If there’s one thing that the UK does better than anywhere else on the planet, it’s country cottages. Our rolling dales and stark countryside landscapes just wouldn’t be complete without the dotting of these tiny buildings throughout. They’re like seasoning; we have the salt of the white, more modern builds – and the cracked black pepper of older stone architecture.
Just a quick search in Google turns up a plethora of rentable properties in remote locations across the length and breadth of the UK. Many tourists, homegrown and foreign alike, choose to spend a weekend away in a remote location, guarded by the safety of a country cottage. They envisage nights wrapped up in the warmth of a blanket, sat by an open wood burning stove as the wind and rain howls away outside.
And here we come to the keyword. Outside. For the issue is that many old cottages will suffer from the same problem. Left exposed to harsher elements than seen in the cities, the window and door fittings will often suffer from problems to do with the swelling and shrinking of the wood. Rattling frames, penetrating draughts and, even worse, rain entering the property, can turn a cosy cottage into a snivelling nightmare.
Only recently I went to stay in a cottage down in Devon. It was beautifully serene, right on the coast. The interior was lavish and modern. Perfect. It was only as we cracked open the Merlot at night, ready to watch the flames lick at the wood, that we discovered the timber bay windows were warped allowing a tremendous gale to pour in from the sea. Bitterly cold it went some way to marring an otherwise fabulous weekend.
More often than not the insides of these otherwise unassuming buildings will be furnished exquisitely. From a rustic style complete with exposed wooden beams to the more modern minimalist approach, their charm is always individual and precious. It is a shame that some properties will allow poor and cheap window installation to depreciate the property’s valuable characteristics.
A good, fitted, multi-layered hardwood frame would have suited that place in Devon down to the ground. The old style bay windows could have been enhanced with some beautifully finished timber frames that would have highlighted the interior’s use of dark Walnut wood flooring.
Perhaps many cottage owners worry that they won’t be able to get windows that will fit their old properties, what with their un-standard dimensions. And perhaps that is true of some companies, but I’d like to think that we go out of our way to make sure that we can help everyone, however, we can. The last thing we want to see is a beautiful countryside cottage let down by inferior workmanship.
Image by: Leshaines123