Tuesday, February 28th, 2023
February always races by, thank goodness, as it is my least favourite month. Tomorrow work officially starts on the annexed cottage. The architect’s drawing shows what it will look like in seven months’ time and the photo below shows its current, dilapidated state. One minor change to the drawing is the window under the porch roof on the left. This will be removed and replaced by a new dedicated front door to the cottage, which is at present accessed by a door at right-angles to it. There will be two matching doors, one for the cottage and one for the service areas of the main house. The current crazily spread-out bungalow will become a compact two-storey west wing, joined to the main house but also neatly blocked off to conform with fire regulations and also to enhance privacy on both sides instead of the current arrangement whereby the cottage’s kitchen protrudes into and under the main house via a long corridor, creating a lot of wasted space and a major heating problem for the cottage.
The roof of the central part of the cottage will be raised to make space for two bedrooms and a spacious bathroom. The chimney will be replaced by a modern flue serving a wood-burning stove. The internal walls of the cottage’s ground floor will be removed, creating a vast open-plan ground floor living space from what is currently a living-room, a small corridor and two bedrooms. The cottage’s new kitchen will be at the northern end, which will retain its current single-storey status. The cottage’s old kitchen and associated corridor will revert back to the main house and will be repurposed as a much-needed storage area, utility/laundry room and boot room. I will be able to relocate one washing machine, a dryer and my rotary iron and linen press there. I will also be able to set up a large sheet-folding table, which will be much better than using a bed as a folding surface for superking sized sheets.
In days gone by, the main house did not have a kitchen. The cottage was built as servants’ quarters, and its occupants (groundskeeper husband and cook/housekeeper wife) were expected to cook meals for their masters in their own kitchen and pass it through the serving hatch (which still exists) into the pantry, whence it would be taken to the dining room. This room, along with most others in the house, still has a bell to summon the servants. The bellboard still works in parts and is in the pantry. The pantry, with its original swing door, is now the secondary kitchen, which is used by B&B guests to eat takeaways or to have early self-service breakfasts if they want to check out at crack of dawn.
I will post updates and photos of the works to the cottage over the next seven months.