Jacqui and Andy Butterfield sensitively restored their Grade II listed cottage, then added a few more rather unexpected touches
Getting the balance right when renovating a period home can be tricky. So it’s lucky this listed period semi, which dates back to the 16th century, was bought by Jacqui and Andy Butterfield, who were passionate about preserving its unique character.
“It’s thought to be the oldest house in the area,” says Jacqui, “but there are no accurate records showing when it was built. All we know is that it was once owned by the Lord of the Manor and was extended in Victorian times.”
The couple were living in a small terraced cottage nearby when they first viewed this Grade II listed, oak-framed property. Needing more space, they were looking for a larger house with development potential. “It met all our criteria and had period features in every room, including back-to-back inglenook fireplaces, oak beams and original floors,” says Jacqui. “However, the house needed a complete overhaul, which meant obtaining listed building consent.” Undeterred, Jacqui and Andy went ahead and bought the cottage, but delayed moving in until they got the green light for the work they wanted to do. “We lived in rented accommodation for the first six months while the building work was being carried out,” explains Jacqui. “Every room had to be gutted because the joists were rotten – all the air bricks were blocked, which made the house very damp. We even excavated some mud from under the sitting room floorboards to improve ventilation.”
Other, more general work included rewiring and replumbing, replacing the boiler and upgrading the central heating. All the floorboards were sanded and resealed, and crumbling windows replaced with like-for-like designs to meet the rigorous listed-building approval.
“You have to put in a bit more effort when remodelling a listed period house,” says Jacqui. “One thing you need is a really good carpenter because none of the walls or floors are usually straight, so everything has to be made bespoke. Eddie, our carpenter, was brilliant and made internal doors, replacement floorboards, window seats and shelving for us.”
The couple also opened up the inglenook fireplace in the sitting room and installed a wood-burning stove. “We’d always wanted one and it makes the house cosy in cold weather,” says Jacqui.
When the building work was finished it was time for the fun part – decorating! “My style is very clean-looking but I’m not a fan of neutral, pared-back schemes,” explains Jacqui. “I like a bit of colour. Cream and magnolia are far too safe for me.” Farrow & Ball heritage paints teamed with tactile Designers Guild fabrics complement the period property perfectly. Quirky touches, such as a grandfather clock wall sticker in the sitting room, large cowhide rug in the dining area and bright pink wallpaper in the garden room add an element of surprise. “I’m inspired by luxurious yet comfortable boutique hotels,” says Jackie. “I also admire interior designers, such as Abigail Ahern, who create characterful rooms with a darker feel, which like to think I’ve achieved here.”
• This feature originally appeared in 25 Beautiful Homes. Photography by Colin Poole