17Th century cottage: A Carefully Restored 17th Century English Cottage

A 17th-century Cotswold cottage with a distinctly Welsh aesthetic

To describe this as a Welsh cottage in the Cotswolds would not be too far off the mark. For Ben Adler and proud Welshwoman Pat Llewellyn, both successful television producers of programmes such as Two Fat Ladies, The Naked Chef, Kitchen Nightmares, Great British Menu and Mary Queen of Shops, it was a bolthole in which they could relax away from their high-pressured life in London.

Having seen the cottage mentioned in Country Life, Pat drove to take a look. On entering the village, she passed 10 immaculate allotments on the gently sloping field that formed the centre of a hamlet. Finding the cottage tucked into a rose-covered corner with a small stream running through the garden, she fell in love with it.

It seemed idyllic, but the reality was far from perfect. For four years, they would arrive to a stone-cold house for the weekend, leaving again when it had just began to warm up on the Sunday evening. An unappealing Fifties lean-to building contained oil tanks, log storage and a downstairs loo. Pat loved to cook, but it had a tiny narrow kitchen. It was time to do something about it. Pat tracked down Hilton Marlton, a historic house consultant specialising in the design and restoration of old buildings, whom Ben calls ‘an unbelievably talented artist with a wonderful eye’. Hilton agreed wholeheartedly with the couple’s plan to restore the cottage using authentic methods. As work started, Pat was diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually take her life. Such was her dedication to the project she wanted to go ahead nonetheless.

Researching the property’s history, they found it was one of the few buildings in the area erected in the mid-17th century, and the oldest in the village. They hired local architect David Newton and both he and the conservation officers were brilliant: planning permission was granted within six weeks. The roof was retiled, the front door moved back to the centre of the main building and the unsightly lean-to replaced by a more substantial extension to provide a larger kitchen, pantry and loo, with a generous bathroom above. Crittall windows had been inserted at some point into the stone mullions, so new metal casements were designed by David and fitted with lead-lights using antique Welsh glass. He was also responsible for configuring the guest bathroom and stairs.

A Yorkshire peasants’ cottage sensitively overhauled with attention to historical detail

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The ceilings had been covered with matchboarding, but once this was removed, the original beams were revealed – as was a modern steel beam running the width of the dining room. This was replaced by a huge oak beam, supporting the floor above. Many of the original elm floorboards on the two top storeys had rotted or been replaced with inferior wood. Hilton drove to Aberdeenshire and bought a large quantity of new elm planks, some 14 inches wide. These were planed and sanded and, when laid, were stained with Van Dyck crystals – a traditional wood dye made from walnut shells – then finished with wood ash and linseed oil.

Downstairs, the carpets were removed from the concrete floors so underfloor heating could be installed. Hilton sourced large reclaimed York flags for the sitting room and laid new Cotswold stone flags from Syreford Quarries in the kitchen and dining room. Initially, Pat hated these, saying they looked far too modern and more Pizza Express than 17th-century cottage, so Hilton spent hours distressing them until they matched the antique slabs.

A sincere believer that vernacular buildings look the way they do because local materials have been used, Hilton brought back a load of soil from a ploughed field nearby. He slaked and sifted it to create the base colour for the limewash used throughout the replastered house, so ‘it becomes part of the landscape’.

A new kitchen and pantry (complete with antique Delft tiles and a stone sink found on Ebay) were created in the new extension. Here, an Aga with brick piers and Welsh slate on either side and a splashback of oxidised steel were installed. Ben had found a yellow housekeeper’s cupboard online and, determined to make it fit, sawed off a section of the top so it would fit under the beams.

As the garden had been largely destroyed by the building work, Hilton introduced the couple to Jess Jones, a wonderful garden designer based at Little Barn Nursery in Llandeilo. Pat asked her to ‘plant a garden that my aunt might have designed’, resulting in the ultimate cottage garden with wisteria, catmint, yarrow, salvia, plume thistles, irises, lavender and foxgloves. (Pat and Ben’s London garden is just as lovely and can be seen here.)

Almost everything in the house is bespoke and, in their devotion to ensuring each is detail correct, they have created an interior true to the period of the house. Every element is beautifully crafted to offer comfort without losing character. An achievement indeed.

Hilton Marlton Design: hiltonmarlton.com

Natural colors and materials enhance the beauty of this 17th-century cottage |

This pretty 17th-century cottage has been lovingly restored and brought back to life by its new owners from a seriously neglected state.  

Now renovated, and furnished with a mix of investment and high-street buys, plus vintage finds and upcycled pieces, the country cottage is one of the world’s best homes

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This simple, unassuming property was in dire need of renovation, and its original features had been woefully neglected, but owners Gayle and Paul felt strongly that the bones of the place had to be restored properly before they could even start to think about decorating it. 

