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Restoration Part I

An illustrated analytical record of the restoration of a Victorian cottage, returning it to it's originally look, enhanced by both traditional William Morris aesthetics and subtle Steampunk features.

This restoration will be very different from your usual refurb as we will make and do all the work ourselves whilst fusing traditional Victorian features with contemporary Steampunk accents. The challenge will be to make the quirky Steampunk look a part of the 100 year old cottage. We will have contractors put in a back door and remove most of the ceiling light fittings, but the rest we will do ourselves. From building the kitchen and bathroom, making all the soft furnishings to all the little quirky extras that will make this cottage tailor made to our way of living. It is because of the uniqueness of this project that I have decided to keep a track of ideas, thought processes, design development and the eventual completion.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful William Morris

This Autumn we hope to complete the purchase of the cottage we have been renting for the last 5 years. The same family have owned it for the last 100 years, and although it has had a large kitchen/bathroom extension, the original part of the cottage has characteristic low ceilings, small three tier staircase and working log fireplaces.

This photograph was taken in 1912 and at the back an old corrugated pig shed can been seen which was replaced by the kitchen extension in the 1970's. We have researched old maps and the cottage is included in maps from the 1880's, with a water well in the back yard and a smithy next door.

The decision to do the work ourselves means that there will be more funds for a little extravagance. We plan on living here till our last breathes, and so it makes sense to buy lasting quality rather than 'make-do cheap'. We have discussed a Japanese soak tub with jets, high end double glazing, kitchen log burner/agar and William Morris wallpapers.
​Another factor we are constantly referring to, is the fact this house will need to be practical for when we get older. The Japanese soak tub is a perfect example. Getting in and out of a tub can become troublesome but these soak tubs have a step on the outside and a seat inside, allowing you to soak up to your neck whilst sat. Perfect after a long day in the garden, especially with water jets on achy bits!

These are the wallpapers that have been chosen for the old part of the house. As these papers are quite costly, we will only part- paper the rooms and paint the other walls with Farrow and Ball. Again, this paint is very costly, so to reduce the expense we will choose three wheat

/ buttermilk colours that will go throughout the house with a dark petrol blue for the bathroom. The colour palette is very specific as the rooms and cottage are all very small, so we have chosen a theme of olive green, terracotta, and must mustard yellows throughout, with a dash of blue/grey. However, the kitchen extension will be Rustic Bohemian...every colour under the sun. Below is the Tibetan fabric I bought for cushions for the yet-to-be-built kitchen corner bench seat, an old chair I found in a barnyard that we will restore to go in front of the kitchen log burner and the new Victorian greenhouse which is in perfect character to compliment the cottage.

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