George Clarke helps transform ‘tired’ 300-year-old country cottage into ‘beautiful space’

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Architect George Clarke helped more people transform their period properties this week so they were more suitable for 21st-century living. This week, George helped out Ben and Rosie and their rescue dog Digby, transform the downstairs of their confused country cottage. The couple bought the cottage in Great Comberton, Worcestershire, for £450,000 and moved in just seven days before.

The couple decided to make the move after they realised their one-bed flat in Battersea, London wasn’t big enough for the two of them working from home and Digby the dog.

For chartered surveyor Ben, it was a return to the county he grew up in.

The 300-year-old property hadn’t been updated in four decades and included a 1960s kitchen and original timber frames dating back to the 1600s.

The property was extended up and out with a brick-built extension at the end of the 20th century.

This part of the house had a large, double-aspect room while the original part of the cottage comprised of a much smaller reception room, entrance hallway and a small kitchen.

George said: “While these homes have period charm by the bucket load, they aren’t blessed with spacious rooms or tonnes of natural light.

“And, if they’re listed, getting planning can be an uphill struggle.”

The architect said the original living space looked “tired” and he was unsure about the pale green walls which Rosie described as “mint chocolate chip”.

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“If all this was stripped back, it would look fantastic,” said George.

Even the 1980s extension had beams in the ceiling, making the room dark and gloomy.

To the side of the large extension were three large timbers from the original building structure.

George said jokingly: “That’s definitely something!”

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However, he said he thought the room had “loads of potential”.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms and two ensuite bathrooms.

Rosie and Ben decided to prioritise the ground floor and renovate the second floor at a later date.

The whole cottage needed re-wiring, re-plumbing and a new heating system – all on a budget of just £40,000.

Rather than keeping the cottage’s original layout in place, George, Rosie and Ben decided to switch it around to make the kitchen the “heart of the home”.

They moved the kitchen into the biggest space – the 1980s extension – and created a window seat in the large window.

The lounge was kept in the same position and the old kitchen became home office study space.

After the transformation was complete, George was shocked by the difference.

“I can’t believe I’m in the same house,” he said while viewing the study.

The couple managed to put two wood burners in after finding a chimney breast.

The timbers in the ceilings were originally black, however, the couple stripped them back to their original colour, painting the thinner ones white to make the room appear lighter.

George added: “Doing that just transforms the space.”

The sitting room was transformed from tired and dull to cosy and bright with a “minimal colour palette”.

The shaker-style kitchen is both minimal and traditional, creating the perfect middle ground in this 17th-century cottage.

“It’s a beautiful space,” George said.

George Clarke’s Old House, New Home is available to stream on All 4

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