Our 17th Century Farmhouse

This is our utterly ridiculous cottage that would have made Phil and Kirsty weep. When we started our house search 7 years ago, we knew that we wanted a character property approximately twenty minutes from Cambridge, near a station but as remote as possible. That was it for the wish list which we thought was pretty modest. We were very clear that we didn’t want a thatched property (too much work/cost/ insects), we really didn’t want a listed property (we were worried about how much care would be involved) and we didn’t want a property that needed too much work

Cut to 2 months and 33 house viewings later and then we stumbled upon a thatched, grade II listed character property with no kitchen, holes in the floors, wonky walls and crumbling windows.

We pulled into the drive (having got lost several times) and our hearts soared as our stomachs plummeted. We ran around the house like very excited small children, peering through the windows of this abandoned cottage (ok, not quite ‘abandoned’, just unlived in for a couple of years, but abandoned sounds far more romantic). When we were finally allowed inside, my husband’s eyes started sparkling and with every step my brain added a new swear word. it was the house of our dreams but only very stupid people would buy something like this. Naturally we bought it.

Dame La La AGA (never apostrophise – she doesn’t like it)

The kitchen had only two cheap melamine units but it did contain the fabulous Aga and a larder which would have been on our wishlist but we were trying to be the cool, laid-back housebuyers with nary a want in the world. She gobbles oil like Friday night Prosecco but she keeps the house warm, heats the water, dries and irons the clothes, warms my bottom and cooks the food (ish…it’s generally undercooked or burned which surely can’t be my fault…).

Our wonderful woodburner in the living room

This is the living room with it’s wonderful woodburning stove, we were luckier in this room because the stove and carpet were already here. It just needed a lighter colour on the walls and the glorious wonderous Kate Forman blanket lined curtains to keep the draughts out (although theoretically we should curtain all the beamed walls as well!).

The Joiner defying bookcase wall

The other end of the living room with our carefully constructed bookcase that almost decimated our poor joiner – attempting to construct shelving that can’t be attached to the original beams of the house and in a room where nothing is level, fear not, he survived…just.

The wobbly wonky upstairs hallway

The floor slopes somewhat dramatically down the hallway which is what sold the house to our five year old son, he realised that he was the very proud owner of a tiger wheelybug and a wooden scooter that proved to be as perilous and speedy as his imagination initially promised whenhe rolled down the hallway at our second viewing. Age 10 and he and his sister still play “Push Push” with the now handleless scooter, it still produces a lot of laughter and makes my tummy flip in fear.

The main bedroom with original oak floorboards and original very painful nails.

We pulled back a threadbare pink carpet to discover the most wonderful, wide oak floorboards. They are beautiful, enitrely impractical (I can’t even put on a pair of tights in here because seemingly, before I have even taken a step, a hole appears in the foot. Our socks are more hole than cotton, there are 400 year old nails and large gaps but we couldn’t cover it up again, it really is lovely – if remarkably dangerous!

My 8 year old’s dream bedroom (well, my dream but she seems to love it).

This is my daughter’s beloved fairy bedroom, thankfully she does love fairies and bunnies and prettiness because I had been dreaming of using this Jane Churchill Fairies Wallpaper and Curtains since before she was born!

Our son’s room with the most amount of storage that I could create for one small cleptomaniac.

This is a rare, once a year shot of my son’s bedroom, I suspect he is a mess magnet, he simply needs to walk into his room and the carpet needs hoovering, the crates are on the floor spilling their contents like a vomiting behemoth and the bed unmakes itself. I keep trying to catch this actually happening with no proof yet, but one day I will witness this natural phenomenon.

The teeny tiny main bathroom

The radiator in here is always on because it is heated by La Aga, this makes the cork floor an absolute podiactric delight; the original mullion window is utterly charming and totally bent so the frames don’t actually fit which makes sitting on the loo a very odd experience: warm feet, freezing head…Ahhhh, old cottages, so much charm.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

February 14, 2023 at 3:07 pm

Lovely description, feel every word being three quarters through renovating a 17 c thatched grade II Listed cottage .. wonky walls, draughty windows.. We had a greedy Aga in our last house so opted for an electric Bertazzoni chefs oven this time.. couldn’t get underfloor heating so in really cold weather it can be cold head & feet .. no gas allowed in our village in Dorset either, due to number of thatch properties! It’s picture postcard for sure but we are truly custodians to this golden ham stone pile of ‘rubble’ which sits perfectly amongst the apple trees.. Don’t get me started on the apples !! I need your beautiful lounge curtains; off to google those now & blanket lined is a new one! Thank you for sharing your lovely cottage 😍

Rebecca Lovattreply
May 20, 2023 at 9:14 am
– In reply to: Julie

I am so sorry, I have only just seen this message! Your home sounds amazing – Dorset is such a magical part of the world- what an exciting project!!! Blanket everything I say!!!! Old houses are truly a joy but my goodness they can be cold! I hope the renovations are going well Rxxxxx

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