Welcome to our little Welsh cottage. We have been living in our cottage for 10 years and have been renovating it whilst living here. We believe our cottage is around 350 years old, which is fairly old for a cottage in our area. As records don't tend to go back very far, we will never know for sure. We have delved into its history, however I don’t think we will really know what it looked like in its very early stage. It could have even been just one single room. Who knows!
What we do know, is that we have spent a lot of time and effort, along with much love and dedication to get it to where it is today. Our cottage is a very big part of our life and it needs to be maintained and looked after. Since owning it, we have learnt a lot about Welsh cottages and now have a much larger appreciation for architecture and Welsh vernacular buildings.
Starting off with perhaps the best view of the cottage, the living room. The inglenook fireplace is the focal point of the cottage. It's where all of the cooking would have been done in years gone by and would have been their main heat source. We have uncovered many of the features seen below that were hidden behind ply wood and plasterboard. We have tried to it bring it back to how we feel it could have looked originally, with some modern and contemporary comforts.
Previous owners had laid a laminate floor and we are sure it looked really lovely for the first few years of its life. However the cottage floors were damp, there were obviously issues that needed to be overcome and laminate flooring and damp floors sadly don’t mix. Over the 10 years of living here, it was constantly lifting up, so we knew something had to be done. We are also built on bedrock, so the bottom stone you can see, is pretty much the bottom stone of the cottage. We don’t have any foundations like modern day houses.
So our trusty builders took up the floor and added drainage both internally and externally. We then sourced local reclaimed slate slabs which you can see in the photo. It took many months of preparation and many more months of work. The slate was incredibly heavy, some pieces were 3 inches thick, however the finished result was well worth all of the effort.
All of the plasterboard and cement render was removed from the walls to help everything breathe. We then use breathable lime to repointed and re-render the exposed walls. We used natural colours in our furnishings keeping everything simple. This allows the features of the cottage to shine through, like the big oak beams and inglenook fireplace.
We used the same system of drainage, lime renders and slate flooring in the kitchen also. As you can see in the photo above we have retained the Victorian floor tiles in the hallway as this is very much a common feature in old cottage entrances.
Previous owners has installed doors which were only suitable for internal use. Not only were they single glazed, but they leaked and were extremely draughty. So while renovating we had a new back kitchen door, cottage window and French patio door. We purchased them from a local company and they are engineered oak painted in breathable French Grey microporus paint. It feels very luxurious to be able to shut the door as they not only keep the rain and cold air out, but they are pretty sound proof too! All you would want from a door!
Over the years we have removed all plasterboard in our cottage and replaced it with tongue and grove panelling made by our lovely carpenter. This matches with the original tongue and grove panelling in our hallway, which is probably around 100 years old.
When we moved in, the fireplace in the kitchen that you can see in the photo below was blocked up. You could not see into the fireplace at all and an old cooker was placed in front of it. We wanted to bring the fireplace back to its original state, plus have enough room for a modern range style cooker inside the fireplace with extractor fan going up the chimney. The builders were great and it all worked really well. They also added an old reclaimed beam above the cooker which looks really natural.
When decorating our kitchen, we wanted a mix of modern and traditional. This Napoleon hat clock below was a gift from a neighbour which belonged to his parents from the 1950's. It had been keeping time next door for many years for his family and now it is currently keeping time for us in our kitchen. One day we will pass it on so that it can keep time for someone else.....