You don’t have to be an antiques or renovation expert to restore and refurbish a small country cottage. If you’re ready to do some research and are willing to put in some hard work, you can restore your dream cottage for less than you might expect.
Decide When to Work
As with any renovation, planning is the first step in cottage restoration. You’ll need to give yourself time to finish the work that needs to be done; if it’s too cold in the winter or too warm in the summer, you’ll need to take the seasons into consideration when scheduling work.
Take it One Step at a Time
Renovations turn out much better when they aren’t approached haphazardly. Work on one room at a time, so you can see what works with the structure and gain valuable experience. If you’re calling in a contractor for some jobs, finishing one room at a time may show you that you are more compatible with one tradesman than another.
Don’t Hesitate to Call in a Professional
Restoring a country cottage is a labor of love; if you doubt your skills in any area, work with a contractor who specializes in the refurbishment of old buildings. Doing it yourself may give you a sense of accomplishment and save a bit of money, but if you end up needing a contractor to come in and fix your mistakes, your savings will all but disappear.
Do Your Homework
If this is your first restoration job, start by getting advice from people who have done similar jobs in the past. Before beginning work, find out if your cottage is listed; its status may mean that you cannot change some things. Find out in what era your cottage was built, as well- its era may influence your decision on what to keep and what to renovate, and may also provide inspiration when it’s time to furnish and decorate.
Have Realistic Expectations
With older buildings, there are certain parts that will always be cold or drafty, no matter what kind of renovations are done. Work with, not against the rustic style of the original structure- making it too opulent or modern just won’t look or feel right.
Fit and Finish
When choosing furniture for your restored cottage, opt for comfort and homely appeal. Keep lighting low and warm, as it suits the vintage metal fittings and oak roof beams commonplace in such buildings. Leave beams uncovered; around fireplaces, leaving brickwork bare lends authenticity and charm to your restoration.
When choosing materials for your restoration, go traditional wherever possible. Old cottages are not well-suited to modern materials, as they can trap moisture within the walls. Period cottages aren’t damp proof, meaning that walls and ceilings need to breathe. Roofing slates with an underlying layer of roof felt and a waterproof membrane will give your cottage the rustic look it deserves, while keeping damp out of your home.
Cottages are meant to be small and cozy- when you’re restoring yours, don’t enlarge it by more than ¼ its size. If you really need more space, you should carefully consider whether a country cottage truly suits your needs.