A cosy renovated cottage makes the perfect first home

Katie Thompson and Lee Anderson, have lovingly renovated a tired period cottage to create their dream first home brimming with modern country charm

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At 24 years old, first-time buyers Katie and Lee accomplished something seasoned renovators twice their age would be proud of: they transformed their Victorian cottage in just over four months, and all on a shoestring.

Project Notes

Owner: Katie Thompson, a marketing assistant, and her partner Lee Anderson, a plasterer
Property:  A 19th-century, two-bedroom cottage set in a historic Nottinghamshire village
Essential repairs:  The ceilings on the first floor were removed, leaving the rooms open to the rafters. The entire property was insulated, replumbed and rewired before a new kitchen and bathroom were fitted
Layout:  On the ground floor a hallway opens into a large living-cum-dining room and separate kitchen. Upstairs, a master bedroom and guest bedroom are served by a large bathroom 

 The interior had been untouched since the 1980s, so was in need of an update, but the advantages of generous rooms and period details outweighed the dated decor. With plenty of experience and contacts in the building trade, Lee felt confident to carry out most of the jobs himself, taking the property right back to its shell to make sure things were exactly as they wanted them. 


Related articles: 11 charming cottage homes | How to prepare your house for renovation | How much does renovating cost? | Buying a renovation project

cosy cottage dining area country style

One end of the large living room has been transformed into an inviting dining area. The pew was made bespoke and is softened with plaid cushions from Dunelm, while the bureau was left by the previous owner. The chairs were being thrown out by a friend, but Katie revived them with a lick of paint 


 Katie and Lee opted for a classic Shaker-style kitchen in Taupe from Cooke & Lewis at B&Q, which was installed by an independent joiner to fit the awkward angles of the space.  Conveniently, Lee’s brother had just enough underfloor heating mat left over from his renovation to fit under the limestone floor 


To complete the country look, they chose a warm oak worktop, installed a butler’s sink from Ebay and a classic cream Rangemaster. 

country cottage living room

 In the living room Katie and Lee insulated and rebuilt walls, sandblasted ceiling beams, rebuilt the brick chimney breast around a new log-burner and redecorated to create a bright yet cosy and characterful space. The sofa was just £70 from Gumtree and the armchair once belonged to Lee’s great grandmother. Lee used off-cuts from an oak kitchen worktop to create windowsills 


 To put their stamp on the space, Katie and Lee have added personal touches throughout, such as hanging their initials in the hallway. The handy storage chest-cum-seat was left by the previous owner and the oak parquet came from B&Q 


 Keen to make use of every inch of space, Katie teamed a small desk with an antique chair to make a small study area on the landing. The sliding oak barn door to the bathroom 


 Lee removed all the ceilings upstairs to almost double their height and create a light and airy feel, while Katie transformed a pine bed with a distressed paint effect to create a unique centrepiece for the master bedroom. Pretty floral bedding from Dunelm, a soft sheepskin rug and framed wallpaper samples give the room a feminine finishing touch 


 In the bathroom, a roll-top bath from Victoria Plum takes pride of place. The couple wanted a wood floor, but were worried about warping, so opted for wood-effect ceramic tiles 


 Katie and Lee struggled to find a traditional-style washstand so instead mounted basins onto an old console table found on Gumtree 


 Katie and Lee fell in love with both the cottage and the village setting