Decisions, decisions.

I can confidently say there are not many things that stress me easily. I am genuinely fairly easy going, and Serafin with his Spanish blood definitely has the ‘mañana’ chilled out attitude to life. Yet recently, the set backs we’ve encountered and decisions we feel have been forced upon us have undoubtedly tested these traits. The overall good news is that we’ve finally had our plans approved for the two extensions either side of the property. The bad news is, that they have been approved on the condition that we render the building in lime. We always knew that rendering in lime would be the best thing for the building if for any reason we did have to provide a rendered finish, but we were truly hoping it wouldn’t come to that. Unfortunately they are adamant that they do not want the original stone exposed, which is such a shame on many levels which I have mentioned in previous posts. We are trying to look forward now though, and therefore have two options:

  1. Pay for more drawings from our architect  and provide a follow on application to the council. Here we can apply only to change the external finish of the building, without affecting other details.
  2. Render the cottage in lime, adding extra unforeseen costs to the project.

Many discussions have been had over these two options, and what the best step is for us to take. This is obviously an incredibly hard decision for us. Our love for restoring historic buildings is taking us one way, yet time is taking us  another. After putting so much hard graft in to restoring much of the stonework already, it’s absolutely gut-wrenching to think of it being covered over. Our hearts are telling us to provide the follow on application, and to fight for the stone…

The main problem we have with this is that we’re not sure how long this will take. We need to make a decision (and act on it) fast, before the winter comes so that we can make the house more draft proof- and therefore warmer. We’re sitting in the lounge with blankets in August, so hate to think what it would be like if the external work (including windows) doesn’t get sorted before the winter. We are certain that the follow on application will be refused, so in that case would then need to go in front of the planning inspectorate for appeal. At the moment there is at least a twelve week delay on the application being looked at, and then we’d be waiting a further  significant amount of time for  the decision.

After discussing this for weeks, we have come to the conclusion that we should get some quotes in for the lime to see what we’re looking at. Yes, it will be a shame. But the main thing is that it will still protect the building, take care of the damp issues and therefore be a huge improvement to the cement render which is currently on the property. No it’s not what we wanted personally, but we believe that if we’re going to get things moving before 2016 this is now the best and only option for the cottage… If we can move our budget around to accommodate the change.

Windows are also a condition on the approved plans. Our architect will need to provide separate drawings showing sections, mouldings and the style. We are still hoping to change the windows so they all match and are the same style. Therefore because of all of this, I’ve been trying to become a little more enthusiastic about lime rendered cottages…

Here are a few images we’re using for inspiration.

windows and lintels render render and windows image image

I’d really like to be able to keep our lintels exposed as some of the cottages have done. The decision will again come down to planning, but as we are going through the trouble of replacing them all with reclaimed oak, I think it would be a nice way of keeping some character within the property.

We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, so for now we’ll wait and see if the price is right. If not, we may have to re think all of this once again!

So that’s where we are at the moment.

Fingers crossed!


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