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Restoration part III

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

The restoration and decoration of our cottage is the biggest craft project I have taken on. Every last detail has been carefully considered and nothing is ordinary, for example we have used jute rugs as window hangings! The main criteria that was really obvious was to be sensitive as to how the cottage would have looked when it was first built, but at the same time the added various extensions needed to be distinctively different whilst working harmoniously with the original part of the house. The old part of the property is quite small and so the colour palette was limited to 3 different shades of cream to caramel, though each room has a very different wallpaper and accent colour. The same 3 cream colours flow from room to room with two harmonious wallpapers in each room, so all four walls are different.

This colour palette is very tight for a whole house but despite the colour similarities, each room has a very different feel to it. It's not a coincidence that the wallpaper patterns for these rooms are small but quite bold unlike the new parts of the house. It was important to choose wallpapers that were proportionate to the room, with the old part of the house having low ceilings and small rooms compared to the new parts that have very high ceilings,

For the new parts of the house; the kitchen, bathroom (ground floor) and second bedroom I chose a base colour of bluey-grey. It was chosen to compliment the antique bronze radiator in the kitchen and so that the play of sunlight through crafted, coloured glass at the windows reflected the true colours of the glass on the walls. It also had to be a colour that would sit well with the three creams for the rest of the house and the bohemian bright accents for the kitchen. Standing in the kitchen it is possible to see through windows on all four sides of the property to country cottage planting and window boxes. This was such an important feature of this cottage and the different light plays coming from the first rays of the sunrise, mid-day through the lilac tree and the afternoon and sunset of open skies, cause the colours in the cottage to change. I chose a very high quality chalk emulsion paint which has pigments that reflect the light. To explain further, the bluey-grey of the kitchen changes from raincloud grey, to watery blue to slightly olive green. It is incredible in such a large room with very high ceilings and the hare wallpaper has all of these colours in it. It is an absolute perfect match.

The knowledge behind the colour choices has really paid off. There is still the bathroom, lounge, the 'kitchen' part of the kitchen and stairs to decorate with thousands of little jobs that need parts that are not available right now (lockdown chaos). The kitchen needs some crafty accents adding such as my knick-knacks need a curio shelve, tree branches coming out of the wall with hanging bright coloured paper lanterns and clay and wooden tiles need making.

Once the weather warmed up, we went outside and worked on the garden. We cut new beds around the back because the lawn was mole damaged, added huge wooden arches and a metal arched rose path. The flower beds all have a colour scheme, where colouring blended from bed to bed hide lawn paths and secret alcoves. It will be four years before the garden is exactly as I want it. There is the cobbled outdoor shower and sauna to build surrounded by very tall bright yellow and orange flowers, accented with turquoise to create a hot-coloured secluded sanctuary. I also need to cut a sunflower bed. I have decided to specialise in sunflowers and plan to have the tallest in the village. The new sunflower bed by the side of the house is visible from the road and with all day full sun, I want to beat my old sunflower record and my sunflower neighbour! Oh, and there is the picket fence we plan to build in January from pallet boards. It is in the drawing stage at the mo, and everyone who has seen the ideas is very excited, it'll be a lot of fun!

My favourite part of the house so far is the fact the new windows make the cottage look exactly as it did when it was built. The photo above on the left was taken in 1912, middle one in 2012 and the one on the right 2020. The middle photo below shows the reclaimed front door I designed and had made by the same stained glass guy who does Lincoln cathedrals' windows! Next summer there will be an old English ivory pink rose climbing up the front with white and cream window boxes for that clique chocolate box cottage look!.

So with thousands of man hours in the garden and house combined we're certainly going to be kept busy. Our bees have already produced their first honey and our six ex battery hens give us 5-6 eggs a day. The veg plot is half harvested with carrots, kale, raspberries and strawberries filling the freezer. The apple tree is nearly ready to harvest and we have a new apple store all ready. As the veg plot empties you become very aware that autumn is heading our way. I've noticed the Horse Chestnuts are already turning and I've been busy making robins, lots and lots of robins! Counting down till it's Mince pie time....just 3-4 weeks!!!!

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