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Extending a 19th century cottage
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Kerry and Jason Sharpe have extended their 19th-century cottage, transforming it into the ideal place to host festive celebrations.
Location: North Yorkshire
This 19th-century cottage seems perfectly suited to Christmas celebrations: dusted with snow outside, lavished with foliage indoors and out, this deceptively spacious house has all the right ingredients for seasonal get-togethers.
It has been home to Kerry and Jason Sharpe for just over two years. After buying the property they were keen to settle in as soon as possible. Kerry recalls: ‘This cottage won us over immediately. It was quite a good size but we had the vision to see how we could extend it sympathetically.’
Plans for the extension and a rejig of the existing layout were soon drawn up and submitted by the architect, Andrew Lynn. Meanwhile, Kerry and Jason started renovating the interior to transform it into the rustic, lived in cottage they had always dreamed of.
‘We discovered old pine floorboards,' says Kerry. 'They’re not original but I knew I could achieve a distressed feel. At the same time, we knocked the fireplace through so that we could install a double-sided log burner to benefit both sitting rooms.’ They then employed a local tradesman to smooth out some of the walls and refresh them and the ceilings with Pointing by Farrow & Ball. By the end of 2008, the initial phase was complete and Kerry and Jason were able to enjoy their first Christmas in their new home.
In the New Year, work began on the extension. A hand built wooden garden room was added to the back of the house. The kitchen was tripled in size by knocking through to the old garage. Upstairs, what had been the family bathroom was halved and turned into an en-suite bathroom and a dressing room for the newly created master bedroom, which sits above Kerry’s new workshop and garage.
‘As well as making all the structural changes, we bought a new range cooker,’ says Kerry, ‘and we fitted oak flooring in the kitchen, hall and garden room.’ After they had new carpeting laid in the bedrooms and on the stairs, they could continue by updating their furniture.
‘I have always liked distressed paint effects,’ says Kerry. ‘Over the years, I’ve painted a lot of my furniture, some of which was bought new, although most of it has been found at car boot sales, charity shops and auctions.’ She’s also given some upholstered pieces a makeover with an attractive check fabric from Colefax & Fowler.
With the renovation work complete, and a recent yet faded memory, Kerry and Jason can now simply get on with enjoying the festivities of the season. ‘For us, Christmas is about fun, food and laughter; I can’t wait.’
Kerry shares her renovation advice
‘A good architect is a must, and really does make all the difference as they will deal with all the little problems that inevitably occur.
‘Employ local tradesmen where possible; we think that they’ll be more likely to deliver what they promise and to sort out any niggles afterwards.
‘Be prepared to be flexible as the project develops; keep communication open at all times and agree specific milestones for completion and payment.
‘Source products in your nearby shops and auction houses; there are bargains to be had – you just have to rummage for them.’
FEATURE NAOMI JONES STYLING HEATHER DIXON PHOTOGRAPHS COLIN POOLE
Featured in the December 2010 issue of Period Living