Welsh Cottage Interiors

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JohnB
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Joined: Tue 22nd May, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: Beautiful sunny West Wales!

Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by JohnB » Sun 25th Oct, 2009 8:03 pm

I'm buying (hopefully, at the 3rd attempt!) a house in West Wales. I'm not sure how old it is, but it was certainly there at the 1891 census, and I've been told it's 200 years old. It has thick stone walls, and an unlined slate roof with slates partly held in place/sealed by lime mortar, that I understand was the local way of doing it. It seems to have been 2 cottages at one time as there is a thick stone wall dividing it, and there are separate electricity supplies to each part. It looks as though neither cottage had a staircase originally, and access to the first floor was by a ladder. It has a large single storey brick kitchen extension added 70+ years ago.

Being from England, I know little about Welsh cottages. I've got an inspiring book called English Cottage Interiors that I like to drool over, but there's nothing in there that shows access to upstairs by ladder, so I assume the Welsh did things differently.

Can anyone point me in the direction of web sites, books etc where I can learn more? It would be great to incorporate some typical features while I'm working on it.

Ian Bond
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Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Ian Bond » Sun 25th Oct, 2009 8:48 pm

Hi

You may have already found this page on PPUK...


http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/ppuk_di ... _021.shtml

The pictured cottage looks like Ty Uchaf at Rhiwddolion near Betws-y-Coed, restored and let to holiday makers by the Landmark Trust.

We stayed nearby at Ty Coch for a week this summer.

Hope this is of use.

Cheers

Ian

Jon Maine
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Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Jon Maine » Sun 25th Oct, 2009 8:53 pm

Gervase may be able to help point you to the right material.

http://pilgrim.ceredigion.gov.uk/index. ... cleid=2508 gives some ideas. If this is not your local authority try the conservation dept at the right one which may prove helpful.

Books by R K Brunskill, P Cunningham, Linda Hall may cover details to help.

Gareth Hughes
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Location: In the wilds of East Anglia

Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Gareth Hughes » Sun 25th Oct, 2009 9:15 pm

And a visit to St Fagans wouldn't hurt
http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/stfagans/

FamilyWiggs
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Joined: Sun 6th Jan, 2008 9:15 am
Location: Flintshire, N Wales.

Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by FamilyWiggs » Sun 25th Oct, 2009 10:28 pm

This is highly recommended by many (including me FWIW!):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Precious-Inheri ... 1905960018

and I've just ordered a copy of this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Discovering-Wel ... 52-3322253

and am thinking of this too:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Welsh-House-Ior ... 52-3322253

Gareth Hughes
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Location: In the wilds of East Anglia

Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Gareth Hughes » Sun 25th Oct, 2009 10:45 pm

Iorwerth Peate is well worth having, though a lot of it is down the social scale from from your mansionette

Cloudscape
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Location: Mid-Wales

Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Cloudscape » Mon 26th Oct, 2009 12:44 pm

The way you've described the house sounds exactly right, and I'm on the other side of Wales.

Was there a true split in building styles and techniques between England and Wales?

I have a room that was accessible only by ladder. Judging by the remains of a bell pulley, the maid (or similar) must have lived there. More than one house locally still has a hatch in the ceiling (but the houses have been altered to allow access to the upper rooms by more conventional means).

I had even considered reinstating my hatch, because it would make a very handy fire escape.

JohnB
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Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by JohnB » Tue 27th Oct, 2009 8:19 pm

That's great thanks. Lots of stuff to look at, and a trip to St Fagans is definitely needed.

The house is at the slightly grander end I should think, as it's 2 storeys. I would love to get an idea of how it might have looked originally. It was rendered with horrible cement in the late seventies, and looks like a pair of 50s council houses from the road at the moment. The nasty plastic windows don't help either. My priority is low-impact, sustainability and energy efficiency, but I want to do it in a way that is sympathetic to how it would have been.

