Our Cottage Renovation

Luckily my husband and I were both singing off the same hymn sheet when we were looking for our home, we both wanted a project, preferably a cottage and in the country.  When we stumbled across this little gem on Property News we couldn’t believe our luck (a lot of people thought we were crazy but all we could see was POTENTIAL)

Picture courtesy of Property News

The location was ideal (we are about 3 miles away from our family homes and Tara is a few fields away!) We booked a viewing straight away and were sold by its charm shining through the overgrown garden full of briars and weeds.  Being first time buyers it was a steep learning curve on all the things required to buy a house and this one was not straight forward due to a number of issues including the septic tank & consent to discharge (basically the purchase requires a whole different blogpost!)…I still believe to this day that we wouldn’t be the proud owners without the help of Roger Cunningham at One Stop Mortgage Shop in Lisburn, he was so helpful and guided us on everything we needed to learn in order to buy our dream home (not sponsored in any way,  just good advice!)

When we finally got the keys we couldn’t believe it was ours, we were itching to get to work straight away and spent our evenings and weekends doing what we could.

Hubby couldn’t wait to take down the For Sale sign!

When we bought the property the site was so overgrown and neglected we couldn’t even walk down to the back fence so it was difficult to see the size of the garden, only when it was all cleared could we really see what we were working with.

The Before pic of the garden from the back door

The Before pic of the Driveway

Tara & I got stuck into the garden although the digger made short work of it a few days later! (Can you see tara in the top pic in the bush?!😂)

My little glimmers of potential shining through the chaos

The house was a classic labourers cottage and sold as a 3 bedroom..two of them were box rooms! We decided to knock down the interior walls of the box bedrooms/living room and create a bigger kitchen living area.  The original kitchen area would then be made into a bedroom.

We are so lucky to have had friends to help us through the project…Sophie helped us take down this internal wall 💪🏼

You can see here where the original walls were separating the two small bedrooms with the living room

The digger came in and made short work of what Tara & I were trying to achieve clearing the site

We couldn’t believe the size of the garden once it was cleared and the beautiful mature trees that came with it

Creating a driveway

Once everything was cleared back away from the house it felt like it could breath again (and hopefully dry out a bit!)

We blocked up the original back door as this room was going to change from the kitchen to a bedroom and we moved the back door to the open plan kitchen/living area…I got my stable door much to hubby’s dismay! 🤗


We then worked hard at getting the interior sorted, needless to say I was in my element picking out a kitchen, shower room, tiles etc.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is now located where the two box bedrooms were originally.  We went to Brookvale Kitchens, they helped us design the layout and I was able to choose our cabinet style, colour & worktop.

We got our kitchen floor tiles from McCalls. Seeing the space plastered and floor down made such a difference

The kitchen from Brookvale was designed around this Rangemaster which I got off Gumtree…it was a bargain and included the hood, I couldn’t believe my luck when I spied it! It had hardly been used!

Originally I wanted an island in the kitchen but there just wasn’t the room, our small kitchen table works well in this space and doubles up as an island as well as somewhere to eat!

Bathroom (Shower room)

Before:….need I say more?? 🙈

Needless to say the bathroom was completely stripped.  Even though I love my baths we decided to put in a large shower instead, I wasn’t willing to compromise with a small bath (that’s all we would be able to fit in this room) so I went all out with our shower design.

I got the pebble shower floor idea from Pinterest and I’m delighted with how it turned out…even if our tiler hated me for it 🙈😂

I love the antique brass taps & shower


The before 😷

The much improved after

We stripped out the built in wardrobes, yes we now lack storage but the room is tiny and there simply wasn’t the room for a double bed and those wardrobes.  This room, like the rest of the house got replastered, new flooring, new skirting, architrave and new internal doors.

I’ve tried to add design elements where I can that don’t take up too much space

Zac’s Room

The before

Originally Zac’s room was the kitchen, we relocated the kitchen to be open planned with the living area, making this room another bedroom. There is a lovely high ceiling in this room which makes it feel bigger than it actually is.

The Living Room

The fireplace before

The living room before

Work in progress!

The fireplace after…we had planned to put a wood burner in here but the house is actually very cosy without one and thankfully we held off as this would have needed moved in the new extension plans


Clearing the site to sew a new lawn

Seeing the full area made such a difference and the beautiful mature trees really stood out

Painting the exterior transformed our wee cottage, I had planned to paint the front door the same colour as the back door, but this is all changing in the new plans so there is no point now

I love our stable door 💕

I’m a sucker for a good sunset…some of the beauties captured from our back door 😍

The Future Plan

We recently received planning permission for the next phase of our dream home, I will share the plans and our extension story in future blogposts.  I’ve loved documenting the progress to date and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved in two years with our little country cottage.

Kerry x



  1. Laura-Ann
    September 3, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Loved reading this Kerry !! Can’t wait to see what you do next! It’s beautiful xx

    • sistersandsons1
      September 3, 2017 / 8:25 pm

      Aww thank you Laura-Ann! I’m so excited for the next phase, will be good to have a bit more space! xx

  2. Cáoimhe
    September 3, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    The transformation is amazing and it just shows what can be done to an already existing building! Ideal county home ❤️

  3. Sarah
    September 24, 2017 / 9:22 am

    Looks wonderful Kerry! We are also hoping to develop and extend an old property, so it is nice to see it can be done! X

    • sistersandsons1
      October 9, 2017 / 7:52 am

      Hopefully it all goes to plan! It’s exciting and Nerve wrecking at the same time isn’t it! 🙈 xx

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