Taking a building that has lain derelict or neglected for decades, perhaps centuries, and breathing new life into old stone and brick can be a hugely rewarding experience. At first, there is the realisation and then conviction that the potential is there and then slowly ideas begin to crystallize and in the mind’s eye new spaces begin to appear, new possibilities present themselves and one dares to believe.

The floor is the original herringbone brick

The floor is the original herringbone brick

The spectacular space that was once the hay loft boasts superb 230-year-old timbers, every inch now sandblasted and lovingly waxed by hand to a honeyed glow. The only part of the building the couple were unable to save were the floorboards that have now been replaced with irregular-sized painted boards

The spectacular space that was once the hay loft boasts superb 230-year-old timbers, every inch now sandblasted and lovingly waxed by hand to a honeyed glow. The only part of the building the couple were unable to save were the floorboards that have now been replaced with irregular-sized painted boards

The couple have divided the upstairs space with a spacious kitchen at one end and, at the other, a relax-and-chill area with deep leather sofas from the Sofa Workshop and Trading Boundaries in Fletching

The couple have divided the upstairs space with a spacious kitchen at one end and, at the other, a relax-and-chill area with deep leather sofas from the Sofa Workshop and Trading Boundaries in Fletching

Adrian undertook the mammoth task of installing the glasswork himself, enlisting the help of a spider crane into the courtyard. “It was pretty nerve-wracking but it worked,” he says

Adrian undertook the mammoth task of installing the glasswork himself, enlisting the help of a spider crane into the courtyard. “It was pretty nerve-wracking but it worked,” he says

The original shed has been converted into a cosy white-on-white guest bedroom with a brass and iron bedstead

The original shed has been converted into a cosy white-on-white guest bedroom with a brass and iron bedstead

Up the stairs, off a little white galleried landing, is a wonderful en suite bathroom with roll-top bath

Up the stairs, off a little white galleried landing, is a wonderful en suite bathroom with roll-top bath

Outside the cottage’s back door there is a small glass hall looking out over the courtyard

Outside the cottage’s back door there is a small glass hall looking out over the courtyard

In the middle of the flagstone floor is an unexpected fleur-de- lis ceramic tile, pictured here next to Blackberry the Labrador, which Adrian found discarded down a drain during the building work

In the middle of the flagstone floor is an unexpected fleur-de-lis ceramic tile, pictured here next to Blackberry the Labrador, which Adrian found discarded down a drain during the building work

The cottage kitchen is tailor-made Shaker with black granite surfaces that complement the slate kitchen table that was once a potting table from a greenhouse in Brighton. The cooker is a serious Mercury range, a testament to Adrian’s skills as a chef

The cottage kitchen is tailor-made Shaker with black granite surfaces that complement the slate kitchen table that was once a potting table from a greenhouse in Brighton. The cooker is a serious Mercury range, a testament to Adrian’s skills as a chef

One enters the original cottage into a hallway which might have been one of the original reception rooms

One enters the original cottage into a hallway which might have been one of the original reception rooms

The master bedroom en suite. On a cupboard door hang examples of the clothing offered by Hall & Co in Otford

The master bedroom en suite. On a cupboard door hang examples of the clothing offered by Hall & Co in Otford

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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