History of the Cottage – 21st century

A gentle development at Round Table

Between Easter 2013 and 2014 we were closed to visitors and family alike owing to construction work on a lovely new extension as well as the installation of new windows and loft insulation all around the building.

We’ve long thought that it would be lovely to have an extra shower room at Round Table
and that the old entrance through the garage, while entirely functional, was not as welcoming
as we would like it to have been.

So in 2012, we searched for an architect to help us to do this. We didn’t simply want to “bolt on” an extra space. We were looking for someone who understood old buildings, yet who was not constrained by them. We also wanted to use someone local if at all possible. A search of the RIBA’s list of conservation architects produced a number of possibilities. They always say the “proof of the pudding is in the eating” so we wanted to find examples of sympathetic changes to existing buildings. We were delighted to find Bob O’Neil in Kendal whose website suggested he might fit the bill.

Much discussion later, LDNPA granted us planning permission to demolish the existing garage, and rebuild it having turned it through 90 degrees, and raised the roof. This has enabled us to add the shower room, but also to create a new entrance to the cottage without needing to go through the garage, a new space for wet boots and coats, and a new “studio” room above the shower. It has also changed the parking area giving it a little more space. We had to take out a couple of apple trees, but they were old and unproductive, and should give us the inspiration to plant rather more fruit trees in the top of the field opposite. Apples and some damsons we think.

The work is now complete, and history of its progress can be seen on our Facebook page

Huge thanks go to Bob himself who has project managed the work; to builder Stephen Grindrod and his staff and contractors, to Marthwaites in Sedbergh for the new windows and doors throughout, and to Stonegate Gallery for the stained glass front door.

A vast raspberry is still to be blown in the direction of Electricity North West who say on their website that their values include ensuring that they will “Delight our customers in everything we do.” I paid them £2,500 in May 2013 to move our electricity supply and by January 2014 they still had not done it, with the result that there was a six foot section of 240V cable sticking out of our new parking area around which the builders had to work. Threats of letters to MPs suggesting their right to charge in advance should be removed eventually worked and they refunded the entire amount. But caused mayhem to the timetable and our long suffering neighbour (since the new parking area could not be used as a builder’s yard) along the way.

Early in the project Bob made us a model to show what all this might look like, and it’s interesting to compare model with reality. You can see the making of the model on his Facebook pages

(If the collection of pictures from Facebook doesn’t pull through then one of them is visible here.)

One of the by-products of doing this work is that we now have an almost complete set of drawings of the house, and for the first time we can see quite how thick the walls actually are. And we know that the kitchen area is much older than we thought.

The lower floors (but not at the same level)
The lower floors (but not at the same level)
The upper floors (not at the same level though)
The upper floors (not at the same level though) – the original house drawings not done by O’Neil Associates


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