Through the keyhole of a charming cottage near Nailsworth
PUBLISHED: 12:54 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 11 April 2019
A six-year labour of love has doubled the size of this charming cottage near Nailsworth
Tina and Barry Hathaway’s cottage near Nailsworth has come a long way since it began as two humble one-up, one-down farm workers’ dwellings in the early 1800s. An old photo, taken more than 40 years ago, shows the cottages standing in farmland, surrounded by overhanging dark trees.
Now it has doubled in size - having had an L-shaped wing built on several years ago - and the gloomy trees have gone to be replaced by a beautiful garden bursting with summer flowers, thanks to the Hathaways’ hard work over the last six years. An interesting extra touch are the peacocks from the next door farm which make regular visits, perching in the trees and startling visitors with their eerie cries. “But we’d miss them if they left,” says Tina.
Wanting to downsize the Hathaways bought their home in 2009 from a couple who had used it as their holiday home but were rarely there. “It could be the cottage is even older than we think,” says Tina. “We do know that at one point in its history it became so derelict that part of the ground floor was used as a cow shed by a neighbouring farmer.”
But then about 40 years ago previous owners had rescued the cottage and built on a big sitting room and bedroom and part of the hallway. “And the cow shed became a kitchen,” says Barry.
However among other things the kitchen had become rather tired by the time the couple bought the place. So before moving in they spent six months in a rented cottage while they carried out various improvements. The main one was installing a new kitchen, which they did through their son Lee who is a partner in Woodchester Cabinet Makers. “But first we had to rewire the room, put in new plumbing and convert a window into double glazed doors leading to the garden,” says Tina.
Their smart new kitchen was hand-made in Shaker style with a central island, hand painted in Bone by Farrow & Ball with granite worktops. They also bought a rebuilt 1956 four oven Aga from GB Cookers of Chippenham which but had been converted from solid fuel to electric.
At the same time they refurbished one of the bathrooms which also needed new plumbing, installed by Barry. He also laid new laminate flooring and fitted a new shower, loo and basin from Choice Tiles of Oxford plus adding charming hand painted tiles above the sink, brought back from a holiday in Majorca
The intrepid Tina then repainted the whole house almost single-handedly - “although I found the stairs and landing a bit tricky as it involved standing on a plank supported by two ladders,” she says.
However the couple didn’t stop there. Four years ago they built on both a utility room –“and Barry tiled its roof with Cotswold stone,” says Tina - and a garden room with a lantern roof. Both are laid with the same tumbled stone flooring from Mandarin Stone as is the kitchen.
At the same time they put in a new combi-boiler to replace the old one that lurked in the kitchen and to the Hathaway’s surprise the plumber was only too happy to take it away to give to a friend. “Apparently the friend was leading a freezing existence on an old Dutch barge,” says Barry.
“Having a combi-boiler meant we could get rid of the two old water tanks too,” says Tina. “Or so we hoped. One in a bedroom and one in the attic. The two plumbers who took the bedroom one out found it so heavy with limescale they were at a loss as to how to get it down the stairs. Luckily we have a sack truck – a wheeled trolley - which they could use to bump it down the staircase.”
However the old tank is still in the roof because it was just too large to bring down from either loft opening. “So the plumbers completely drained it and removed the pipe work,” says Barry
Then two years ago they replaced all their windows which were found to be rotting. “We had all the new ones made in idigbo wood by N D Brunsdon Brothers of The Camp,” says Barry. “Then I fitted them myself and Tina painted them.”
At the same time Barry replaced all the guttering with a plastic version designed with a cast iron effect, supplied by Chalford Building Products.
“Barry has to have a project,” smiles Tina and sure enough Barry has just finished building a greenhouse. “He laid the concrete base and built the brickwork himself using 200 year old reclaimed bricks then used glass panels and framework from a greenhouse that his friend was about to throw out, never having used it.”
But life hasn’t been without incident . “About five years ago in January there was an almighty crash and we were aghast to find an 80 foot tall tree belonging to our neighbour had fallen over in the winds – demolishing both our Cotswold stone garden walls, the side and end – and only just missing our oil tank. It scraped our house too.”
The Hathaways love where they now live. “The neighbours are really nice and we all look out for each other without being too intrusive,” says Tina. “Our house and garden is just the right size and as we are close to our two children and six grandchildren we couldn’t ask for more.”
• Choice Tiles: 01865 742284
• Crown Paint: crownpaints.co.uk
• Laura Ashley: lauraashley.com
• Mandarin Stone: 01242 530500 / mandarinstone.com
• R W Knights: 01225 891469 / knight-stoves.co.uk
• Woodchester Cabinet Makers: 01453 835580 / woodchestercabinetmakers.co.uk