We’ve been pondering what type of floor should be in our cottage for almost as long as we’ve been here. We’ve considered the lot, and so very nearly decided on various different types of flooring. As with most of our renovations, we aim to be as sympathetic and true to the age of the cottage as we can on our limited resources and knowledge. We’re not interested in quick fixes, or modern interiors. Instead we like traditional and honest. Our cottage would most likely have been farm or estate workers cottage, so it wouldn’t have been filled with lavish things. So what did we decide?
Well, after we decided the most likely flooring originally would have been earth or straw, which I wasn’t too keen on – it wouldn’t be very practical today, and think how muddy it would get in winter! We decided to go for something that would last and be fitting for a house of this age. Although slate was quite high on the list, I was concerned it would make the already dark cottage even darker on dull days, so we needed something a little lighter and maybe a bit tougher than slate.
After much deliberation and Internet perusing, we settled on limestone. I appreciate its not at all traditional and would certainly never have been here originally, but it’s almost as good, we think. We opted for a pattern layout to maximise the rough and ready look of the tiles, and we asked the builder to space them as far apart as he could. I’ve noticed in older houses, the spacing is much bigger than in modern houses and it seems to enhance the rustic feel of the tiles.
Of course our little home isn’t big enough for builders and us when the downstairs is having new floor fitted, and we’d no way of knowing what was underneath the existing tiles until work had started, and therefore no real idea of how long it would take. So we had to pack our bags and move into the newly acquired caravan for a week, once we’d levelled the caravan! It’s almost impossible to find a level bit of land here!
The weekend before the builders came was spent packing and moving furniture upstairs, into the summerhouse, the garage, the shed. Basically, anywhere dry! There was so much stuff, we both decided we need a jolly good sort out and it was about time we embraced our minimalist side!
The builders were amazing. The old floor was up in no time, and to our delight (and theirs!) a relatively solid and sound base was found underneath. We could see a damp proof membrane had been laid beneath the sound base, which was great news. Levelling compound was laid and we hoped and prayed it would dry, which it did surprisingly quickly. Then the fun started.
It would appear it’s quite difficult laying giant limestone tiles in a pattern. They are heavy, and working out which tile should go where is no easy task! But a sterling job was done and boy are we pleased. It took them just one week. Suddenly, the cottage has been transformed. We had no idea it would look so good.
It’s always a leap of faith when you decided on something like this because you never know what it’ll look like until it’s done. I’d spent the previous week whittling about how awful it was going to look and how we’d made such a big mistake, but I needn’t have worried.
It’s beginning to feel like home.