour with curtains and rugs.’
Sue is so keen on her Cotswolds cottage that she’d like to move there permanently. ‘But Peter only has a five-minute commute to work – so it won’t happen for a while! We spend as many weekends as possible here, walking the dogs. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted and more.’
Kitchen Shaker-style cabinets create a traditional country look. Units, Chris Harwood Furniture, painted in Limestone by Neptune. Range cooker, Falcon. Blind fabric, Bow House Lifestyle.
The cottage is surrounded by beautiful countryside.
Bathroom Sue gave this space a country look with neutral tongue-andgroove panelling. Bath, similar from Drummonds.
Sue and Peter’s split-level garden was relandscaped and some of it was terraced. Urns, Burford Garden Company.