Set in a quiet village behind a picket fence and enveloped by garden, Chris and Alison’s thatched cottage is at its best on a glorious summer’s day; its front borders brimming with a mix of rose bushes, petunia-filled hanging baskets, fuchsias and hollyhocks bobbing in the breeze. Inside, the house has all the ingredients of a rural English cottage: low ceilings with rustic beams, a deep inglenook and flagstone floors, bound with a timeless country charm.
It’s hard to imagine that this cottage originally consisted of just two rooms, an upstairs and a downstairs, cobbled together within a day. ‘We commissioned a historical survey and it found that the cottage had been built using squatter’s rights under Common Law in the 1700s, which declared that if a house could be built within 24 hours, with smoke coming from its chimney, then the builder could claim the land as his own,’ explains Chris. ‘It was a hurriedly constructed timber-frame building with wattle and daub walls – luckily these features are still intact today, so it’s a rare gem.’
Owners: Chris and Alison Young, both retired, live here and are often visited by their children and grandchildren
Property: A two-bedroom thatched cottage originally built around 1725 with later additions, set in a small Wiltshire village
What they did: The couple updated the kitchen, added a new bathroom and made essential structural repairs. They have decorated throughout taking care to compliment the style of the property and have created a pretty cottage garden