Honeysuckle and Willow cottages are loved by those who stay regularly for their space and layout but never as popular as some of our other cottages and Scandinavian Lodges. There location since the Pirate boat and Train came along is perfect, tucked away at the end of the estate get river fronting with fun activities just outside the door. If I am honest these pet free cottages still need more updating from their 80’s origins. We have changed a lot by way of lighting and soft furnishings, including 6ft supersized beds, but it is the expensive stuff that is going to make a difference from here on in.
To us one of the key issues had been the fire place. The 80’s style fake concrete hood over the old wood burner was both ineffective and ugly. Much of the heat was taken straight up the chimney, which for a large cottage relying on night storage heating and eclectic heaters was far from ideal. Furthermore the flue took a sharp turn through to the bedroom before joining the chimney making starting the fire with a good draw tricky. Many times we would have guests asking for help to get the fire going with plumes of smoke coming out into the living room. This was of no benefit to anyone and we knew it needed addressing. We took advantage of our winter shut down period to knock out the old concrete monstrosity. It was a messy job to say the least.
The concrete lintels themselves holding up the fake hood was relocated in our Den building zone making a perfect fire surround to the kids campfire.
Meanwhile I had the best job of choosing the style of the new wood burners. As ever I turned to Facebook with my shortlist and the contemporary look of the stylish wood burner from Kernow Fires won.
The Challenge of fitting a New Wood Burner
It took 4 days of work in the end for the men from Kernow Fires to fit each new wood burner as it was quite complex with the chimney angle.
However as is so often the case one job led to another. Removing the old concrete hood revealed a more serious problem on the south west facing side of Willow. This is the end of our land with stunning views across the neighbouring farmer’s sheep field.
The weather can beat against this side of the house and the recent wet winter saw the pointing fail. Damp was seeping into the internal walls. Faced with the prospect of another few thousand pounds on top of the cost of the wood burners, my handyman set about repointing the whole wall himself. He has never tried pointing in his life so I was super impressed to see how well he did it. It did take 2 weeks to complete and hours of diligent work so I can see why having a professional in would cost so much, however I was delighted with the result of Nick’s efforts and I think he actually found it quite therapeutic!
This left one final task, we had days of a dehumidifier and heaters in the living room to dry out the wall before we could repaint. We were working on it right up to the day the guests arrived for February half term, but thankfully with a roaring fire lit on their arrival and plenty of heat coming from each new wood burner to warm the room, both Honeysuckle and Willow looked transformed.
There are still changes I want to make in here in time, I’d like to update the kitchens again and rethink the fake beams downstairs, but for now each new wood burner has made a huge visual and practical difference for the 2016 season. With fun features like the play den and whirlpool bathroom, hopefully these spacious cottages will continue to provide a happy base for a working farm family holiday with us.
“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.