The Story of Lea Cottage

We bought Lea Cottage knowing that it needed gutting and re-building. It was damp and had a suspect roof, but it also had a peaceful charm that we loved. Part of it had been built, around a hundred and fifty years before, as kennels for the working dogs of the local estate, and had two foot thick granite walls. A brick extension had been added in the 1930’s to convert it to a house. We planned to extend it, and add a first floor, and had plans drawn up and passed ready to start.

It was only at that point that we decided we ought to check the foundations. We knew the old part would have none, but having stood for two hundred years it wasn’t going anywhere. The 1930’s extension was another story. We found the top of the foundations two inches below the ground, and the bottom just two inches below that! Its a wonder it was still standing.

The choice became obvious. We had to demolish the entire building, and re-build. We could have gone back to the drawing board, but we liked the character of the renovation plans we had drawn up. We rebuilt the old kennels with the granite walls on the inside, but on solid, dry foundations. This way we got the best of both worlds, we kept the character that had endeared us to the property, whilst embracing modern building techniques.

We had originally viewed this as a renovation project and had planned to do the work ourselves. We were going to live in one part whilst rebuilding another. On deciding to demolish we had to buy a caravan to live in during the build. Having started with a DIY mindset, we just carried on, doing nearly all the work ourselves, bringing in excavators for the heavy work. It certainly took longer, but we have the house exactly as we wanted it.

We were able to incorporate many ecological features to make the house energy efficient. We have a ground source heat pump, with pipes under the garden, which provide the heat for all our central heating and hot water. There is a rainwater harvesting system which reduces our mains water consumption by half. The cavity walls are built with thermal blocks, with cavity insulation, and the roof is insulated with recycled newspaper. The first floor is concrete beam and block, facilitating underfloor heating throughout.

If you are interested in self-build, and eco building techniques, we are happy to discuss it and show you round, but promise we won’t inflict the subject on anyone who might not be interested!

Re-building Lea Cottage has been a rewarding experience, but now we want to enjoy the result and share it with all our visitors.

Lea Cottage Bedroom

Accommodation

There are four bedrooms to choose from, all with en-suite wet room style bathrooms, two with showers, two with bath and separate shower. Each room has a television with FreeSat box, and built-in DVD player...

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Lea Cottage Bedroom

The Story of Lea Cottage

We bought Lea Cottage knowing that it needed gutting and re-building. It was damp and had a suspect roof, but it also had a peaceful charm that we loved.

Read more....