A Farmhouse Restoration- Part One
July 16, 2015
The great thing about my interior design business is that no two projects are ever the same. One day we could be working on a country estate, the next a fisherman’s cottage by the sea or a Victorian townhouse in the heart of the city. Simply, our design and renovation work is always diverse.
I would like to introduce you to a new exciting project we have just begun; a 300 year old country farmhouse which had been long-neglected over time. Yet with its rambling cottage gardens and storybook setting – almost out of a Hansel and Gretel fairytale, the farmhouse has completely captivated me.
By sharing with you every stage of the renovation I am certain the farmhouse’s shy beauty will also place you under its spell.
Like many old family homes, the building is a patchwork of extensions from different eras.
The original three-storey section of the house was constructed in the early 1700’s. The extension to the side was added on to the house in the early 1800’s and this section has now become the main entrance to the house.
As with any structure that has been built and added to over time, the house has two distinct designs. But together, they add a certain quirkiness to the overall look of the exterior.
On entering the main door through the little porch the hallway intersects with two perfectly-proportioned, dual aspect rooms on either side; each with magnificent bay windows that take in views of the front and rear gardens.
Existing Dining Room
The Dining Room has French doors that open out to the garden and a door in the corner of the room that leads to a tiny pantry which would have stored the crockery and silverware for entertaining.
The other room, which is located at the front of the house was used as a Parlour with an open fire. Most of the day the sun bursts through the windows of this room making it a bright pleasant space to relax in. The house is also set back off the road so the room enjoys a lot of privacy as well as an expansive view of front garden.
Further down the hall you pass through an archway, which connects you to the original section of the house. You can sense it immediately as the ceilings are lower; a typical 18th century feature.
Original window detail
Original window detail
Original French Doors in Living Room
Walking into the Living Room, the four windows immediately capture your attention along with the exquisite French doors that lead to the front garden. Every time I walk into the room I am constantly fixated by the windows’ tiny stained glass pictures. A major task ahead of us is to restore and preserve these precious jewels.
The remainder of the ground floor is made up of a kitchen with an old heat storage stove, a W.C. and other small service rooms, which will become a utility, hot press and boot room connected to a newly built kitchen and dining room; an area we will reclaim from the back garden.
On the first floor, the rooms are split into four existing bedrooms and a family bathroom. On the next landing there is a study and bedroom, which a feature stained glass window with intricate lead detail.
Our design plan is to re-direct the stairs to the attic over the existing stairs to give a better flow to each level, create two bedrooms with a family bathroom and a main bedroom with dressing room and en-suite. On the top floor we will update the bedroom and add a bathroom.
The gardens are lush and overgrown. Climbing roses and giant poppies are just some of the colourful collection of flowers growing wild around this unruly garden. There is also an overgrown pathway which leads to a little stream at the end of the garden.
The builders have already begun the difficult task of clearing out the house while working sympathetically to keep all original details intact and the scaffolding is going up for the roof repair. I have finalised the designs to the interior layout as well as the extension for the new kitchen and dining area (my idea was for the new extension to look like a converted chicken coop but more about that later!)
I noticed this detail in one of the Dining Room walls, a crumbling section in the shape of a heart.
I am heading to site next week to see the progress and I will add more images on Instagram – a little sneak preview for you!
As with all my blogs, I enjoy reading and answering your comments and questions. I look forward to hearing from you!
Miriam (aka Minnie)