WE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING EMMAS RENOVATION ON INSTAGRAM FOR QUITE SOME TIME, EVER SINCE SHE BECAME A CUSTOMER OF OURS IN FACT. HER BLOG ‘THE LITTLE STONE COTTAGE’ DETAILS THE UPS AND DOWNS OF RENOVATION, ESPECIALLY WHILE EXPECTING HER FIRST BORN. SO WE WANTED TO CATCH UP WITH HER A FIND OUT A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE RENOVATION PROCESS AND HOW SHE’S FOUND IT SO FAR!
You’re currently renovating a 1800s Cottage in the Cotswold – what drew you to this project?
We are originally from Kent, and I needed to move to the South West for work purposes. We knew we wanted to live in the countryside, in an older building that needed work (my husband is a builder) and with character, but we were buying our first home together and as always our budget was fairly limited. We looked around many properties before coming across this one. At the time it was currently being let, so was liveable but we could see potential for renovation work. We didn’t expect to do as much work as we have done! Once we got started, like most renovations of old properties we uncovered more and more that needed changing, but I also think the more we ripped the cottage back to its bare bones the more we fell in love with it. We never set out to restore as much of the stone as we have done, and we’ve also built two extensions!
What’s been the hardest part of the renovation project?
Living amongst the dust and rubble whilst working on the cottage, but also working full time! Doing all the work ourselves and both of us also working full time has meant it’s taken us three years (so far) just on the build, and we still haven’t finished! It took us two years to battle planning and conservation after uncovering an unknown listing- so that was quite stressful. Mind you, it was pretty hard living without a back to the house at all whilst we were building one of the extensions for a few months over Christmas one year! Chilly was an understatement!
Do you have a favourite room in your house yet?
I think my favourite room at the moment has to be our new bedroom. I love working with stone, and we took much of the old stone from the cottage walls we knocked through to build this new internal stone wall in the second extension. It gives the room so much character, along with the reclaimed lintels and beam and makes it feel like this part of the house has always been here. It’s a beautifully light room with three skylights, and so we also added a glass floor to take advantage of some of this light in the kitchen below! The glass floor took a lot of thought and planning- but I love it now it’s in!
How would you describe your interiors style?
Modern country rustic meets Scandi, maybe with a touch of boho here and there. I guess quite simple but a little bit eclectic… I love making our home as unique to us as I can. I really enjoy finding statement reclaimed pieces and working them into the design of our rooms- like our reclaimed sliding door in the porch and antique butchers block in the kitchen. I also have a few little reclaimed milking stools dotted around and old ladders here and there.
Who/What is your inspiration? Do you have any places you return to for inspiration?
Yes! A lot of my inspiration now comes from Instagram. I love rustic and creative accounts such as @kinship_creativedc and @kylamagrathinteriors – but also love a more paired back, simple rustic vibe like @vintagecuratorhouse. I also take a lot of inspiration from the interiors of places we love to visit in the Cotswolds, such as The Wild Rabbit and Dormy House Hotel. I think my style is somewhere between all of these!
Do you think you will miss the renovation process when the house is finished?
Haha, that’s a tough one! I think we definitely will enjoy living in the cottage after working so hard on it constantly for so many years, and it’ll be lovely to enjoy our hard work as a family! But I’m sure we will get the renovation itch again as soon as we stop!
What was it like being pregnant while renovating?
Renovating and building whilst pregnant is tricky. There are so many health risks and you obviously have to be really careful. When my husband did the knock through to the second extension, I actually moved out for a week so that I wasn’t breathing in all the dust ( it was a meter thick stone and lime mortar wall with a chimney breast running through it!)
What are your favourite furnishings in the house?
Ooo I’m not sure that I can pick a favourite!