The small, dark rooms of this 1850s cottage near have been opened up to create space
Pat and Jake Williams, with their two small daughters Rose (8) and May (13), have always liked the idea of open-plan living. So when they found an 1850s cottage near Tetbury they asked architect Gareth Hughes for advice. “It had lots of small dark rooms which is not at all what we wanted,” says Jake. “But Gareth recommended we buy it and later we had permission to extend it and reconfigure the internal layout.”
The cottage was also very dated – “Very 1970s,” says Jake. “The previous owners had been there for 42 years. And the garden was a jungle.”
“But the location is great as it’s on the edge of the village, really quiet and we often see foxes and pheasants,” says Pat. “At the same time it’s really easy to get to other places.”
The family had been renting a place in Tetbury and, when faced with all the work their new home needed, they stayed where they were for another year. “It was going to be virtually uninhabitable,” says Jake. “In 1906 – to go by the date stone in the master bedroom – previous owners had added a two-storey extension,” says Pat. “But it wasn’t a great use of the space and didn’t really flow in our opinion. Also we wanted a much more open-plan design for the cottage. Plus it also needed completely rewiring, replastering and replumbing so that meant gutting it back to the stonework.”
One of the biggest jobs was to raise the roof so that they could move the whole of
the front wall to the left of the front door forward by two metres. This was to create more space in the small sitting room. They also had to partly re-roof so they took some of the original tiles at the back of the house to use at the front. Then they bought reclaimed tiles for the back.
“They don’t quite match but they will eventually with weathering,” says Jake. Then two storm porches were built over the front and back doors by Chris Elliott of Elliott Brothers of Tetbury.
Downstairs the builders knocked down a number of walls, removing a larder room in the process, to create a large bright and airy kitchen-sitting room with separate dining room. They also turned an existing downstairs cloakroom into a utility room and created a new w.c. next to it.
Then they took out the old staircase and put in a new one made of oak in a different position. New matching oak flooring was laid throughout. “We wanted to save money by buying unfinished oak boards and staining them ourselves,” says Jake. “But in the end we had to ask a company to finish the job for us.”
Upstairs a corridor was taking up too much room and the bedrooms were too small so they redesigned the layout, adding an en suite shower room to the existing
‘The location is great on the edge of the village and we often see foxes and pheasants’
‘We inherited some nice mature trees and have now created a wildflower meadow at the end of the garden’
”We installed underfloor heating in the bathroom and shower room,” says Jake. “We have a gas combi-boiler for the central heating and hot water. However as there’s no gas supply to our cottage we’ve had to bury a huge tank for propane gas in the front garden.”
One bonus was the house came with a cellar which the couple had damp-proofed. “It’s made a lovely wine-store,” says Jake. The couple then chose Woodchester Cabinet Makers to design, make and fit their new kitchen which consists of Shakerstyle cabinetry painted in Ammonite by Farrow & Ball with worktops of Nero Africa Impala Antique granite from the Bristol Marble & Granite Company.
RIGHT: The newly-built oak staircase is in a different position from the original and was built by the Elliott Brothers. The Williams bought the unfinished matching oak floorboards and stained them before the builders installed them. The chandelier came from Willow Munroe in Tetbury, and all the family photos were taken by Jennifer Henry
TOP: Woodchester Cabinet Makers designed and made all the kitchen units which are hand painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Ammonite’. The Nero Africa Impala Antique granite worktops are from the Bristol Marble & Granite Company. The pendant lights are from Ocean Lighting, and the clock from French Grey in Tetbury.
ABOVE LEFT: Woodchester Cabinet Makers handmade the large oak table and cabinetry for this room. The table has a maple top with a hand-applied Danish oil finish, and the cabinetry is hand painted in Paint & Paper Library ‘Marble II’. The dining chairs are from Neptune, two in a Henley design and six in Sheldrake.
ABOVE: All the blinds, curtains and many of the cushions were designed and made by family friend Sarah Hardaker, and the woodburner is from Elcombe Fire & Wood in Stroud
BELOW: The bed, the tall white buttoned headboard and the side table are all from The White Company. Family friend Sarah Hardaker painted the flower pictures as well as designing and supplying all the blind and curtain fabric, the wallpaper and many of the cushions in the house. The lime bedspread is from Christy, and the pillowcases and cushion are from House of Fraser.
LEFT: The couple had the height of the original fireplace raised, then exposed the old stonework on the chimney breast. The armchair is from Laura Ashley