Coombe Mill dates back to the 16th Century when it was a working Mill and small holding. The Millers House, where the family and most likely the animals lived back then was the largest building followed by the Water Mill where all the work took place and a further cottage now called Two Chimneys. Coombe Mill became a small holiday business in the late 1960s with these properties followed by our current riverside lodges.
Millers House with the earliest holidaymakers.
In the late 1970s the outbuildings of a barn and stable were converted to make Roots and Tree Tops Cottages. For years they were popular at Coombe Mill but towards the end of their life the problems with damp and lack of space and facilities were becoming an issue. Holiday expectations have risen so far in recent years and these two cottages were simply never going to meet these demands, despite being full of character and quaint looking.
Let the work begin
And so in 2012 we closed down Roots and Tree Tops and used our winter period to demolish them, but not before we had a bit of fun in there for Halloween. It was sad to see them go; though I knew what we had in mind for their replacement was going to be far superior.
The work was not confined to the properties themselves, there were huge amounts of ground work needed to clear the bank at the back, make a proper garden and allow the light in and improve the drainage which had been such an issue previously. The cost was such that we had to make the build a 2 year project stopping at the foundations and making the site safe in 2013 then continuing the build that winter. Farmer Nick was there to oversee and project manage every step of the way.
Being a timber framed property the build shot up and we were so lucky with the weather, a lovely 2 week window of dry clear days meant the builders had the frame up and watertight before the heavens opened.
We really paid for it after that with the relentless rain of January and February but there was plenty to do indoors with modern insulation, plumbing, electrics and more. I find this part of the build quite frustrating, hours turn into days and months with so little to really show, but it is important to get it right. The underfloor heating is quite a science and there are plenty of tea breaks in the building trade.
Outside similarly took weeks of work. We reused all the old granite stone from the previous cottages to face up the front of Tree Roots and what was left made the garden wall.
One side of the old cottage remains as a feature of the wall. This was previously the twin bedroom right down in the flood plain; thank goodness we made the changes when we did as surface water lay in the old bedroom for weeks last winter.
The Finished Cottage
The final cottage looks a perfect balance of old and new with the reclaimed stone. It fits in a treat next to Willow and Honeysuckle cottages to one side and Millers House, Two Chimneys and Water Mill the other. We re-tarmacked the driveway and cottage car parking after all the building lorries finally left which left all the cottages looking fresh and complete.
The Fun part
With the plastering complete inside and the painting well underway it was time to make the blank canvas into a luxury holiday cottage. I say fun because I love the design stage; however it really took it out of Nick and me at times juggling around our already busy lives.
As we scoured the shops and the internet I took delight in sharing purchases and seeking feedback along the way across all social media formats. There really is so much needed to make a home and so much choice out there.
This is our seventh new build in our thirteen years at Coombe Mill so we have a pretty good feel for timing and budget, having said that there is always something new to market and home decorating style moves as fast as clothes fashion. Achieving new and trendy with something that won’t look too “house of 2014” before the first refit is due is a balancing act and one I hope we have right. I am lucky that Farmer Nick is a dab hand with DIY and many of the little extras from stair gates to the patio table and outdoor name plaque were made by him.
Tree Roots has no bathroom tiles or kitchen tiles, new panelling material looks modern and will be more hygienic for longer without grout to clean. The bathroom panels we found online, they are still hard to come by and not widely available. The kitchen backsplash and Kitchen units are from Trago Mills.
Our bedroom furniture was a bit of a gamble as we felt the modern office look would be more contemporary than pine. To make it even funkier we bought something in every colour then mixed and matched draws and doors for a totally individual look. These came from Trago Mills. The fun colours provided the colour scheme for decorating the whole of upstairs. Some of the pictures were reclaimed from the old cottages while others and the Lampshades were bought to tone in with the furniture from The Range.
Instead of pine beds in the master bedrooms we added two super king leather look low rise beds as shown above and complemented these with premium mattresses for these and the single beds from Bed Sale Online ensuring a good night’s sleep for all who stay.
The two master bedrooms have large walk in showers in their ensuite bathrooms and modern ceiling skylights for natural daylight. The family bathroom has the same panelling and shower together with a bath and there is plenty of space in here for bath time with the children.
There are two further bedrooms upstairs, one with twin beds and the other a children’s room to sleep four. All the rooms will comfortably take a cot.
Downstairs the kitchen dining room is the hub of the house. I am thrilled with the look of this room. From our bargain funky sofas, huge dining table and modern kitchen to the cheeky animals canvases on the wall. With a feature log burner between full opening patio doors, this is holiday living at its best.
In addition to the vast kitchen dining room there is a grown up’s living room in sophisticated black with a large cinema style TV. This is intended as an adults retreat while across the corridor the children have their own playroom complete with DVD player and their own TV to watch on comfy bean bags with two boxes of toys to delve into for endless play time.
Finally downstairs just inside the front door we have a utility cloakroom and downstairs toilet. I love this inspired use of the spare shower screen from Farmer Nick as a coat stand. It will be so useful for farm overalls and welly boots after the morning feed run.
Leaving the best to last!
Perhaps the most exciting feature of Tree Roots is what lays beyond the huge patio doors to the rear. A landscaped garden with one of Farmer Nick’s bespoke bench tables to sit 12, a fun playhouse from Activity Toys Direct for the little ones to play in, gates to secure the garden from the rest of Coombe Mill so you can enjoy your private space with the doors open knowing the children are safe and best of all our very first Coombe Mill Hot Tub. This is a quality tub to enjoy by day or night with colourful led lights to turn a Spa evening into a magical social experience. Huge thanks to Ruggles Leisure who professionally advised as on which make to choose and brought and installed the tub for us. If it is as successful as I think it will be we could be keeping them in business for some time refitting other properties too.
To the side of the house with the old cottage wall is a slate patio area with built in BBQ so grownups can cook without little ones being too close. Down two steps the patio continues with an all surface swingball from Cuthberts Toys for older children to enjoy.
See all the Magic of Tree Roots in our Video
I would love to take credit for the video but in fact it is by Mark Futter, one of our guests, who made it for us whilst here with his family on holiday. Thank you Mark it shows off Tree Roots perfectly.
Fancy a visit?
Prices range from £749 to £2299 depending on time of year. The property sleeps ten and is ideal for families to share or for a large family gathering. All electric is included at Tree Roots although use of the hot tub for the week is £35 and the log burner £15 including all the logs you need. It is also our first property to have the Coombe Mill wifi hard wired inside so you can enjoy a great connection on our superfast broadband in every room as fitted by I Comms South West our friendly local communications provider. Furthermore we make no charge for any of the wifi at Coombe Mill.
Our website has all the details for the property including price, availability and online booking, though I am more than happy to answer your questions or make a booking with you over the phone.
I hope to welcome you and your family soon.
I’m linking my Tree Roots journey up with these great linkys. Click on them to see what others are sharing.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.