Welcome to our cottage and garden page! We live in a 350 year old cottage which we have been renovating for the last 10 years. We are pretty much finished now and are enjoying everything about our cottage what we have done here. Our cottage is in West Wales and we have a village 3 miles from us with some shops, however if we need a larger town, supermarket or to visit a beach, its about half an hours drive from here. This means other than our few neighbouring houses, its a pretty quiet place to live. We are surrounded by fields, most often occupied with sheep and cows. We have plenty of wildlife to watch, from an abundance of birds, hedgehogs, squirrels, foxes and rabbits. We have seen stoats in the garden and a stag in the fields however they are pretty rare for our area.
The photo below shows our living room. It's possibly the oldest part of the cottage, however we are unsure of the history, other than its quite old for this area. We are very lucky to have the remaining features that it has. Many old cottages in our area have sadly been pulled apart, beams removed, ceilings heightened, old windows replaced with modern PVC and walls concreted or plaster boarded over. This not only removes the beauty and originality of the cottages, but we all loose the history of these wonderful buildings.
When we moved here, the cottage previously had undergone a number of modernisations, some of which had been done poorly and so we have been bringing the cottage back to its former glory. Removing concrete inside and replacing with lime render and lime pointing. We took up laminate flooring and replaced it with reclaimed slate slabs which you can see in the photo below.
We pulled down artext from the ceilings, hardboard that covered the upstairs chimney breast, took out built in cupboard next to the fireplace both upstairs and downstairs to open the room up as to how it would have been originally. We also replaced internal French doors for new engineered oak ones....after 10 years of living with draughty and leaking doors, having proper ones is complete luxury!
It would be difficult to list all of the things we have done over the 10 years...suffice to say it's a lot! Plus it has been a lot of work! However now most of it is complete we feel we have a much happier and healthier cottage and a wonderful place to live. We wouldn’t be anywhere else!
The photo below shows the view from the inglenook fireplace through the hallway into the kitchen. Our Cottage is only small....but plenty big enough for the three of us - Nicholas, myself and Lily our dog!
Our kitchen would have originally been called the Parlour (the living room pictured above would have been their kitchen however not as a modern kitchen as we know them). The parlour would have been the best room with chairs and possibly a dresser with the best crockery displayed. When we moved here it was already a kitchen, however the old fireplace was boarded up, the ceiling was artexed, there was plasterboard on the walls and the floor was tiled in small orange tiles. We laid reclaimed slate slabs on the floor, removed all of the plasterboard, concrete render, uncovered the fireplace and installed a new back door and little window. The back door was an internal door, just like the French windows in the living room, so had also been very cold for 10 years!
You can see in the photo below, once the fireplace was opened up to reveal its original beautiful slanting back, it was the perfect place for a cooker to sit. Our stonemason installed an old lintel which came from an old school in our neighbouring village and this finishes it all off beautifully. We laid reclaimed slate slabs on the floor and put in a new wooden worktop and kitchen. Lots of work, without a kitchen for a long time....but well worth it!
When you look out of the back door in the kitchen, or the patio doors in the living room, you look out onto the top cottage garden. Our garden was pretty much a rectangle when we moved here and this view was just grass and some overgrown hedges, however we wanted to make a place for entertaining. So we cut the garden in half with a picket fence with plants and trees, which served us well when we had Lily as a puppy as it kept her safe at the top of the garden.
We were lucky to be able to purchase some extra unused garden from our neighbour to the right of our original garden and you can see the start of it in the photo below. There are plenty of trees as you head down through the gate to get there....
Once you are through the gate, you can see two lawns on slightly different levels divided by railway sleepers. A lot of work has gone into creating these lawns. When we bought the land it was an overgrown woodland and you could hardly walk in there. Many hours, days and weeks of work and we are still developing it years later.
The trees are beautiful and we initially had tree surgeons to remove any dead branches, fell any dangerous trees or anything that could possibly fall and hit our studio or cottage in storms over the winter months.
In the spring and summer months the garden is heavenly. It's rarely nice here in the winter months, we have a lot of rain so we try to make the most of any dry days we have. In fact we have much more rain than most other parts of the UK all year around. So where as on the east and south coast of the UK, it can be baking hot sunshine and hose pipe bans, we often have constant showers. The plus point to this is that our garden is always very green!
We have lots of ideas we want to develop in our garden over the years, its an ever evolving garden and that’s what we love about it. We are creative people and over the last 10 years of living here we have created a little corner that we can call our own. We hope you like what we have done too!