What started as a modest project – to install a delightful wood-burning stoves in each cottage and a slightly more ambitious endeavour to use the ground’s warmth for heating and hot water – quickly grew into quite a substantial undertaking. In addition to the underfloor heating and replacement of the gas hobs with (lovely Neff) induction hobs, we had to replace all the upstairs pipework and radiators too – in all of the cottages. A full decoration was therefore on the cards and it was our mission to give each cottage a unique feel. Further, the kitchen in Swaledale Garth was going to be rather too close to (the only place the planners would let us site) it’s new wood-burner, and we wanted to give Rigg Barn a more substantial, more modern kitchen and add an en-suite shower room to its master bedroom.
Having engaged a market leader to install the Heat Pumps themselves and a local plant hire company to expertly do the required trench digging, we went on to employ a variety of local independent tradespeople to do all the interior work, from improving the lighting and other electrics to fitting kitchens, upgrading and/or entirely refitting bathrooms, painting and wallpapering. A wonderful local woman who restores furniture in her garage whilst her children are at school upcycled many wooden items for us. We have bought second-hand furniture when we’ve found good quality pieces locally, and when it was necessary to buy things new, we tried to buy items that would last and which have eco-credentials, like many of the bed blankets (by Weaver Green) which are made from recycled plastic, but feel incredibly luxurious. In sourcing as much as possible, we supported local shops, for example John Young’s in Keswick helped us enormously with the interior fabrics and other finishing touches, and Purdon&co. picture framers in Penrith. We also used a local independent business to lay the stunning floor finish. The new carpets are all Herdwick Wool, supporting traditional Cumbrian sheep-farmers and installed by an independent Cumbrian company. The landscaping to give each of the white cottages its own outdoor seating area is also being undertaken by a small local business who pride themselves on their standard of work and sympathy for the local landscape.
Why not take a look online and see which cottage you’d like to stay in next? Here are a few of our favourite new spots: