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Before & After: Refurbished Stone Cottage

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
Heath Cottage Modern study/office by Brown + Brown Architects Modern
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Brown + Brown Architects took on a personal project when they decided it was time to update their own stone cottage near Aberdeen. The project involved rearranging the internal layout of the ground floor to allow for modern, open plan living. The goal was to create a light, bright space with one room seamlessly flowing into the next, as opposed to the disjointed and closed off rooms you can see in the 'before' images. 

A glazed intervention was introduced in the stone gable to maximise the amount of light entering the cottage. The interiors were given a contemporary update though the original features and classical charm of the property was carefully preserved. A woodburning stove is still a focal point in the updated living room but the traditional range cooker is actually a new addition to the refurbished kitchen. The office space has been transformed into a fresh, minimalist space conducive to concentration, separated from the rest of the house by a panel of birch faced plywood.

Let's take a closer look!

All photography by Nigel Rigden.


The traditional exterior is typical to this location near Aberdeen. The modifications and modern touches, such as the neatly painted door and patio area with wooden decking, are tasteful and subtle additions to the otherwise quaintly old fashioned façade.

You can tell from the care and attention paid to the exterior that the interior refurbishment will be of a high standard with great attention to detail.

Before: Kitchen

The kitchen was cluttered and chaotic. The only redeeming feature is the farmhouse style sink, which breaks up the warm tones in the rest of the room. The floor, cupboards and storage units all look the same as they are all a similar, if not the same, type of wood.

Though good quality wood, such as oak or fir, can look elegant and smart in the kitchen, this just looks a little overwhelming. There is no flow between the space as all of the fittings are lined up against one wall. Thankfully the renovation provided some dimension and created a more practical and aesthetically pleasing room.

After: Kitchen

Heath Cottage Kitchen / Dining Modern kitchen by Brown + Brown Architects Modern
Brown + Brown Architects

Heath Cottage Kitchen / Dining

Brown + Brown Architects

The kitchen now looks completely different with a new range cooker, white panelled walls and glossy light-reflecting floors.

The décor is clean and modern; a welcome change that opens up the space and creates a flow between the living areas. Hints of pale blue on the chairs and in the wall art soften the stark white palette.

Before: Dining room

The dining area is drab and in need of some creative flair to bring it to life. The blackboard is a quirky idea and a good way of keeping up with family plans but it could easily make the kitchen look even less tidy.

Why put yourself at a disadvantage? Clean and neutral décor is an easy way to ensure your dining room looks fresh and attractive.

After: Dining room

Heath Cottage Dining Area Modern dining room by Brown + Brown Architects Modern
Brown + Brown Architects

Heath Cottage Dining Area

Brown + Brown Architects

Here you can see how the new dining room is lighter and better connected to the kitchen than it was previously. 

A connecting theme and colour scheme presents itself throughout the living areas and now the interior layout makes much more sense. A perfect social and functional space, the dining area has changed beyond recognition. 

Before: Living room

Prior to the renovations the living room looked as dull and washed out as the kitchen and dining area. Desperately in need of a new coat of paint and a thorough reorganisation, the living room was crying out for some interesting focal features and a definitive style.

After: Living room

Heath Cottage Living Room Modern living room by Brown + Brown Architects Modern
Brown + Brown Architects

Heath Cottage Living Room

Brown + Brown Architects

The woodburner is now proudly on display, illuminated by the natural light pouring in through the double patio doors. With no features or decorations nearby to distract from the burner, it makes a stunning focal point.

The blue detailing that we've seen in the dining room can also be found here. The green rug and stormy blue sofas create a natural outdoors vibe which, along with the white panelled walls and monochrome floor and ceiling, have a hint of Scandinavian style.

After: Living room

Heath Cottage Living Room Modern living room by Brown + Brown Architects Modern
Brown + Brown Architects

Heath Cottage Living Room

Brown + Brown Architects

Now you can see the living room from another angle. The logs next to the woodburner are a mark of authenticity and another way of bringing the outside, indoors.

The radiator subtly blends in with the wall and the contemporary painting hanging directly overhead draws the eye away from it. All of the furniture is raised, which is a clever way of creating the impression of more space, particularly when the floor is white, as it reveals more of the surface area.

Before: Bathroom

The strange configuration of the previous bathroom meant that precious space was lost. The bathroom would clearly benefit from some more streamlined features and clever storage solutions to avoid an untidy impression. 

After: Bathroom

The skylight that has been inserted into the slanted roof provides another much needed source of natural light and the white walls instantly brighten up the room. The rearranging of the suite and levelling out of the walls means that the line of vision is now uninterrupted for a sleek look. 

Modern office space

The new office boasts the same white painted timber walls and floor as can be seen in the living areas. Bespoke integrated storage ensures an organised and professional image is maintained in this room and the neutral tones allow for a clear head, ready for a serious study session. 

If you enjoyed this renovation project, we bet you'll love: Before & After: The Gables, London.

What do you think of the transformation? Would you have done anything differently? We look forward to your comments!
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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