Friday, 3 April 2020

Carving a niche.



When I first bought our tiny cottage, it was no more than a ruin.

As you entered via the remains of the 'front door', immediately around to the left was the ancient stone sink, on the left hand wall was a huge open fireplace, and on the wall opposite was a very large, 40 cms deep, integral cupboard, with a single rotten door hanging off its hinge.

The sink and fireplace were both intact, and simply required cleaning and patching. But the huge cupboard occupied almost all of one whole wall and obviously required alteration.

It was a question of either filling-in the whole thing, or reducing its size dramatically. I chose the latter.

I had a few bits of stone hanging around, so I gave them some chamfered edges, and made what I thought, at the time, was how it might have looked had they done the same thing 300 years previously. It was easy to cut, and easy to install. It also now looks as if it might have been 'original'.

It's strange to think that all those years ago, all the family's glasses, bowls, plates, and cooking utensils would have been kept on those shelves. These days it's home to a mouse, a few bottles and glasses, and some old decanters. 

Other than making a more solid cupboard, it has left plenty of space either side for hanging paintings. The initial shelf-room has been reduced by about 80%. 

It's better than it was, and you'd never know it was new.

33 comments:

  1. Looks good, as you say it looks as though it has always been there.

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  2. What kind of mouse is on the shelves?

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    1. It's a Mouse who lives in the wall. He occasionally appears from the back at the top, looks around a bit, then returns to his home in amongst the stones. I have considered plastering the hole, but I think it's as much his home as mine. We don't see him too often.

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  3. It must be very satisfying to live in a house that was once a ruin, knowing that you yourself through your will, vision and hard work turned it into a comfortable home. I guess your wife helped too!

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    1. It's hard to imagine now how it once was. We originally designed it as a 'play house', and to a great extent it is still that. Lady M certainly got stuck-in when capable; we did much of the 'tower' roof together.

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    2. What has happened to Lady M. You say "she got stuck in when capable". Has she had an accident?

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    3. Not at all, but lifting 30 Kilo lumps of concrete up ladders, was not really her thing. Whenever she felt capable of certain tasks, she was there!

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    4. When it comes to DIY building work, there's a lot to be said for marrying a Russian shot putter.

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  4. Your home is so beautiful and special and humble. I love the style.

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    1. 'Humble' is the right word. It's very much a peasant cottage, and we've tried to preserve that feeling.

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  5. You did a magnificent job on that cupboard and the wall. It really does blend in as it should. Many of the old houses had cupboards like that but not such a size as that. My m in law had all her plates and glasses in such a cupboard and my f - in law had made a draw which fitted into a smaller hole for the cutlery. It was a draw which never 'drew' , it had to be tugged with many jerks.
    Their house was not as old as yours though. 300 years is a lot of history. You must often look around and admire your work and think of its history.

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    Replies
    1. I cringe at those mistakes. I do know the word is draw-er.

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    2. The 300 years are beginning to show again, I think we may need to do some more restoration before too long.

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  6. Does your mouse never come out and have a little scurry around?

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    1. We don't see him very often. He probably comes out whilst we're asleep.

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  7. It looks very good. Did you paint the wall around it with the diamonds?

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    1. Yes. I did it whilst Lady M was away; she'd asked me to paint the walls.

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  8. Replies
    1. I'm so used to it being there now, that I almost think of it as 'original'.

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  9. It looks great and very original. If you didn't know, it could be an altar; many Catholics of old would have had something like a niche for domestic worship.

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    1. We have a very simple old brass crucifix that we found in the house. It has a very basic cross, a small Christ, and a skull-n-crossbones. It's almost eerie!

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  10. I'd use it for some of my pottery collection. You made me realise that the basic structure of my house is almost 100 years old. Many of the Stornoway town centre houses are well over 100 years old. Tempus fugit.

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    1. Are there any prehistoric sites on the island? I know that many of those islands were inhabited by early monks too.

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  11. I see you made good use of the space.

    Do you know the history of the house and of the folks who had lived there previously?

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    1. I believe it was a small cottage used by a family who used to bring cows here from another farm, for extra grazing. So probably only used occasionally. Originally it had a barn attached, but it fell down and the previous owner took away all the stones.

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  12. That stone work looks like it's been there forever. Excellent job!

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    1. It certainly doesn't look new, but that's probably on account of my rough building work.

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  13. I would love a conducted tour of your cottage Cro, it looks so interesting.

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    1. It would be a very short tour, as it's so small. But it's a lovely little house; perfect for us at the moment.

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