Surely it’s no surprise to hear that for the Easter holidays we put ourselves to good use and cracked open the toolkit and lifted the lids on a few paint pots whilst down at Leat House, in Cornwall. Work has been in full swing down at the house for the last two weeks with our joiner and decorator on site working on the wood windows and doors and painting the gutters, downpipes, soffits and masonry work.
When we bought the house 13 months ago, we certainly didn’t envisage replacing or restoring the windows, doors and exterior paintwork so soon. However, during the year of owning it, we had noticed some of the windows and doors (in particular the sea facing ones) were not in a good way. The wood was damp, rotten and the panes of glass were neither watertight or airtight.
So we made the decision to replace the windows and doors that were beyond a state of repair and restore the ones that were salvageable. The balcony doors and frame in the master bedroom were replaced with double glazed french doors which provide us with a better view out to sea (the previous doors had multiple astragal bars which obstructed the view). The window panes in the bay of the living room were also replaced with double glazing and only 1 astragal bar was inserted. The window frame had to be restored rather than replaced as this is a structural unit, supporting the balcony above. Taking this out would have been really tricky! All sash windows along the front of the house have been restored but over time, we hope to replace these with double glazed units.
When it came to doing all the work, I was presented with the question; “what colour would you like the new windows and doors to be?”. I thought to myself, do we stick with the existing seaside colours of baby blue and cream which give this old cottage character and charm or, do we go for a completely different colour scheme that reflects our taste and our style? I went with the latter. We thought, if we don’t do it now, we may regret it and if we were completely honest with ourselves, the blue and cream (which was actually very yellow), just wasn’t us.
We decided on the colour Slaked Lime Dark (code 151) for the window exteriors and Loft White Eggshell (code 222) for the window interiors, both by Little Greene. We colour matched the gutters, downpipes and soffits and chose a complimentary colour for masonry work of Light Ash (code 17518) in Delux’s Weathershield Smooth Masonry Paint. I don’t believe they stock this colour anymore so we had to make the colour up (the one linked is for product reference, the colour is not the right one).
When we arrived down at the house 70% of the work had been done. Outstanding were the x2 porches, the front door, a second coat of the masonry work and the painting of the garage doors and gates. It was my job to tackle the garage doors and the gates! In the end, (after desperately trying to salvage the old one) I had to buy a new path gate, the existing one was just too rotten. I bought the Grange Timber Infill Gate from B&Q.
I used an electric sander on the old garage doors and gates which removed any loose paint and smoothed the surfaces. To fill cracks and rotten areas, I used the most amazing wood filler called Big Boy Body Filler, as recommended by our joiner. I then applied Zinsser an oil-based wood primer which we colour matched to the top coat of Slaked Lime Dark. It was such a great idea to match the colour of the primer with the top coat as it significantly reduced the time spent on painting over it perfectly. Finally, I painted the doors and gates with the Slaked Lime Dark.
With a paintbrush in hand, there was no stopping me… I ended up ‘upcycling’ the terracotta plant pots which were left to us from the previous owners. I cannot stand orange clay pots so these either had to go or dramatically change in appearance! To save us from buying new pots I decided to prime them with the same oil-based primer and apply the Slaked lime Dark (also oil based).
By changing the colour of the windows it has made the house look completely different, the colours now work effortlessly with the Cornish stone and it gives the property a real sense of sophistication. To complement this new exterior, I purchased two large round zinc planters (dolly style tubs) and two small rectangular zinc window planters both from The Farthing. They work so well with the slate house sign and gate sign, both purchased on eBay.
I planted faux trees in the round planters and real lavender in the window planters. All planters were lined with plastic sheeting which I purchased from the local garden centre. I used 3 metres in total. (Lining them prevents the bottoms of the planters from corroding). The faux trees were placed inside the planters, on top of an upside down terracotta pot (yes, I managed to get rid of 2 of them!) and we filled the planters with topsoil and covered with Cornish Silver stones to prevent the soil from splashing up on the walls of the house when it rains.
Overall I am really happy with the look, it feels like the place is starting to become our own and reflect our home style. I’ve popped a few before images below for you to take a look at the transformation.
Amongst working on all the exterior jobs, I also made a few interior improvements. I came across a fantastic homewares shop just outside Wadebridge called Jo & Co Home. I pretty much wanted everything in the store! It is a home and lifestyle store selling furniture, home accessories, gifts and clothing. I absolutely fell in love with one of their sofa’s which was on display; the Amelie Chesterfield Sofa, it is just the style I am after for the middle lounge in the house. I didn’t purchase it there and then but I have added it to my wishlist for when we come to decorate and refurbish the room! I did, however, leave the store with a few goodies, which were some soft furnishing for our front living room. Pictures to follow below…
Here are my new additions to the living room…
In all, it was a very productive week (exhausting, but productive!). A huge thank you goes out to my parents and brother for coming down to lend a hand for a few days. They helped us so much, from planting to painting, babysitting to DIY’ing! It really was a team effort.
We still have a lot to do down at the house, with intentions of putting in a new central heating system, x2 new bathrooms, redecorating throughout and installing a new kitchen. But all in good time…!
Thanks for reading and I hope you like the transformation?!