Guernsey is a picturesque island rich in history, and is home to many historic buildings dating back hundreds of years. Many of the houses on the island are made from stone, some of which have stood the test of time and are still in use today. One such property is 'The Elms', a cottage that consisted of two separate dwellings. One half had fallen into a state of disrepair, while the second half was still inhabited. It was likely the stone cottage was originally one building, and was estimated to date back to the 15th century. Local architects CCD were commissioned to bring the cottage back to life, remodelling the cottage to become a single home once again. With a design that is modern yet sensitive to its past, the result is one that is a true testament to all involved in the sensitive revival of a near 600 year old home.
As beautiful and charming as it is today, a lot of work has gone into restoring the cottage into what we see here. Given its heritage, restoring a cottage of this period requires careful planning and sensitive execution. Starting with stabilising the structure, then removing overgrowth from this half of the cottage in ruins, the now exposed walls were capped with lime mortar to prevent further water damage. On the inhabited side to the right, the existing render was repointed and a new roof of natural slate was laid.
The half in ruins was to serve as an already built extension to the inhabited house, which was to be responsive to the need of the occupants whilst still honouring the look and feel of the existing structure. Here, this was to house an additional large living room, and a bedroom with adjacent ensuite.
New complementary doors and window frames modernise the cottage without drawing too much attention, as does the new clay pantile roof which we can see in detail here. Whilst the home looks as it would have centuries ago, it has been extensively modernised to prevent further damage from the elements.
Internally, the repointed walls look as charming as the day they were built. The existing fireplace was also reconstructed, and the interior side of the new roof has been painted a contrasting white to distinguish the old from the new, whilst still feeling totally complementary. Furniture with classic charm balances the stone walls and timber beams, as does the new lightly finished floorboards. The overall neutral colour scheme lets us know we are in a building of charm and history, opting to leave out any offensive pops of bold colour.
The sheer height of the new ceilings are a design point in themselves, as we are offered a view of the entire half of the home that was once not much more than a few abandoned walls of overgrown stone.
We particularly love the new staircase, built in the same finish as the timber floorboards and beams, adding texture to the stone wall it hugs.
Curious to see another historic cottage restored to its' former glory? Then we recommend taking a look at this stone cottage in Scotland completely modernised.