REN­O­VATED PROP­ERTY

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS -

A sym­pa­thetic trans­for­ma­tion has en­sured the in­tegrity of two ad­join­ing 16th-cen­tury cot­tages re­mains in­tact.

“My first job was as a brick­layer,” says Do­minic Jude, “and know­ing how to build houses has been use­ful ever since.” His as­sess­ment of his ex­pe­ri­ence is some­thing of an un­der­state­ment as, along­side own­ing sev­eral prop­er­ties in Cheshire and Lon­don, it is rare for Do­minic not to have some kind of build­ing project on the go. In 2014, he de­cided to ac­quire a hol­i­day home be­side the sea. How­ever, af­ter care­ful thought, the prospect of the time he would spend reg­u­larly trav­el­ling be­tween Cheshire and Lon­don de­terred him. In­stead, he redi­rected his en­er­gies into look­ing for a house in the rather more con­ve­niently sit­u­ated Cotswolds.

Do­minic smiles as he de­scribes the vil­lage prop­erty he even­tu­ally found. “You can’t re­ally call it a cot­tage; a cot­tage doesn’t usu­ally have six bed­rooms, two stair­cases and nearly an acre of gar­den,” he says. “This was orig­i­nally two cot­tages, though; they were empty when I bought them and in se­ri­ous need of at­ten­tion.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, Do­minic was able to draw on his ex­pe­ri­ence and build­ing com­pany con­tacts to help him with the over­haul of the heat­ing, plumb­ing and elec­tric­ity, and to ob­tain listed build­ing con­sent for an ex­ten­sion. For ex­pert ad­vice about the in­te­ri­ors, how­ever, he turned to Irene Gunter, an in­te­rior de­signer he had dis­cov­ered some years ear­lier at The Inch­bald School of De­sign. He had in­ter­viewed the then fi­nal-year stu­dent and liked her opin­ions, and they have worked to­gether on sev­eral projects since.

“The cot­tages were built in the six­teenth cen­tury,” Irene says, “and Do­minic and I wanted to use ap­pro­pri­ate ma­te­ri­als to ren­o­vate them. We had many dis­cus­sions about wood and stone, and about the fin­ishes that would en­sure the in­te­ri­ors felt au­then­tic. Do­minic is very hands on and of­ten works along­side his crafts­men,” she says. “When we had de­cided

to use a par­tic­u­lar rus­tic plas­ter fin­ish for the walls, we talked to the plas­terer about it but, to be ab­so­lutely cer­tain, Do­minic showed him how to work the fin­ish him­self.”

Do­minic took an ac­tive role again, when he and Irene were try­ing to find a quarry that could sup­ply stone with the un­even “pil­lowed” e≠ect of­ten seen on stone floors af­ter cen­turies of wear. The lo­cal quarry doubted it could be done, so Do­minic honed a slab him­self and went back to them with it. “They took on board what I wanted,” he says, “and worked the slabs by hand so that each is unique.” Dam­aged wood floors were also re­placed and new boards fixed with forged iron nails cor­rect to the pe­riod of the build­ing. “When you walk into the cot­tage now,” Irene says, “the es­sen­tial ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments are con­sis­tent.”

Mak­ing sense of the com­plex lay­out that spans the two cot­tages was an­other chal­lenge. The build­ing is listed and Do­minic was not al­lowed to re­move the par­ti­tions that di­vide three of the rooms on the ground floor. To re­solve this, Irene sug­gested they fit the kitchen into the small­est room, in the cen­tre of the three, and put a sit­ting room on ei­ther side: one known as the snug, and the other a fam­ily room with large so­fas and a tele­vi­sion.

Con­cern for ar­chi­tec­tural pro­pri­ety has not in­hib­ited fur­nish­ing de­ci­sions, how­ever. An in­stinc­tive nod to 16th-cen­tury in­te­ri­ors is given by Irene’s choice of tex­tiles, both linen and wool, which com­bine suc­cess­fully with en­caus­tic tiles and con­tem­po­rary light fit­tings.

The re­fur­bish­ment took 18 months to com­plete and Do­minic de­scribes his new home as the per­fect place for en­ter­tain­ing ex­tended fam­ily and friends. He adds, some­what wryly, that “given a choice be­tween the Cotswolds and Lon­don’s King’s Road, my teenage chil­dren will usu­ally choose the lat­ter”. That aside, for Do­minic the most im­por­tant thing is that his re­stored home has met his brief. “I didn’t want it to look as if it had been de­signed with­out recog­nis­ing the kind of build­ing it is.”

GUEST BATH­ROOM

A dy­namic choice of strong op­pos­ing pat­terns on walls and floor cre­ates a con­tem­po­rary feel (above), while the basin adds an in­dus­trial edge. Alape Ag.con­tra 505 basin,

£99.60, YDA, york­shiredesign as­so­ciates.co.uk.

KITCHEN

A cush­ioned win­dow seat (above left) of­fers a softer con­trast to the bold tex­tures of the re­claimed wood cab­i­nets, work­sur­faces in Bel­gian Blue lime­stone and the stone floor. Shear wall light, £435,

Bert Frank, bert­frank.co.uk.

Win­dow seat cush­ion in Ex­pe­di­tion Mont Blanc, £185m, de Le Cuona, dele­cuona.com.

UTIL­ITY ROOM

This com­pact space has been painted white to help make the most of the light from the small win­dow, while dec­o­ra­tive yet prac­ti­cal floor­ing echoes the strong blue on the cab­i­net doors.

Cab­i­nets in Hague Blue, Es­tate Eggshell, £43.50 for 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball, far­row-ball.com.

Ce­ment en­caus­tic tiles 10131, £88.80sq m, Mo­saic del Sur, ce­ment-tiles.com.

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