The house was built in 1675, in Northamptonshire, UK, and was once two workman’s cottages that had been combined into one larger cottage about 70 years ago. Its painstaking restoration included everything from replacing concrete pointing with lime plaster, to fitting timber-framed alternatives to the rotten windows. The owners researched every detail before making any changes. 

Living room

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby)

At the far end of the living room is the cottage’s original oak front door, which Gayle calls her ‘Hobbit’ door, as it’s so tiny and low. As she ducked her head and stepped into the house for the first time, it was this ancient door that made her realise she wanted to buy the house. It summed up every that’s special about an old property – character, history and permanence.  

Anyone looking for living room ideas will find inspiration in this peaceful scene, particularly if there are important period features to take into account in the room. Here, the original beams and huge inglenook fireplace stand out well against the soft white walls, with sofas and pillows in pale neutral shades to add to the sense of tranquility. 

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby)

The other end of the living room showcases one of the sensitive updates the owners made – replacing a heavy staircase with simpler open stairs with ironwork banisters. The iron pieces were made to Gayle’s designs by a travelling blacksmith. These clean-lined staircase ideas were chosen to complement the graphic look of the original beams against the soft white paint. A real case of less is more. 

White kitchen

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby)

As part of their kitchen ideas, the couple looked carefully at the layout and decided to move the range cooker, which had been curiously placed across one corner of the room. By moving it to the other side they gained space for four more cupboards. They replaced the range doors with new ones, a great way to keep costs in check when you’re smartening up a kitchen. 

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby)

Paul and Gayle also upgraded some of the kitchen’s more recent additions, replacing 1970s quarry-tiles with limestone flooring to give the space a sparkling new look. Gayle updated the existing wooden kitchen cabinets by painting them in an eggshell paint, adding new handles and fitting a new quartz worktop.

Dining room

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby)

Dining room ideas for this characterful space are all about enhancing and working with the room’s beautiful original features. The honey-coloured stone wall has been left exposed to illustrate the cottage’s origins. Some of the dining room furniture was sourced secondhand online then upcycled to get the limewashed finish the couple envisaged. New tumbled limestone flooring replaces the 1970s quarry tiles that jarred with the home’s period features. 

Mud room update

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby)

A mudroom at the back door makes the ideal space for outdoor clothes and gardening paraphernalia. Gayle added an upcycled cupboard for coats, and a low chest of drawers, that doubles as a bench seat with storage space for gloves and hats – great mudroom ideas that work well in a period property like this one. 

Primary bedroom

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby)

Looking for country bedroom ideas for a calming sanctuary space? The panelled wall is the perfect choice for a rustic look, and this one cleverly includes a ‘secret’ cupboard. Décor is kept to restful soft pale pinks and off-whites and grays, while botanical prints are a further nod to the home’s rural setting.  

Further renovations are planned for the bathroom, and the couple dream of adding a timber-framed orangery leading from the kitchen so they can appreciate the garden all year round. But all that will take time and these careful renovators say they are in no hurry. 

Original feature: Sharon Parsons
Photographs: Richard Gadsby

How a 17th century house was found inside a 19th century house

At first glance, it seems that the old pre-Petrine white-stone chambers with a high porch are built into an almost modern building. This is an example of a miraculous discovery of a remarkable ancient monument, of which there are so few left in the historical part of the capital.

Until the 1960s, the mansion was known as the home of the famous playwright Alexander Sukhovo-Kobylin’s parents. Although outwardly the building did not stand out for anything remarkable, especially in comparison with the luxurious neighborhood of the Yusupov Palace, nevertheless, according to some signs, Moscow architects guessed that the house was not so simple.

According to archival data, it turned out that the father of the playwright and hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, Vasily Sukhovo-Kobylin, did not rebuild the house, but only rebuilt an older building, adding wings to it and redesigning the building in the classical style.

Research conducted by architects in the 1960s revealed that literally under the 19th century plaster, the ancient core of the building was preserved – two-story palace-type residential chambers covered with vaults, erected at the end of the 17th century. And that these pre-Petrine chambers had two porches, like those of the Faceted Chamber, which were dismantled.

After the restoration, it became noticeable how the old building of the 17th century was “fitted” inside the later extensions

After specifying the dimensions of the ancient part, the plaster was knocked off the facade of the mansion, and traces of elegant decor in the Moscow baroque style were revealed on the brick wall. Everything has been perfectly preserved: the front residential second floor with original stone architraves and more modest window frames on the lower floor, which is of economic importance. The house was decorated with paired columns, and it was all crowned with a magnificent carved cornice.

