Owners: Chris and Alison Young, both retired, live here and are often visited by their children and grandchildren
Property: A two-bedroom thatched cottage originally built around 1725 with later additions, set in a small Wiltshire village
What they did: The couple updated the kitchen, added a new bathroom and made essential structural repairs. They have decorated throughout taking care to compliment the style of the property and have created a pretty cottage garden
Set in a quiet village behind a picket fence and enveloped by garden, Chris and Alison’s thatched cottage is at its best on a glorious summer’s day; its front borders brimming with a mix of rose bushes, petunia-filled hanging baskets, fuchsias and hollyhocks bobbing in the breeze.
Inside, the house has all the ingredients of a rural English cottage: low ceilings with rustic beams, a deep inglenook and flagstone floors, bound with a timeless country charm.
It’s hard to imagine that this cottage originally consisted of just two rooms, an upstairs and a downstairs, cobbled together within a day. ‘We commissioned a historical survey and it found that the cottage had been built using squatter’s rights under Common Law in the 1700s, which declared that if a house could be built within 24 hours, with smoke coming from its chimney, then the builder could claim the land as his own,’ explains Chris.
‘It was a hurriedly constructed timber-frame building with wattle and daub walls – luckily these features are still intact today, so it’s a rare gem.’
The kitchen was formerly a barn, which was converted and linked to the living space in the 1950s. Chris and Alison reconfigured the room and brightened the highly varnished pine cabinets with a lick of paint.
Chris and Alison Young fell in love with a quintessential English country cottage and have slowly uncovered its hidden secrets.
In the master bedroom an exposed beam partway through the wall indicates the original roof line of the cottage before it was raised and new windows were installed by later generations.
Low ceilings and narrow access meant that it was tricky to accommodate big pieces of furniture, so Chris and Alison extended an existing wardrobe and picked up a selection of old leather luggage cases from flea markets, which can be easily stored above the wardrobe and under the bed.
Chris and Alison have also turned the uninspiring outdoor space into a pretty garden befitting the charm of the house. Step outside and you notice the garden is a continuation of the living space, cleverly zoned by strategically placed plants, fencing and furniture into a series of outdoor rooms.