Welcome to our little Welsh cottage. We have been living in our cottage for 15 years and have been renovating it whilst living here. In 2007 we began our adventures and turned a tired little cottage into the gorgeous and happy home it is today.
We believe our cottage is around 350 years old, which is fairly old for a cottage in our area. As records don't tend to go back very far, we will never know for sure. It was probably here from the early 1700's. It had been a little neglected over the years and many areas of the cottage needed a lot of tender loving care.
What we do know, is that we have spent a lot of time and effort, along with much love and dedication to get it to where it is today. Our cottage is a very big part of our life and it needs to be maintained and looked after. Since owning it, we have learnt a lot about Welsh cottages and now have a much larger appreciation for architecture and Welsh vernacular buildings.
Starting off with perhaps the best view of the cottage, the living room. The inglenook fireplace is the focal point of the cottage. It's where all of the cooking would have been done in years gone by and would have been their main heat source. We have uncovered many of the features that were hidden behind ply wood and plasterboard. We have tried to it bring it back to how we feel it could have looked originally, with some modern and contemporary comforts.
Previous owners had laid a laminate floor and we are sure it looked really lovely for the first few years of its life. However the cottage floors were damp, there were obviously issues that needed to be overcome and laminate flooring and damp floors sadly don’t mix. We are also built on bedrock, so don’t have any foundations like modern day houses.
So our trusty builders took up the floor and added drainage both internally and externally. We then sourced local reclaimed flagstones which you can see in the photo. It took many months of preparation and many more months of work. The slate was incredibly heavy, some pieces were 3 inches thick, however the finished result was well worth all of the effort. We sourced the flagstones from three different places here in west Wales. The first batch was from a farm about 20 miles from here. The second were from an old school in New Quay (Wales) and the third batch was from an old jewelery shop in Lampeter. We love the floor, its just how we imagined it would be. It looks 'right' like its always been here. We know that originally there were slate flagstones in the cottage, we also know that part of the ground floor was cobbled at one time as we found in situ cobbles during our renovations.
The photo above shows what it looks like today. It is a calm, warm and relaxing place to sit and enjoy life. There is a large inglenook fireplace which is most likely a later addition, probably sometime in the 1800's. As you can see there are large oak beams run through the cottage, three in total, plus the inglenook lintel, which are unusual for our size of cottage.
The photo below shows Lily looking out of one of the old sash windows that Nicholas has restored, the walls were covered with thick cement at once time, now they can breathe. Its the perfect place for Lily to see whats going on in the world too!
Below are photos of our renovated kitchen. It is a far cry from the way it was when we moved in. We uncovered the original chimney breast, laid reclaimed slate flagstones on the floor, lime rendered the wall, removed layers and layers of cement and pointed the stone walls. We spent a lot of time on creating a new ceiling in between the wooden joists and found reclaimed joists to replace missing ones. We also had a new wooden kitchen installed. This is to name but a few jobs.
We have removed all plasterboard in our cottage and replaced it with tongue and grove paneling made by our lovely carpenter. This matches with the original tongue and grove paneling in our hallway, which is probably around 100 years old.
When we moved in, the fireplace in the kitchen that you can see in the photo below was blocked up. You could not see into the fireplace at all and an old cooker was placed in front of it. We wanted to bring the fireplace back to its original state, plus have enough room for a modern range style cooker inside the fireplace with extractor fan going up the chimney. The builders were great and it all worked really well. They also added an old reclaimed beam above the cooker which looks really natural.
When decorating our kitchen, we wanted a mix of modern and traditional. This Napoleon hat clock below was a gift from a neighbour which belonged to his parents from the 1950's. It had been keeping time next door for many years for his family and now it is currently keeping time for us in our kitchen. One day we will pass it on so that it can keep time for someone else.....
Not only have we renovated the ground floor of our cottage, but over the 16 years we have renovated the entire upstairs too. New windows, insulated the roof, revealed the chimney breast in the master bedroom, renovated the bathroom, took up old carpet and sanded the wooden floors. Most importantly we took off all of the old plasterboard on the walls which was covering beautiful features and replaced some with tongue and groove paneling, replicating the old Victorian paneling from downstairs. It was quite never ending and anyone who has taken on the job of renovating an old property they will understand the trials and tribulations, not to mention the budget and the contingency disappears very quickly.
We love Christmas in the cottage, it looks so pretty when it has been decorated. We always get a real tree as it smells so lovely, we can only have a small one as the celings are low, but they are always beautiful. This photo was taken in December 2021.
When you look at our cottage from the front you wouldn’t really know how large our garden is behind. Even entering the cottage looking out of the French windows, you still only see the top area of garden. Renovating our cottage has taken a lot of work, however the garden has had it's fair share of work too!
Over the years of living here, we have been working tirelessly to create a haven for us to enjoy. When we moved in, our back garden was a rectangle as you can see in the photo above. It was a simple lawn, some overgrown shrubs and hedgerows with shed at the bottom of the garden.
Being a keen gardener I wanted to develop the garden into a wildlife haven, and a safe place to have a dog and chickens. We also knew we eventually wanted to create a dedicated place to work outside in the garden, rather then using a room in the cottage.
So we purchased a piece of unused land both below and to the side of us from our neighbours. It has taken a lot of work as the land was overgrown and had become a place to store old roofing slates, abandoned rotting logs and was was covered in brambles, stinging nettles and foliage. A huge task to take on but a very exiting one!
The photo below shows how the same view looks now. If you look towards the bottom of the garden you can see we have a new shed, where the old shed stood. This is in the same place as the 2007 photo above. This should give you a little scale and enable you to compare the changes that we have made in the last 10 years. We renovated the little wildlife pond and now its home to frogs, news, water boatmen and water snails.
This is a close up of the pond with lily sitting next to it. Thankfully she doesn't like water and doesn't go in for a dip! The frogs are pleased!
We have been trying to naturalized the pond and bought a lily which actually flowered last year all summer, a photo of one of the lily's is below....
....and of course we just had to take a photo of a frog when we found it on the stones by the pond. There are toads too, but the frogs spawn in there every year now which is great to see.
The studio is located at the bottom of the garden which has been purpose built and insulated for our needs. You can read more about the studio on our Studio and Materials page....
Lily adores our garden. Well I say 'our' garden...I believe she thinks it's all hers!
Another view through the woodland, this is heading down towards our storage shed and chicken shed.
I love to grow plants, not so easy here in Wales as the summers are short and pretty rainy, however we do have some sunny days during the year. I have added some photos below which i hope you enjoy viewing form around the garden. I also try to add seasonal photos form the garden each month for our Blog, if you haven't found it head on over and have a peak.
We hope that you have enjoyed viewing our cottage and garden page, if you would like to see more about us and where we live, use the top navigation above as there is always plenty to see!
Testimonials.....Hi Melanie and Nicholas,
Many thanks for another splendid painting. We always new it would never be like her, the quality of the photographs quite frankly were very poor, but you have managed to make Chris very happy. He has many happy memories of his first dog Cass. Sadly I didn't know Chris then and so have to imagine. Anyway we get lots of very favourable comments about Lukes portrait which led Heather and Mike Norris having a picture done of Bobby which they are thrilled with. Many thanks for a great job.