Our Building Journey – The Beginning

When we went to visit the little cottage that we now call home, we weren’t looking to move.

It was a cold Spring day, five years ago, with snow on the ground. The two of us curled up in bed with no plans for the day, as often was the case before we moved into the countryside and had a baby! Jamie’s mum messaged us the details of the cottage completely out of the blue as she thought we might like to visit. It was an open house and with no prior plans, we decided why not and messaged back saying she’d better hope we didn’t fall in love. To be honest, I didn’t hold high hopes for the cottage, the estate agents pictures (see below) really didn’t leave me hopping out of bed and into the car but I do love a look at other peoples homes!

It was only a 15 minute drive from where we were currently living and for the entire journey Jamie told me not to fall in love. I was so sure I wouldn’t but as we moved closer into the countryside, I could imagine driving these roads into town everyday, I wondered what it would look like in the summer, had visions of being snowed in with a fire and hot chocolate. My imagination got the better of me and I was in love with the thought of living here.

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When we arrived, we were welcomed like old friends into the living room with a fire roaring. We were no strangers to an open fireplace having just restored ours before the Winter but the room with its original brick floors and ceiling beams felt like home, even with green and yellow walls everywhere! It was a dream for me to live in an old cottage filled with character and this first room already had me wondering where the Christmas tree would go. I knew then that I was in trouble! But those walls would have to go, fast! (The day after we moved in we painted the living room from dusk til dawn so we could live in this room!).

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Living Room
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Kitchen/Dining
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Office
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Master Bedroom

Once we finished viewing the cottage we headed outside and as if the inside wasn’t enough to make me want to make an offer there and then, then the outside space sealed the deal! It was a beautifully landscaped garden complete with a studio, double garage and vegetable patch! It was such a huge step from our current garden which consisted of a grass lawn and nothing else.

It ticked so many of our boxes for what we wanted in our next home but was it enough to leap and take the next step?

It wasn’t the family home we knew we would need in the future, with only 2 bedrooms and a smaller kitchen/dining area than we would have liked but as we walked around on our own we were discussing what the cottage would need to make it perfect for us and a family and were already making plans for developing it. The plan was simple: A third bedroom and larger kitchen and we knew exactly how to do this.

We put our house straight on the market and 2 days later we had sold.

The cottage was perfect for us for four wonderful years. We had decorated every room and slowly started to invest in the interior, extending it had started to feel a little like a pipe dream. But then arrived a beautiful, bouncy, baby boy and we knew the time had come to start looking at extending the house into a family home… When William turned one we had the funds in place and it was all becoming a reality but over the years our plan had somehow grown and we knew the cottage had so much more potential, we decided why do something half heartedly when we could go all in and have our dream home.

The dream for us looked something like this.

  • Extending the kitchen to make an open plan kitchen/dining/family area

When friends and family join us for dinner we all have to squash around our 4 seater table in the kitchen. It isn’t comfortable and there isn’t enough room to move once you’re sat down. Added to this, I usually end up in the kitchen while everyone else is in the living room. We really want a social space where we can all be together. Somewhere for everyone to sit while I’m cooking so I can still enjoy their company and catch up. Somewhere to sit together and have breakfast as a family or enjoy a morning coffee at the weekend. Somewhere for William to play while we’re cooking and still be together. A room to enhance our family time.

  • Bifold doors

The cottage can be very dark with its low ceilings and small windows, especially in the Autumn/Winter months so we want as much light as possible in the kitchen. We also love eating and being in the garden during the summer and adding bifold doors would enable us to move inside and out seamlessly.

  • Adding a boot room/laundry room

Currently both the front and back doors lead straight into our main living spaces. The front door opens straight into the living room and the back door into the kitchen. Most people use the kitchen door as the driveway leads you straight into the back garden and kitchen. This can be extremely messy in the Autumn/Winter months with muddy boots. We also have no where for shoes and coats to be stored, no here for the hoover or laundry so a combined boot room/laundry room would give us all the storage we are desperately lacking and keep the house clean and tidy.

  • Adding two new bedrooms and ensuite upstairs

A 3rd bedroom was a no brainer. For us to stay here as a family we need to have a 3rd bedroom. But, by deciding the increase the size of the build it means we can add a fourth bedroom for guests.

  • A vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom

When working with clients I often ask them to talk me through there ‘need and want’ wish list. A ‘need’ wish list is something that you cannot live without, for us it would be the third bedroom. The ‘want’ wish list is something that you really want but can live without. The vaulted ceiling is our ‘want’. We can live without it but if we’re creating our dream house it needs to go on the list. We just want our room to be something a little more special.

So with a plan in mind, knowing what we needed and what we wanted, we started to put our plan into motion and started looking for an architect.

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