During our new year close down period we have been busy at work with maintenance and new projects ready for the 2015 season. Recently I shared some of our outdoor developments forming a new Wild Adventures section at Coombe Mill. This week is all about a new look for Water Mill, our old 16th Century cottage steeped in history.
Water Mill is part of the original structure of Coombe Mill. It is close to the river Camel and believed to have been an old flour mill run on water from a big wheel on the side back in the 1700s. When we visited a museum with a working Water Mill last February it really brought to life how life at Coombe Mill must once have been.
It has undergone many changes even in the 13 years we have been at Coombe Mill not least a renaming from Old Mill to Water Mill to avoid confusion with neighbouring Millers House. We took over a very 1980s chintz and frills looking cottage , I was digging all over for a photo from back then when I spotted one quite by chance on my facebook timeline.
Thanks to Trevor Gamble for the Photo
We soon ditched the chintz in favour of a contemporary look which exposed the old cottage features. At the same time we added insulation to the roof, a modern powerful woodburner and skylights to give both warmth and daylight, however the kitchen has remained untouched for we believe 15 years plus. It was not a disaster and has stood the test of time well, but damp in the cupboards which were up against thick granite external walls built long before damp proofing was thought of was creating an unpleasant smell on opening. When looking closely the whole feel was beginning to date against the now modern and airy looking living room. A few guests had mentioned it to us last year and so it was top of our list for our closed season.
My favourite part is redesigning and shopping for the kitchen. This we did last autumn with everything on order ready to start work. I new our finished look would be different to the shop as it is an awkward shape we are working with and not a conventional square but I knew these contemporary clean line units would brighten up the old cottage kitchen.
No sooner had our New Year guests left than the family team piled in to move all the lose items to the living room which then looked like a junkyard and begin ripping, banging and chipping out the old units.
By the time the Carpenter arrived on Monday 5th January it was a blank canvas ready to begin.
A full two weeks of measuring, fixing and redesigning followed as fitting a modern kitchen into an old cottage is never easy. I hadn’t taken enough account of the low beams, sloping angled walls and uneven slate floor. Not to mention my desire to provide a full size dishwasher and separate full size tumble drier where previously there were suboptimal half size versions. Eventually we found a way to make things both look right and function fully. My main concern was easy access to the fridge and oven which as a busy Mum I know are critical, Farmer Nick was working on a lovely design where you might have needed some gymnastics training before trying to remove a hot tray from the oven!
Finally with the kitchen complete we bought new appliances to match.
I saved the old willow design dinner service and other such dated items from the bin and stashed them in the top store where I have an idea forming to use them in craft activities as they are too pretty to throw away. The clean white however looks more at home with the new look with stylish tall wine glasses too.
A new Dining table and sturdy chairs were added and now I’m proud to welcome anyone into this old cottage which is steeped in history but also practical and modern for a family holiday. However there is always more I want to do, in this case I still want to put a shower into the upstairs family bathroom. Currently head height and the water tank are an issue but my own standards are high and I know this would benefit many of our visitors; it is next on the list for this property so watch this space (there is a shower in the downstairs en suite bathroom currently).
If you fancy a week in Water Mill Cottage this year, it is open again for bookings and we would love to welcome you.
“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.