JohnB
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Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by JohnB » Sat 31st Oct, 2009 6:25 pm

I spent the day at St Fagans yesterday. Half term probably isn't a good time to go as it was pretty busy, but at least it was dry! I was really impressed with the houses, and got ideas from some old Welsh methods I could adapt. Most of the really interesting houses were displayed as they would have been in a period before mine would have been built, but I think I learned some useful stuff.

christianb
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Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by christianb » Sat 31st Oct, 2009 6:38 pm

Hi John,

There are a plethora of "how to date your house" books available, both in and out of print. Try going to Amazon (no sales pitch intended) and putting in the search term.

There's also a book called "The House Restorer's Guide" by Hugh Lander that's quite good.

C.

elm
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Location: West Wales

Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by elm » Sat 31st Oct, 2009 9:22 pm

'Save the last of the magic ..... Traditional Qualities of the West Wales Cottage' by Martin Davies - a slim volume but packed full of interesting stuff.

Alex
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Location: South East Wales

Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Alex » Sun 15th Nov, 2009 4:47 pm

Hello John,
Was reading your post about Welsh cottages with interest as we bought an old stone cottage in South East Wales 2 years ago.
The upstairs bit you describe was called a 'croglofft' and was reached by a simple ladder from downstairs. There were several tv programmes which showed homes all over Wales including one by BBC 2 Wales about the farmhouse in Pembrokeshire (called a Pembrokeshire Farm) that was bought by Gryff Rhys Jones and restored to its former glory. It showed the farm to have the same type of roof as the one you described and explained that the reason for the slates having the lime render was that the local slate was of poor quality and the lime render was used to hold the whole thing together. This first series was the best as it showed a lot about the restoration with everything from the problems they had with damp to the feasability of saving the original features such as the roof to lime rendering and plastering to lime washing. I am not trying to advertise and have nothing to do with the company but the farmhouse and next door cottages, as are other Welsh Cottages, are both shown on the website 'under the thatch' as they are both available as holiday lets and show the interior and exterior of both and the photo's are therefore fairly good quality.
If you have sky TV, there are two other programmes (which I notice are not on at the moment but new ones are made and shown every year) and you may be able to find on the Welsh language channel S4C's website were 'Y Ty Cymreig' (the Welsh House), mainly about the interior and exterior architecture of Welsh homes and 04Wal which is only about interiors.
There is also a good book which I like to sit and drool over called Cartrefi Cymreig/Welsh Homes written by Gwenda Griffith and Greg Stevenson, published by Quinto Press Ltd, which is bilingual so English and Welsh speakers both get to enjoy it.
Hope this helps a bit, good luck, Alex.

Moo
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Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Moo » Sun 15th Nov, 2009 5:37 pm

There's an article about Mr Jones's latest restoration in one of today's papers (can't remember which one), and your message has solved one mystery for me: I couldn't for the life of me work out whether he'd painted the roof white (and if so, why?) or for some mysterious Welsh reason the snow had melted everywhere except for on the roof.
Now, thanks to you, I'm just that little bit wiser.

Alex
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Location: South East Wales

Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by Alex » Fri 20th Nov, 2009 6:51 pm

Hello All,

I have noticed that BBC four are showing Return to Pembrokeshire Farm on Thursday evenings at 7.30, although we have missed the first episode, I have just checked and it is available to watch on BBCiplayer. I think that this first episode shows how they covered the roof slates in a layer of lime render (maybe of interest to Moo), plus other things such as Welsh Cottage Interiors which hopefully may help John who originally posted the question.

JohnB
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Re: Welsh Cottage Interiors

Post by JohnB » Fri 20th Nov, 2009 7:02 pm

Alex wrote:I have noticed that BBC four are showing Return to Pembrokeshire Farm on Thursday evenings at 7.30
BBC4! What's that? When I had one of those evil mind control devices there was only BBC1 and 2! With painfully slow mobile internet I've got no hope of using iPlayer either! But thanks for telling me.

There isn't lime render over the roof, it's on the inside sealing the joins. I'm not pushing my luck by posting photos yet, as I'm still waiting to exchange contracts. It should happen, but I've just discovered that the Property Information Forms the seller has completed are a little inaccurate, and I've asked for an indemnity insurance for problems with planning permission and building regs. The beautiful plastic windows don't seem to be legal :roll:.

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