After the name of the first known owner, the building is now called “Ratmanov’s Chambers”, although the plaque on the mansion says that this is the house of the Sukhovo-Kobylins

It turned out that the ancient building was built at the end of the 17th century, and one of the first owners Chambers was the Moscow clerk Andrian Ratmanov. On special instructions from the young Tsar Peter, Andrian Grigoryevich was sent in 1703 to the Siberian cities of Tyumen and Verkhoturinsk to collect taxes from merchants and conduct a census of the population fit for military service.

For this complex and even dangerous work, Ratmanov received an annual salary in advance and became the owner of the white-stone chambers. However, after the death of the clerk in 1723, “abuses of power during the census in Siberia” were revealed, and his property was “rewritten to the sovereign.”

Archival photograph of the 1970s: the facade of the building has already been restored, but the dismantled porch-locker has not yet been rebuilt

Then, in the 18th century, Prince Ivan Kozlovsky became the new owner of the house, after whose name the lane where the building is located is now named . The prince rebuilt the chambers into a classic 18th-century mansion, ruthlessly covering the old-fashioned chambers with new decor.

At the moment, not only the facade has been restored in the building (which turned out to be “inscribed” in parts of the house, added in the 18th and 19th centuries), but also a beautiful porch-locker, and the internal layout. So now the chambers form a single ensemble with the neighboring Volkov-Yusupov Palace, some parts of which were built under Ivan the Terrible.

The restored porch of Ratmanov’s chambers

There are plans to restore the interior decoration of the chambers, maybe in a few years a new museum will be opened there.

About how the Yusupov princes tried to hide their treasures in the neighboring palace: The Yusupov Moscow Treasure

“Baba Katya’s House” and other houses of the 17th (?) century: tito0107 — LiveJournal

For several years I wrote that there are no not a single wooden residential building, authentically built in the 17th century. Once, having read about the 17th century estate from the Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha Museum of Wooden Architecture, I simply rejected it, but now I am more careful. Both the estate as a whole and the hut itself are a “hodgepodge”:

It was assembled in parts, because it is very rare to find buildings of this time. A hut from the village of Tabory was taken as a basis, several logs were added from the village of Mysy, a roll-up log ceiling was transported from Cheremisina, a log pediment from Nikonova, a slab from Aramashka.

The question remains: on what basis did these houses (or at least one of them) date back to the 17th century? The question is not rhetorical, I’m really interested. Have dendrochronological studies been carried out? (I suspect not, if there were, the dates would be more accurate). Estates 17, 18 and 19centuries from Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha – rather an attraction. (In the dating of the latter, however, there is no doubt, and I am quite ready to admit the 18th century.

“Baba Katya’s House”

They say that in another Ural village, Koptelovo, there are as many as four residential buildings of the 17th century. The most famous of them is “Baba Katya’s house”. Its owner, Ekaterina Timofeevna Kalinina, moved to live with her relatives in 1971 (she was 93 years old), and sold the hut for firewood, but local historian Alexander Grigorievich Potoskuev defended it.0003

“Baba Katya’s House”
Again, it is not clear what the dating is based on. Blogger varandej retells the words of the guide on this subject:

my question about how it turned out that the hut survived to this day, the guide baffled … It turned out that only in one Koptelovo hut of the 17th century 4 pieces are known, and one of them is in ruins, and two are inhabited. Later, I saw two more huts of the 17th century in Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha – the museum is much more solid and popular there, and if they can still make mistakes or embellish in Koptelovo, then in Sinyachikha they can’t.

In general, “a person who talks to Jehovah every day cannot lie!” Alas, experience shows that museum staff can be wrong. And the plates, by the way, after the appearance of new information, change, as a rule, reluctantly.
Perhaps I am mistaken too, but, like other Koptel houses, the “house of Baba Katya”, apparently, was not dated by annual rings, and this, in this case, is the only reliable method of dating.
It is possible to trace the history of the house from the documents, but they usually do not make it possible to state that the house has never been rebuilt since the first mention. Compare with the houses of the first half of the 18th century and declare on the basis of archaism that these are more ancient? But with wooden rural houses of the first half of the 18th century (and the second too) the same problem as with the huts of the 17th century – few reliably dated.
They write that log gables were forced out after the time of Peter the Great, when boards began to be sawn en masse – but this is not so, to put it mildly: there were enough of them in the 19th century.
varandej cited another argument in favor of dating the 17th century: the Russian hut evolved slowly, the northern huts of the early 19th century are few from the houses of the early 20th, which means that it may well be the 17th century. The argument is also so-so, if only because the speed of evolution can be different, and comparing houses from different regions is not entirely correct.

Ural wooden houses dating back to the 17th century really look very archaic: they were cut down from huge logs (forest was still in abundance), blocks instead of boards, but why couldn’t these signs be in the architecture of the next century, at least its first half?

I will be grateful to someone who will give links to articles with the rationale for dating these houses in the 17th century.